The Federal Aviation Administration and Raytheon have completed negotiations on a contract modification for the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) to deploy what is termed “Full Lateral Precision with Vertical Guidance (LPV) Performance.” This modification restructures existing contract scope and does not increase contract value. During the next four years, incremental improvements will be made to the fielded system to expand benefits to users across North America.
WAAS is a nationwide network of reference, master and uplink stations that augment the Global Positioning System satellite constellation to provide the improved accuracy, integrity and availability required for civil aviation and other safety-of-life applications. WAAS is the FAA’s next-generation satellite-based navigation system. It was commissioned by the FAA in July 2003 and has been in continuous operational use since that time.
LPV approach availability has exceeded 95 percent across more than 98 percent of the lower 48 states. WAAS conforms to the Satellite Based Augmentation System standards published by ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization), providing worldwide interoperability of satellite navigation systems. Under the contract modification, approach and landing guidance availability will increase to more than 99 percent across much of the North American continent, improving safety and efficiency for pilots.
“The contract modification marks another milestone in the continuing satellite navigation partnership between Raytheon and the FAA. We are pleased to have been part of the FAA’s success in achieving WAAS initial operational capability in 2003, and we look forward to continuing this relationship as WAAS evolves into a seamless, high availability, satellite-based navigation system throughout North America,” said Bob Eckel, vice president of Air Traffic Management Systems at Raytheon. Work began this summer with the installation of four WAAS Reference Stations (WRS) in Kotzebue, Bethel, Barrow and Fairbanks, Alaska. These four new stations join the three existing stations in the state at Cold Bay, Anchorage and Juno. Together, they will support LPV coverage over most of the state and become an integral part of the Capstone program, which is substantially improving safety in the aviation-dependant 49th state.
The full LPV performance contract modification will enhance the WAAS integrity algorithms for increased approach availability during weather disturbances as well as during normal conditions. This is of particular importance on the US west coast and during periods of increased solar flare activity. Full LPV performance will also increase the capacity, redundancy and security of the WAAS terrestrial communications backbone and add new Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites into the system, which are critical to providing reliable, redundant GEO coverage to all users throughout North America. The FAA and NavCanada recently announced a bilateral agreement to install four reference stations in Winnipeg, Goose Bay, Gander and Iqaluit. The four sites will increase and expand LPV availability throughout much of Canada and the northern United States. John Crichton, NavCanada’s president and CEO, sees this as a way to avoid “the cost of developing duplicate systems,” and to limit the need to invest in more ground-based ILS approach facilities.
The FAA and the Mexican government are also planning to install five WRS in Mexico at Puerto Vallarta, La Paz, Mexico City, Meridia and Tapalucha. These sites will increase and expand LPV approach availability in Mexico and the American southwest in the same manner as the Canadian sites.