Last Updated: 12/19/2013*

The Arctic chill kisses the tip of his nose and reddens his cheeks. Snow drifts down from the sky, landing gently on his head. His flight crew checks everything twice as his team of co-pilots take their positions for this Christmas night. With one final hug from his wife, Santa is ready for flight.

Bellowing out his commands with a belly full of cheer –  “Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen...” – off go his reindeer into the night sky so dark and so clear. Guiding the sleigh as the runners take off is Santa’s navigation system: the famous Rudolph.

Much like Mr. Claus, aircraft pilots of all kinds have wanted a better understanding of what’s going on around them during flight. This Christmas, Raytheon air traffic management solutions are improving aviation around the globe, guiding relatives home and – who knows? – perhaps even helping to track Santa for the FAA’s Santa Claus website at http://www.faa.gov/santa/.

Raytheon’s AutoTrac III – despite its lack of reindeer powers – equips air traffic controllers with powerful new tools and even allows them to predict conflicts 99 minutes ahead of time using information transmitted by the aircraft themselves.

“They can actually see into the future and solve problems before they happen,” said Bob Meyer, Raytheon’s director of air traffic systems.

The system also helps boost the capacity of air routes, minimize travel delays and ensure safety.

Pretty magical.

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.

The company’s air traffic solutions control 60 percent of the world’s airspace, helping travelers get to their destinations this holiday season.
 

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