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Two Titans of Air Traffic, Dubai and Dallas, Get New Tech For Controlling Their Skies

They’re located across the world from each other. But Dubai and Dallas have one thing in common – a massive amount of air traffic.

Raytheon is the world’s leading provider of satellite-based augmentation technology. Programs include the U.S. Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), the Japanese Multi-Functional Transport Satellite System (MSAS) and the Indian GPS-Aided Geo-Augmented Navigation system (GAGAN). Taken together, the augmented satellite signals provide near global coverage.

These two air hubs have recently installed state-of-the-art air traffic management systems designed by Raytheon. And more destinations will soon be adding them.

The new systems – the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System in the United States and AutoTrac III for other markets – give controllers powerful new tools to boost the capacity of air routes, minimize travel delays and ensure safety.

AutoTrac III even allows controllers to predict conflicts 99 minutes into the future during the cruise phase of flight using information transmitted by the aircraft themselves.

"They can actually see into the future and solve problems before they happen," said Bob Meyer, director of air traffic systems.

Dallas-Fort Worth is the first of the United States' 11 high-volume terminal radar approach control facilities to install STARS. These approach facilities, known as TRACONs, guide planes as they move between high-altitude jet routes and the airspace around airports.

In Dubai, meanwhile, AutoTrac III is now in continuous operation. It helps guide planes moving in and out of Dubai International, Dubai World Central, Al Maktoum International, Sharjah International and Minhad Air Force Base, as well as air traffic control service to Ras Al Khaimah International.

The systems are fundamental to next-generation air traffic control, which will allow more direct routes across the globe and more fuel-efficent approaches to airports.

That makes air travel safer, quieter, more reliable and better for the environment, Meyer said.

"If we can actually get planes to not hold as long, or give them much more manageable and direct routings, they're going to burn less fuel and they're going to emit fewer emissions," Meyer said. "All that adds up to greener airspace."

STARS helps to ensure the safe separation and efficient management of aircraft around some of the largest airports in the United States. Image courtesy of the FAA.

Raytheon has a long history of air traffic management dating back to the magnetrons, or radio transmitters, that it produced for early radar systems during World War II.

Its systems manage 60 percent of the world's airspace, and the company is now the leading provider of systems designed to improve the accuracy of satellite-based navigation.

In July the company will mark the 10th year of its Wide Area Augmentation System, which allows safe landings in low visibility without the need for airports to install costly, radio-based guidance systems.

"Pilots are now enjoying all-weather access to thousands of airports," said Joseph Paone, director of Air Traffic Systems for Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems business.

Raytheon has incorporated the same technology into Japan's Multi-Functional Satellite Augmentation System on India's GPS-Aided Geo-Augmented Navigation system, or GAGAN. The GAGAN system is scheduled to go into operation later this year.

Last Updated: 10/30/2014

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