ITT Exelis Forms Leadership Team To Build FAA’s NextGen Communications System


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ITT Exelis Forms Leadership Team To Build FAA’s NextGen Communications System

By Eddy Metcalf

January 10, 2012 - ITT Exelis has announced its pursuit team for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Data Communications Integrated Services (DCIS) contract. DCIS is the second major step in building NextGen, the FAA’s comprehensive, long-term plan to modernize today’s radar-based air traffic control system with satellite-based surveillance and navigation and new ground technologies. It will allow planes to fly safer, more efficient routes and ease congestion in major metropolitan areas nationwide.  

In collaboration with Airbus, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways, CSC, Rockwell Collins, Raytheon, and several other major aerospace companies, ITT Exelis has assembled a unique industry partnership to support the FAA’s modernization of the nation’s air traffic control system. The ITT Exelis DCIS team will provide a low-risk system solution to enable efficient, real-time, digital communication of critical information among air traffic controllers and flight crews.  

“The ITT Exelis DCIS team will put airlines, manufacturers and systems developers in the same room with the FAA from day one through DCIS deployment,” said David Melcher, chief executive officer and president of ITT Exelis. “The outstanding pursuit team we have assembled has ensured all data communications system aspects – ground infrastructure, avionics, aircraft original equipment manufacturer (OEM) implications and airline priorities are fully considered in the system solution proposed by ITT Exelis,” Melcher added.  

DCIS will enable real-time communication among controllers and flight crews through modern digital data transmissions instead of outdated analog voice technology. Digitalization will allow controllers to transmit instructions to planes simultaneously rather than in succession, streamlining the flight process and creating shorter flight times. This greater capacity will improve the management and flow of aircraft and help reduce travel delays for passengers and airlines.  

Once fully implemented, the FAA’s NextGen program could provide the U.S. economy more than $29 billion a year in net benefits through fuel, carbon emission and delay savings. The most recent estimate predicts a 35 percent reduction in flight delays and savings of approximately 1.4 billion gallons of aviation fuel by 2018.  

ITT Exelis is already leading the first step in building NextGen for the FAA by installing and operating the ground infrastructure for Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technology, the backbone of NextGen. By 2013, ITT Exelis will have installed nearly 800 ADS-B stations nationwide. The company has met every performance milestone and kept the ADS-B project on schedule and within budget.


“We cannot have NextGen without DCIS. We hope to leverage our outstanding DCIS performance team to effectively partner with the FAA to demonstrate that equipping aircraft with data communications technology will unlock real economic growth and benefits across the aviation industry,” said John Kefaliotis, vice president of next generation air transportation systems for ITT Exelis.  

General Dynamics, Aerospace Engineering, Airtel ATN, Alvarez Group, AT&T, EMS Aviation, NAV CANADA, Northrop Grumman, NEXA Capital Partners, PwC, Selex Communications, Saab Sensis, Crown Consulting, HyperNet Solutions, Lexem Strategy, Tantus, and UPS round out the ITT Exelis DCIS team.  

ITT Exelis is a diversified, top-tier global aerospace, defense and information solutions company with strong positions in enduring and emerging global markets. ITT Exelis is a leader in networked communications, sensing and surveillance, electronic warfare, navigation, air traffic solutions and information systems with growing positions in cyber security, composite aerostructures, logistics and technical services. The company has a 50-year legacy of innovation and technology expertise, partnering with customers worldwide to deliver affordable, mission-critical products and services for managing global threats, conflicts and complexities. Headquartered in McLean, VA, the company employs about 21,000 people and generated 2010 revenue of $5.9 billion.

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