As announced in a recent press release, Raytheon will highlight its deployable air traffic management systems (ATM) and solutions at the Air Traffic Control Association (ATCA) Annual Conference and Exposition. Raytheon's systems are capable of being deployed anywhere in the world in support of civilian and military operations.
Raytheon's solution for the U.S. Air Force's Deployable Radar Approach Control (D-RAPCON) system consists of two major subsystems: radar and operations. The system is transportable aboard all types of military transport aircraft and contains all the communications equipment, environmental control units and power units to be fully operational and controlling air traffic in a matter of hours. Once fielded, the system can be set up in less than 24 hours. In contrast, it generally takes about three months to put up a fixed-based system.
D-RAPCON is composed of two subsystems - air surveillance radar and operations - and the requirement is for each to be separately deployable, if necessary. This means that if the radar at a site becomes inoperable but the control tower is fine, or vice versa, the required D-RAPCON subsystem could be deployed to fill the need.
The system, once fielded, will replace aging systems that have become harder and far costlier to maintain. In addition to solving those maintenance headaches, the new system will significantly improve radar accuracy and reliability. While the legacy systems rely on analog technology, D-RAPCON will process radar signals digitally. It will also operate in both military and civilian radar bands.
The system will provide sequencing, separation of aircraft, navigation assistance and airspace control services, all with the modern accuracy and other state-of-the-art features.
Raytheon's radar and operations subsystems are already part of the Department of Defense inventory and are in operation at fixed site locations throughout the world. As such, these systems have passed rigorous National Airspace System (NAS) testing and certifications, which will significantly lower both performance and schedule risk for the D-RAPCON program.
The U.S. military is currently using a system called ATNAVICS. D-RAPCON's radar will provide 60-mile lookout versus ATNAVICS' 30 miles and accommodate more operators.
The U.S. Air Force plans to buy 19 D-RAPCON systems, 10 of which will reside in the Air National Guard, seven at active-duty Air Force Space Command units, one for the service's air traffic control school and another for depot maintenance activities.
"This is a game changer when it comes to safe, modern, deployable air traffic control," said Mike Prout, vice president for Raytheon Network Centric Systems' Security and Transportation Systems. "With over 150 Raytheon ASR-11 digital airport surveillance radars and over 100 Standard Terminal Automation Replacement Systems (STARS) fielded, certified and in operation, we believe that this confirms that the Raytheon solution is the best choice for future U.S. Air Force deployable ATM"
- D-RAPCON (pdf)