E’AA’s Use and Management of Communications Resources I unitedstates General Accountdng Of’fke Was-n, D.C. !40648 Information Bhnagement and Technology Division B-237966 January 24,199O The Honorable Frank R. Lautenberg Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation and Related Agencies Committee on Appropriations United States Senate The Honorable William Lehman Chairman, Subcommittee on Transportation and Related Agencies Committee on Appropriations House of Representatives In responseto your request, we identified the Federal Aviation Adminis- tration’s (FM) data and voice communications resources.As agreed with your offices, our objectives were to (1) identify FAA's communications systems, including their functions and costs, and (2) identify the agency’sorganizations that managethe operation and acquisition of communications. A detailed explanation of our objectives, scope,and methodology is contained in appendix I. promote the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic. Agency communications, consisting of transmission systems and the equipment necessaryto connect information sendersand receivers, are numerous and diverse and must be carefully planned, procured, managed,and maintained. In addition to annually leasing over $200 million in commu- nications, FM estimates that from 1982 through the 19909,$2.7 billion will be neededto develop and purchase communications. With FAA'S move toward greater ownership of communications, it is critical that FAA carefully manageand control these resources. Although FAA established in 1987 an organization to centralize its man- agementof communications, this entity doesnot have control over many key communications functions. These functions, such as systems engi- neering, procurement and deployment of owned resources,and real-time operations and maintenance,1are the responsibility of several other agency components.Further, these other componentsexercisetheir Y lReal-timeoperationsand nuddmance includesrestoringservicein the event of outages,circuit and equipmentrepair, and performancemonitoring and reporting. Page1 GAO/MTECNS tXn~~~unicatlonalleaoureea - communications responsibilities without defined procedures for coordi- nating their activities with the central organization, Without greater consolidation of communications responsibilities or sufficient coordina- tion, significant equipment compatibility, system integration, and net- work monitoring and control problems can result. FAArecognizesthe adverse consequencesof these potential problems and therefore is considering improvements in how it managesits com- munications, as part of its development of a new strategic telecommuni- cations plan. Timely completion of this plan should assist FAAin effectively controlling these critical resources. Bbckground , systems,maintenance and operations support programs, and adminis- ,I trative systems. Communications servicesprovide data and voice com- I b munications among facilities and between facilities and aircraft in support of the busiest and most complex air traffic control system in the world, FAA’sNational Airspace System (NAS). FAAcommunications consist of transmission media and the equipment required to connect users. Transmission media include leasedpaths from common carriers or local telephone companies,FAA-ownedcabling at air- ports and facilities, and Ffi-owned microwave transmission systems. Equipment includes radio transmitters, receivers, antennae,modems, multiplexers,2 control equipment, telephones,data terminals, and switching systems3 Changing Environment In 1981, FAAchartered a comprehensiveNASPlan for modernizing and Ikads to Increased improving air traffic control and airway facilities services.FAAis cur- rently implementing this plan to improve safety, reliability, and effi- ewnership of ciency. These improvements are to be accomplishedusing extensive Communications automation and more communications than have been used in the past. Also in the early 198Os,FAApredicted future substantial increasesin commercial communications leasing rates. According to FAAofficials, leasecosts for communications were relatively stable prior to 1980. 2Multiplexersconsolir’atedata from multiple lower-speedcommunicationslines onto a single hii- speedcommunications line for moreeconomicaltransmission. 3A switching systc I~ receivesvoice and data signalsand routesthe signalsto the appropriate destinations. Page 2 GAO/EWl’EG@O4? Communications Reso- Communications serviceswere primarily leased from American Tele- phone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) and service problems could be identified and remedied primarily by that one vendor. However, with the AT&T divestiture and the deregulation of communications activities, the agency projected a dramatic increasein the cost to leasetransmis- sion lines. Further, with a greater number of communications vendors providing services,it was more difficult to identify responsibility for service failures. In responseto these changes,FAA decided to increase its ownership of communications resources.This increased ownership will require the agency to function much like a telephone company by owning, operat- ing, and managing systems supporting a variety of NAS voice and data communications services. / / NAS includes over 4400 facilities nationwide, all of which require some Cdmmunications form of communications capability. At these facilities a variety of func- Sekvicesand Projects tions are performed ranging from separating aircraft to aiding naviga- tion. To support these functions and its administrative activities, FAA has 63 communications services.Appendix II describeseach of these services.In fiscal year 1988, the agency spent over $218 million of its operations appropriation to leaseresourcesfor these services.FAA esti- mates that from 1982 through the 19909,$2.7 billion will be neededin Facilities and Equipment (F&E) and Research,Engineering, and Develop- ment @E&D) funds to develop and purchase communications.4 FAA categorizesair traffic control facilities by the functions they per- form and the defined boundaries of the airspace they are responsible for controlling. Each of these types of facilities-en route, terminal, and flight service station-requires a significant amount of communications support. En route facilities include air route traffic control centers, which control aircraft en route between airports in airspace generally above 10,000 feet that are not under the control of military or other facilities. These 4FM communicationsare funded under different appropriationscategories.Funding necssary to mode- and improve air traffic control and airway facilities is obtainedfrom the F&E appropria- tion, Ownedcommunication8projectsare included under this appropriation.Funding necessuy to Y provide for the daily operationsand maintenanceof air traffic systemsand administrative systemsis obtainedfrom the operationsappropriation.All leasedoxrummicationareeourceaare funded through the operation8appropriation. FM alsocondu& research,engineering,and developmentprogramsto apply new technologiesto meetair traffic control requirements.Theseprogramsare funded through the RJ%Dappropriation. Page a - centers provide separation service, traffic advisories, and weather infor- mation to pilots, Terminal facilities include airport traffic control towers that control aircraft in the airspace that immediately surrounds the air- ports and on the ground, and terminal radar approach control facilities that control the aircraft in the approach zonesof the airspace surround- ing airports. Flight service stations provide a range of servicessuch as flight plan filing, preflight and in-flight weather briefings, and assis- tance to pilots in distress. FAA has 42 communications servicesthat sup- port the en route, terminal, and flight service station facilities. In addition to the servicesdirectly supporting the abovethree types of facilities, FAA has the following communications services: Seveninterfacility communications servicessupport all of the communi- cations requirements between facilities, including manned facilities such as en route centers, and unmanned facilities such as radars and ground- to-air radio sites. Eleven communications servicesprovide mission-basedadministrative, maintenance, and operations support. Included are buildings, plants, laboratory facilities, all maintenance operations, flight inspections, and emergencyprograms. . Three communications servicesare for agency administrative needs. These servicesprovide connectionsbetween FAA headquarters, regional offices, and other federal organizations to conduct agency businesssuch as exchanging personnel and payroll information. Fj’AA-Owned While most of its communications resourcesare leased,FAA has begun Communications Will Be buying more communications. Currently, it has 20 F&E and REBIDfunded projects in varying stagesof development and implementation for com- JZxtensive munications networks, switching systems, equipment, and support ini- tiatives. These 20 projects are to replace and upgrade existing equipment, provide new and expanded capability, or provide for better management and support of communications resourcesand facilities. When completed, most of these will becomecomponentsof the commu- nications servicesdescribed above.Appendix III describeseach of these 20 communications projects. Page 4 GAO/IMTEGSO-8Communications Resources , , / c it.237966 FM’S communications functions are managedand directed by several different organizations. FAA established a centralized managementstruc- ture in 1987; however, other separate organizations are responsible for procurements and deployments, real-time operations and maintenance, and overall system engineering. FM has not defined how these separate organizations are to work with the centralized communications struc- ture, resulting in potential problems with equipment compatibility, effective system integration, and network monitoring and control, How- ever, FAA recognizesthat these potential problems could emerge,and is therefore studying ways to more effectively managecommunications. F Establishes In an effort to improve the agency’smanagementof communications, in Ce tralized Organization October 1987 FAA established a centralized communications management y organization in headquarters called the Telecommunications Manage- ment and Operations (TM&~)Division. Parallel organizations are to be in place in the regions by 1990. The TM&~Division was charged with responsibility for network planning and engineering, circuit engineering, network management,administration and budget of the leasedprogram, data basemanagement,configuration control, and regional coordination. Many Agency Components Although someactivities were consolidated with the establishment of Hatie Communications the TM&O Division, many communications responsibilities remain with several other organizational components.For example, a separate organ- Responsibilities ization has responsibility for the development, procurement, site prepar- ation, and deployment of most NAS capital investment acquisitions, including communications resources.However, communications projects requiring extensive research, engineering, and development are devel- oped, procured, and deployed by another FAA organization with respon- sibility for technically complex NAS Plan systems. In addition, while TM&~has responsibility for communications network planning and engi- neering, overall NAS systems engineering responsibility, which includes communications systems, is assignedto a separate organization. Fur- thermore, responsibilities for real-time communications operations and maintenance functions are handled by separate organizations. Although the m&o Division has responsibility for administering and budgeting leasedcommunications resources,the DefenseCommercial Y Communications Office doesthe actual procuring of the majority of leased resources.This relationship was established in the early 1960sto promote economy in acquiring leasedtransmission and equipment and Page Ii GAO- Communications Resources for coordination in meeting joint national security communications requirements. F Is Aware of Potential Although FAA defined TM&Qresponsibilities when this new division was P;”oblems established, it did not determine how other organizations with communi- cations responsibilities were to work with TM&~to ensure effective coor- dination. Without effective coordination between agency components, ; potential problems can result, such as: l Equipment leasedby the TM&~may not be compatible with owned equip- ment purchased by another entity. l Network engineering, which is the responsibility of the TM&O division, can overlap with systems engineering, which is the responsibility of another organization. Thus, systems integration difficulties can arise. For example, changesto communications networks such as expansions, consolidations, or the introduction of new technologies can have a sig- nificant impact on overall system design and system requirements specifications. l Communications networks may not be effectively managed,monitored, and controlled becausereal-time operations and maintenance functions are performed independent of network planning, engineering, configura- tion control, and data basemanagementfunctions. Agency officials recognizethese potential problems and are therefore currently considering ways to better managecommunications, as part of their development of an agency strategic telecommunications plan. Among the potential improvements being considered are (1) establishing one entity that would be responsible for satisfying all agency communi- cations requirements including systems engineering and real-time main- tenance functions, and (2) defining and strengthening the relationships between the TM&Odivision and the divisions responsible for systems engineering, communications projects, and maintenance.According to the TM&O division director, a draft strategic telecommunications plan is currently being reviewed by various agency organizations with expected final issuanceby May 1990. Timely completion of this plan should assist FAA in managing communications effectively. Y We obtained Department of Transportation and FAA officials’ views on this report and incorporated their comments as appropriate. As arranged with your office, we are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of Transportation, the FAA Administrator, and other interested Page6 GAO/IM!I’ECM Comunicatiom Resoorcea parties, and will make copies available to others upon request. This report was prepared under the direction of JayEtta Z. Hecker, Director, Resources,Community, and Economic Development Information Sys- tems, (202) 276-9676.Other major contributors are listed in appendix IV. Ralph V. Carlone Assistant Comptroller General Page 7 GAO- cOnununieatio~ l&aourcea ppendix II 11 $w &mu&ations En Route Communications 12 Terminal Communications 14 sic’ rvices Flight Service Station Communications 16 Communications Utilities 20 Other ServicesCommunications 21 Administrative Communications 24 Appendix III 26 FNA Communications En Route Communications Projects 27 Terminal Communications Projects 28 Projects Flight Service Station Communication Projects 29 Communications Utilities Projects 30 Other ServicesCommunications Project-National Radio 33 Communications System Miscellaneous Appendix IV 36 Major Contributors to This Report :Tables Table 11.1:FAA Communications ServiceCategories 12 Table 11.2:En Route Communications 12 Table 11.3:Terminal Communications 14 Table II.4 Flight ServiceStation Communications 17 Table 11.6:Communications Utilities 20 Table 11.6:Other ServicesCommunications 22 Table 11.7:Administrative Communications 24 Table 111.1:FAA Communications Projects 26 Y Page 8 GAO/IlWWMM Co~~~~u&atioxu Itemme Abbreviations AT&T American Telephone and Telegraph Company FAA Federal Aviation Administration F&E Facilities and Equipment GAO General Accounting Office IMTJX Information Managementand Technology Division NAS National Airspace System RIND Research,Engineering, and Development TM&O Telecommunications Managementand Operations Division Page9 GAO/IMTEGBO-B Communieatlona lbourcee Appendix I objectives, Scope,and Methodology At the request of the House and SenateAppropriations Committees, Subcommitteeson Transportation and Related Agencies,we identified the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) communications resources. Our objectives were to (1) identify communications systems and ascer- tain their functions and costs, and (2) identify the agency’sorganiza- tions that managethe operation and acquisition of communications resources. To accomplish these objectives, we gathered descriptive information on FAA communications services,supporting resources,and associated costs;FAA'S communications managementand acquisition processes;and planned communications projects. We examined key communications documents such as current and future telecommunications plans, the National Airspace System (NAB) Plan, budget submissions,contractor reports, and telecommunications managementand operations studies. We met with FAA headquarters and regional officials responsible for communications requirements formulation, budgeting, acquisition, man- agement,and operations to discusstheir efforts in these areas. We also discussedcommunications planning efforts with Martin Marietta, the contractor responsible for NAS systems engineering and integration. Our work was performed from November 1988 to December1989 at FM headquarters, Martin Marietta, and MS1Services,Inc., in Washington, DC.; and at FAA's Eastern Regional Office, in New York, New York. We obtained Department of Transportation and FAA officials’ views on this report and have incorporated their commentswhere appropriate. We conducted our review in accordancewith generally acceptedgovern- ment auditing standards. Page10 *App&dix II F&/, CommunicationsServices , . The National Airspace System (NAS) includes approximately 4,430 major facilities nationwide, all of which require someform of communications capability. These facilities provide a variety of servicesthat allow FAA to provide for the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of civilian and mil- itary air traffic. FAA categorizesair traffic control facilities by the functions and services they perform and the defined boundaries of the airspace they are responsible for controlling. These categories-en route, terminal, and flight service station-each require a significant amount of communica- tions support. En route facilities consist of air route traffic control cen- ters, which generally control aircraft en route between airports not under the control of the military or other facilities. These centers pro- \ vide separation service, traffic advisories, and weather information to pilots en route between airports. Terminal facilities consist of air traffic control towers, which control aircraft in the airspace that immediately surrounds airports and aircraft on the ground, and Terminal Radar Approach Control facilities, which control the aircraft in the approach zonesof the airspace surrounding airports. Flight service stations pro- vide several servicessuch as flight plan filing, preflight and inflight weather briefings, and assistanceto pilots in distress. FAA also maintains radar installations, remote radio sites, and navigational aid locations, In addition to the communications supporting these air traffic control functions, FAA has communications, known as communications utilities, which allow facilities to exchangeinformation with each other. FAA also has communications that support the NA$ and agency administrative operations that are categorized as other servicescommunications and administrative communications, respectively. FAA communications consist of both leased and owned transmission media and equipment. The bulk of these resourcesare leased,and incurred costs of over $200 million in fiscal year 1988. Table II. 1 lists each service category, the number of servicesin each, and their fiscal year 1988 leasecosts funded through the operations appropriation. Page 11 GAO/llUTESBO-SCommunkatiom Reeourcea 11.1:FAA Communketlons SewIce orier Fiscal Year 1988 ServiceCategory “~~~;:~ Lease Costs En Route Communications 12 $74683,382 / Terminal Communications 12 21,654,543 / : Flight Service Station Communications Utilities Communications 18 7 64,895,651 11,969,253 Other Services Communications 11 19,178,171 Administrative Communications 3 26,385,510 Total 63 $218,766,510 assisting in air traffic control of en route aircraft between airports that Cjommunications are not under the control of military or terminal facilities. Examples of this type of communications are air-to-ground radio systems used for I communication between air traffic controllers and pilots, and radar and beaconsystems used to identify aircraft. Table II.2 lists the 12 en route serviceswith their fiscal year 1988 leasecosts.A brief description of each en route communications service follows. lqble II. 2: En Routs CommuniccuHons Fiscal Year IQ88 Service Leabe Costs En Route Equipment Systems $21,632,763 En Route Communications 18,006,048 Service F Interphone: Center to Center and Center to Non-Center (two services) 15,980,879 Aeronautical Radio, Inc. 9,058,OOO En Route Navigational Aids 6,032,459 En Route Radar Digitized Data 1,458,450 Central Flow Control Service 1,187,118 Interfacility Data Service 963,998 En Route Beacon Digitized Data 233,703 En Route Broadband Radar and En Route Broadband Secondary Radar Beacon (two services) 129,964 Total $74,683,382 En Route Equipment These systems allow en route controllers accessto voice communications Systems ’ within air route traffic control centers and outside to towers, flight ser- vice stations, central flow control, and military locations. These systems consist of switches and associatedequipment. Page 12 Ed Route Communications This service provides voice communications between air traffic control- lers and en route aircraft. It consists of leasedcircuits and associated equipment, transmitters, receivers, and switches. Interphone: The Service F Interphone is a comprehensive,nationwide voice system Center and that interconnects FAA facilities, military air traffic control, the National Weather Service, the Coast Guard, and somenongovernment aviation Non-Center facilities. The interphone service is used for transferring flight informa- tion between controllers and facilities, coordinating flight plan and flight movement, and managing traffic flows in high density areas. The center-to-center component consists of voice circuits and associated equipment connecting air route traffic control centers. The center to non-center component consistsof voice circuits and associatedequip- ment connecting an air route traffic control center and other FAA facili- ties such as a tower. Aeronautical Radio, Inc. This is a commercial communications corporation that designs,con- structs, operates, leases,and engagesin radio activities serving the avia- tion community. For example, it provides direct pilot and controller contact with civil and military aircraft flying in oceanic airspace over high-frequency radio. En Route Navigational This service provides guidance and/or position data to in-flight aircraft dids operating between terminals, It consists of leased circuits and associated equipment that allow navigational signals to be transmitted to aircraft. l$n Route Radar Digitized This service provides controllers with radar data on the position of en Data route aircraft operating between terminals. It consists of narrowband radar circuits, modems,and associatedequipment. Central Flow Control This service is a voice and data flow control system used to monitor the Service overall demand on the air traffic system. It consistsof leased circuits, switches, modems, and associatedequipment. 0 Interfacility Data Service This service is used to exchangedata between air route traffic control centers and interfacility data system sites, towers, and other air route Page 18 GAO/IMTECftO-ScOmmunicationsReeource~ traffic control centers. It consistsof computer circuits, modems,and associatedequipment. En Route Beacon Digitized A variety of leasedradar circuits and associatedequipment comprise Daa this service, which is used to obtain aircraft information, such as air- I craft identification and altitude. The first service provides controllers with a video map radar display, ar and En Route and the secondprovides a graphic display of beaconradar information through circuits and associatedequipment. Together, these two services also serve as a back-up for the processingof digitized data for com- puters in air route traffic control centers. Terminal voice and data communications assist in providing air traffic Tkminal control and navigational aid services for arriving and departing aircraft. &nmunications Communications are used to separate aircraft, sequenceaircraft into traffic patterns, and provide clearance and weather information to pilots in terminal airspace and on the ground. Examples of leasedequip- ment include radio equipment for communications to aircraft; inter- phone communications to other facilities; and a variety of equipment for observing, detecting, receiving, and displaying weather information. Table II.3 lists the 12 terminal serviceswith their fiscal year 1988 lease costs.A brief description of each of the terminal communications ser- vices follows. Table 11.9:Tetmlnal Communlcationr Fiscal Year 1988 SOWICO Lease Costa Terminal Equipment Systems $12,935,690 Service F Interphone: Non-Center to Non-Center 3,626,426 Terminal Communications 2,774,949 Terminal Navigational Aids 1,013,868 Flight Data Entry and Printout Service and Flight Data Service 911,771 Terminal Radar Service, Terminal Automated Radar Service, and Terminal Secondary Radar Service (three services) 220,294 Visual Naviaational Aids Ye 96.565 Remote Tower Alphanumerics Display and Remote Tower Radar * Display (two services) 56,031 Automatic Terminal Information Service 18,949 Total $21,654,543 Page 14 GAO/lMTJ3G9O4 Communications Resourcea .I r Tepnal Equipment These systems allow controllers to select various communications paths Systems and to direct communications to desired locations, such as other control- lers within a facility, controllers at other facilities, aircraft, and other locations. The systems consist of switches and interphone key equipment. 6 T SekviceF Interphone: The Service F Interphone is a comprehensive,nationwide voice system Nbnair Route Traffic that connectsFAA facilities, military air traffic control, the National Weather Service, the Coast Guard, and somenongovernment aviation Control Center to Nonair facilities. This component connectsnonair route traffic control center Rdute Traffic Control facilities, such as towers and flight service stations, and is used to trans- C+nter fer flight information between controllers and facilities, coordinate / flight plan and flight movement information, and managetraffic flows II in high density areas. This component consists of voice circuits and I associatedequipment between two nonair route traffic control centers, Terminal Communications This service provides air-to-ground voice communications between ter- minal air traffic control facilities and pilots. It consists of circuits, radios, transmitters, receivers, and associatedequipment. Terminal Navigational This service provides for the monitoring and control of navigational aids Aids as well as voice modulation capabilities. It consists of terminal instru- ment landing systems and noninstrument landing systems, navigational aids circuits, and associatedequipment such as locators and markers. Flight Data Entry and This service enablesterminal facilities and air route traffic control cen- Frintout Service and Flight ters to exchangeand processflight data information. This service con- sists of data circuits, modems,and associatedequipment. Data Service Terminal Radar Service, These three servicesprovide different types of radar data that are dis- Terminal Automated played in terminal control or tower facilities. These services allow con-, trollers to follow an aircraft’s flight path, give traffic advisories, Radar Service, and maintain separation, and sequencelandings and take-offs. They consist Terminal Secondary Radar of primary radar, secondary radar, remote radar, and computer circuits. Service 0 Page 15 GAO/IMTHSBO-BCommunkationa Iteaource~ Navigational Aids This service controls systems by turning lighting off and on, setting the brightness, and monitoring outputs. It consistsof airport lighting cir- cuits and visual navigational aids such as approach lighting systems, runway lighting systems, airport lighting systems, runway identification lights, rotating beacons,and associatedequipment. Rebate Tower The remote tower alphanumerics display provides terminal control facil- Alphanumerics Display ities with alphanumeric aircraft radar data and processinginformation. The remote tower radar display provides remote air traffic control Remote Tower Radar tower facilities with primary radar and/or beaconaircraft data. Together, these servicesprovide control and advisory information, and consist of computer circuits, radar equipment, video display units, digi- tizers, modems,remote terminal radar circuits, radar equipment, and video display units. Abtomatic Terminal This service continuously broadcasts recorded information to pilots on In’formation Service items such as runways in use, weather conditions, visibility, wind veloc- ity, and aircraft altitude settings. Most high-activity terminal areas use this service to reduce radio frequency congestion.It consistsof record- ers, radios, transmitters, receivers, and navigational aids. Flight service station communications provide a wide range of advisory flight Service Station and support servicesfor aircraft operations. These servicesare used to C&nmunications transmit weather observations and airport advisories, assist pilots in distress, and advise customs and immigration officials of transborder flights. Table II.4 lists the 18 flight service station serviceswith their fiscal year 1988 leasecosts.A brief description of each service follows. Page ltl GAO/IMTECBO-tICommunicatioxw Resources IIA: RI ht &rvkeStatk+n mun katk ns Fiacal Year 1988 sewice Leaw Coat8 Service A Teletype: Domestic Weather Information $772,215 Service B Teletype: Aircraft Movement Information 639,158 Leased A-B Service 23907,188 Flight Service Station Equipment Systems 11,334,920 Pilot Briefing 9,970,878 Flinht Service Station to Aircraft Radio Voice Communications 6,177,793 Interim Voice Response System 4;073;000 En Route Flight Advisory Service 2905,377 Meteoroloaical Information 1a699.523 Remote Radar Weather Display System 1;678;006 Direction Finding 956,852 Flight Service Automated Data 671,831 Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network 448.532 Service 0 Teletype: International Meteorological Information 240,428 Automatic Weather Observation System 180,173 National Facsimile and Digital Facsimile Services (two services) 124,321 Service C Teletvpe: Domestic General Meteoroloaical Information 15,656 TOM $84,886.8Sl S&vice a Teletype: This service collects aeronautical and weather information from the Domestic Weather National Meteorological Center and distributes it to controllers. The ser- vice consists of circuits, teletype equipment, printers, and associated Information equipment. S&ice B Teletype: This service provides aircraft movement information to flight service Aircraft Movement stations and air traffic control centers and is used to transfer flight plans and flight plan amendments.It consistsof low to medium speed Information circuits, teletype equipment, and associatedequipment. Leased A-B Service This service provides the Service A Teletype and Service B Teletype ser- vices described above with higher speedlines. It consists of data circuits and associatedequipment, including teleprinters. Flight Service Station These systems perform routing, direction, and control functions for Equipment Systems incoming and outgoing telecommunications at flight service stations and consist of switches and inter-phonekey equipment. Page 17 , Ame* II FM Communieatlona Servlcee I Pi1 t Briefing This is a telephone service that provides pilots with a preflight briefing on weather conditions, airports, and navigational aids. It also allows pilots to file a flight plan. The service consists of private line voice cir- cuits, dial accesscircuits, and associatedequipment. ht Service Station to This service provides voice communications between flight service sta- tions and in-flight aircraft. It consists of radios, transmitters, receivers, circuits, and associatedequipment. Int/erim Voice Response This is an interim computer network that continuously receives and Sybtem stores aviation weather data, and upon request from any standard touchtone telephone, plays back recorded weather information. Ed Route Flight Advisory This service transmits pilot reports and en route real-time weather Sekvice information from flight service stations to in-flight aircraft at or above 6,000 feet. It consists of transmitters, receivers, antennae, and circuits. Meteorological Information This service provides certain weather-related information not provided by any other service to FAA facilities. The service consistsof data and dial-up circuits, electrowriters, and remote weather measuring equipment. Remote Radar Weather The system provides a graphic display of National Weather Service Display System radar information to flight service stations, air route traffic control cen- ters, and FAA headquarters. The service consistsof dial-up lines to National Weather Service radar, data circuits, radar display terminals, and associatedequipment. Direction Finding This service allows flight service stations to determine the direction of a lost or distressed aircraft. It consists of circuits, remoting equipment, antennae,transmitters, and receivers. Y Page 18 GAO/lMTESBO-S cOmmunlcations Reeom : *, 6,’ ,:: ,’ _’ ARpendLrII FM f2mmunkatlom Servker Flight Service Automated This service supplies weather and flight plan information to automated flight service stations and distributes it to selectedair route traffic con- Datp trol centers. The service consists of data circuits, modems,and associ- 1/ ated equipment. !I Aedonautical Fixed This network exchangesdata, such as flight plans, weather data, dis- Tel#communications tress messages,and someadministrative messages,with the interna- tional aviation community. The network consistsof circuits and Net/work associatedequipment. This service provides the capability to exchangemeteorological data between the United States and foreign nations, and is used by the National Weather Service, airlines, military, and air traffic control facili- ties. It consists of domestic and overseasfixed aeronautical teletype cir- cuits and associatedequipment. Automatic Weather This system gathers and analyzes meteorological data and makes it Oblervation System available to pilots via radio or telephone. The system consists of circuits, modems,weather sensors,and transmitters. Najtional Facsimile and The National Facsimile Service provided weather-related information Digital Facsimile Services from the National Weather Serviceto flight service stations and air route traffic control centers through analog facsimile equipment, print- ers, and receivers. The Digital Facsimile Service recently replaced this service and consists of digital facsimile equipment, printers, leasedsat- ellite antennae, and receivers. According to FAA, the digital system will increasethe speedof transmission and provide more graphics than were available on the analog service. Service C Teletype: This service carries specializedmeteorological information to the Dgmestic General National Weather Service,the military, airline forecast offices, and other special interests. It also carries all general public forecast products Meteorological Information for widespread distribution by the press, radio, and television. It con- sists of circuits and teletype equipment. Y Page 19 GAO/JMTEC9O-8 cOmmunicatiom Reeourcee I * lsppe- El FM Communicatlona Servicer - Communications utilities are those systems that either support multiple, mission-oriented servicesor comprise a network covering a wide geo- graphical area. Communications utilities include both leased and FAA- owned resourcesand provide transmission and switching servicesfor voice and/or data communications. Table II.6 lists the sevendata com- munications utilities with their fiscal year 1988 lease costs.A brief description of these communications services follows. la 11.5:Communhtlonr UtlllUes f Fiscal Year 1988 Servlce Lease Cost8 I, ,, Data Multiplexing Network $8,930,544 Automatic Voice Network 1,356,047 Automatic Digital Network 893,578 National Airspace Data Interchange Network IA 722,866 Radio Communications Link 40,001 1 National Airspace Data Interchange Network II 14,954 Television Microwave Link 11,265 Tote1 $11,969,253 Dbta Multiplexing This network connectsseveral types of FAA facilities and provides vari- Network ous data on traffic management,domestic weather, and maintenance. The network consolidatesdata, by using multiplexing equipment, from several sourcesand transmits it over a single line. Automatic Voice Network This is a Department of Defense,dedicated voice telephone system used by FAA to coordinate commercial, civil, and military aviation and air traffic control matters. FAA is required to provide circuits and associated equipment to establish connection with the network. Ahtomatic Digital Network This is a Department of Defensesecuredata communications system that allows FAA to exchangeclassified information with the Department of Defense,the Coast Guard, and various investigative, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies.FAA provides the circuits, switches, terminals, modems,and encryption devicesnecessaryto connect FM with the network. Page 20 GAO/IBlTEC9O-ScOmmunkationa Resources Nat onal Airspace Data This message-switched1data network provides switching for flight plan Int rchange Network Ia data among flight service stations, air route traffic control centers, mili- tary baseoperations, and international ports. The network, consisting of switches and circuits, provides switching for domestic weather informa- tion and aircraft movement information. i io Communications This service forms a national network between FAA facilities that pro- vides an analog microwave transmission medium for voice, data, and broadband radar data traffic. This network consistsof voice and data circuits and associatedequipment to provide the transmission for many current services,such as broadband radar data, and future services, such as the Integrated Communications Switching System, and the Data Multiplexing Network. National Airspace Data This is a packet switched2network that builds upon and expands the Intbrchange Network II National Airspace Data Interchange Network IA. The network provides switching for flight plan data among flight service stations, air route traffic control centers, and military baseoperations. It will also provide switching for domestic weather information and aircraft movement. The network consists of packet switch nodes and circuits. Television Microwave Link This service transmits radar display information from terminal facilities to satellite air traffic control towers. It consistsof circuits, microwave transmitters and receivers, dish antennae, camerasto create video dis- plays, and other equipment. Other Services Other services communications are those used to support mission-ori- ented services such as maintenance, monitoring systems, and training. Cbmmunications Table II.6 lists these 11 serviceswith their fiscal year 1988 leasecosts. A brief description of each of the servicesfollows. ‘Messageswitching is a techniqueusedto transmit data through a communicationsnetwork using a messagestore and forward system.Ratherthan using a dedicatedcommunicationspath, each messagecontainsa destinationaddressand is passedfrom sourceto destinationthrough intermediate nodes. At eachnodethe entire messageis received,storedbriefly, and then passedon to the next node. Y 2Packetswitching is a methodof transmitting messagesthrough a communicationsnetwork in which long messages are subdividedinto short groupsor packets The packetsare then transmitted from sourceto destinationthrough intermediatenodesasin messageswitching. Packetswitchii is usually moreefficient and rapid than messageswitching. Page 21 GAO/IlWTEC9O-8Comuntcatio~ lbwmrces Fiscal Year 1988 swv/C0 Loare Costs Administrative Voice $4,741,761 Service F Interphone: Miscellaneous 3.979.721 Administrative Equipment System 2,443,392 Staff Communications 1,597,345 Training 717,644 Remote Maintenance Monitoring System 662,693 Electronic Tandem Network 471,669 Emergency Voice Communication System 453,326 Administrative Data 56,697 National Radio Communications System 55,692 Miscellaneous 3996,231 Total 818.178.171 ddministrative Voice This service provides administrative voice communications within FAA facilities. It consistsof circuits, telephones,private branch exchanges, and answering machines. Service F Interphone: Unlike the Service F Interphone componentspreviously described, this Miscellaneous component consistsof overseasand miscellaneouscircuits and is used for interphone circuits that are not readily identified as the center-to- center, center-to-non-center,or non-center-to-non-centerservices described in previous categories. Administrative Equipment This system provides switching and call handling capability for adminis- System trative communications at major air traffic control facilities. The system consists of a variety of switching equipment. Staff Communications This service is used by FAA personnel for normal day-to-day command and control operations as well as in casesof national emergency,disas- ters, aircraft accidents, and other distress situations. The Emergency Voice Communication System and Electronic Tandem Network discussed below are used as the transmission for this service. Y Training This service consists of information associatedwith the training of FAA personnel, and includes specialized equipment for controller training. Page 22 GAO/IMTEGBO-ScOmmunicationa Resource@ The service consists of circuits, training equipment modems,multiplex- ing equipment, and associatedequipment at major air traffic control facilities. i ote Maintenance This system provides centralized work stations with automated access toring System to select FAA facilities. Equipment performance can be remotely moni- /I tored, controlled, and certified. / 1 Elebtronic Tandem This service is a securenetwork that links Emergency Voice Communi- j Neqwork cation System nodes and is immune to overloads associatedwith disas- ters or holiday communications peaks. It usesprivate branch exchange tie lines, federal telecommunications system trunks, and direct long-dis- tance dialing lines. Emergency Voice This system consists of private automated branch exchangesand other Communication System equipment, and usesthe Electronic Tandem Network discussedabove for transmission. The system is used to meet the national security and preparednessresponsibilities for accidents,hijackings, security matters, military activities, and national disasters. Administrative Data This service allows administrative information to be transmitted between operational facilities. It consists of data circuits and associated equipment. National Radio This system has two objectives. Its primary objective is to provide mini- Wnmunications System mum essential command and control communications capability to FAA, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Defensedur- ing national, regional, or local emergencies.In an emergencywhen com- mon carrier services are interrupted, the system supports the direction, management,operation, and reconstitution of NM. During a national emergency such as a nuclear attack, the system is required to perform minimum essential communication functions in support of military war- time operations and essential civil air transportation. The system’s secondary nonemergencyobjective is to provide day-to- day communications between regional headquarters and maintenance technicians. In addition, the system provides a communication system for flight check aircraft, crash site investigation teams, and aviation Page 28 GAO/IMTEC90-8 Cmnmunkatiom Resow Applmdhn FMCommunIcationaServicer security. Leasedcircuits and equipment at field facilities are used in the day-to-day operation portion of the system. Miscellaneous This service consists of equipment and circuits that are not categorized by any other service name or are temporarily in this category until appropriate services are assigned. Administrative communications connect FAA headquarters, regional &ministrative offices, field offices, and other federal organizations in order to conduct ($mmwnications nonmission oriented agency business.Table II.7 lists the three adminis- ! trative communications serviceswith their fiscal year 1988 lease costs, I A brief description of each of these servicesfollows. I ! T#lo 11.1:Admlnlstfathfo Communlcatlono Flrcal Year 1988 servlco Lease Coats Federal Telecommunications System $15,806,510 Administrative Data Transmission Network 3,300,000 Other Administration 7,279,OOOa Total $28,385,510 9ncIude8 both leased and purchased costs because FAA does not separately identify leased costs. Federal This system is a nationwide, long-distance telephone service provided Telecommunications and managedby the General ServicesAdministration for government offices. Agencies are billed according to usageat rates established by System federal regulations. Administrative Data This is a partially encrypted, packet-switched network that transmits Transmission Network data from users to administrative host computers for a variety of sys- tems including payroll, accounting, personnel management,aviation safety analysis, logistics and inventory, aviation management,and instrument approach procedures. The network also provides an agency- wide electronic mail service. According to agency officials, FAA is procur- ing this network under a lease-to-purchasecontract, and is scheduledto own the network equipment in March 1991. Y Page 24 GAO/IMTJ3CBO-8Communicationa Resources Ot er Administration This service is divided into two accounts-working capital fund and regional distribution-which provide funding for various administra- tive telecommunications support servicesused throughout FAA and include both leased and purchased items. The working capital fund is for an FAA headquarters public branch exchangeprocurement project I and for headquarters direct long-distancedialing. Regional distribution / is for large administrative projects and regional direct long-distance dialing, I , \ Page 25 GAO/lMTEC9O-S Communication8 Remma I Appendix III I+d Communications Projects 4 I FM currently has 20 active projects to procure or develop communica- tions that will significantly increasethe agency’sowned resources.Plan- ning for most of these projects began in the early 1980s and they represent a planned $2.7 billion dollar capital investment bv FAA for communications resourcesthrough the 1990s.Table III.1 below lists the 20 projects and the RR&D and F&E costs for the communications resourcesof each. Ta a 111.1:FM Communkatloka ProJacb u Dollars in millions ProJect coot En Route / Mode S $7.5a / I Voice Switching and Control System 786.0 , Termlnrl Automatic Terminal Information Service Recorders 11.2 Integrated Communications Switching System 99.5 Tower Communications System 152.1 Transceiver Replacement 129.7 Flight Service Statlon Aeronautical Data Link 121.6 Hazardous In-Flight Weather Advisory Service 7.3 High Altitude En Route Flight Advisory Service and Expansion (two projects) 8.0 Communlcatlonb Utllltler, Data Multiplexing Network 78.3 National Airspace Data Interchange Network IA * 18.7 National Airspace Data Interchange Network II 50.6 Radio Communications Link 452.5 Radio Control Equipment 304.6 Other National Radio Communications Svstem 82.4 Mlrcrllaneousb Air-to-Ground Communication Radio Frequency Interference Elimination 65.2 Multichannel Voice Recorders 50.1 Communications Facility Consolidation 89.4 Sustaining Telecommunications Support 179.3 Total $2694.0 “Representscommunicationscosts only. Estimated total cost for this project is $1.7 billion. bThese projects cannot be placed in any one category because they will be used in many or all service categories. Page 26 GAO/JMTEGg6-8Ckmmunicationa Reeources ; Appendix ill I FM Ckmmunicatio~ Projecta The projects in the first five categorieseither (1) provide resourcesto create new or expand existing communications services,or (2) replace obsolete and unreliable equipment used for someof the 63 communica- tions servicesdiscussedin appendix II. Of the remaining four projects in the Miscellaneouscategory, two involve procuring equipment to be used in multiple service categories,and two are initiatives planned to allow FAA to better manage and support its communications services. These projects are to assist in air traffic control functions at facilities such as air route traffic control centers and future consolidated area control facilities, which provide air-to-ground radio systems used for Pjrojests communication between controllers and pilots. Mode S-Discrete The Mode S project has two objectives: (1) to replace existing secondary A,ddressableSecondary beaconradars at terminal and en route sites, and (2) to provide a digital data communications link. The secondobjective will involve establishing Ridar System With Data an air-to-ground, two-way data communications link between pilots and Link controllers. This component is to provide pilots with weather messages from the NAS weather data base and allow the exchangeof data between pilots and controllers. FAA plans to procure Mode S under two contracts. The first contract for 137 systems provides coverageto 12,600 feet and was awarded in 1984 to a joint venture of UNImS and Westinghousecorporations. Implemen- tation of these systems is now scheduledfor fiscal year 1991 through 1994. The total estimated project cost for these 137 systems is $477.9 million. FAA officials estimate that $7.62 million of this amount is consid- ered communications costs for the data link portion of these systems. In October 1988 FAA decided to purchase 269 additional systems provid- ing coveragedown to 6,000 feet. FAA estimates the cost for these addi- tional systems at over $1.2 billion. This brings the total estimated costs for this project to about $1.7 billion. Voice Switching and This project is to develop and install FAA-ownedswitching equipment Control System that will perform intercom, interphone, and air-to-ground voice connec- tivity and control functions neededfor air traffic control operations in Page 27 GAO/IMTEGBO-SCkmmunicatione Reaowces I Appendix Itl FM Cbmmunicatlo~ Pro&eta air route traffic control centers and future consolidated control facili- ties. FAA plans to install switches at 22 air traffic control centers and area control facilities, the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control facility, the FAA Technical Center, and the FAA Training Academy. The first operational implementation of the Voice Switching and Control Sys- tem is scheduled for 1992. FAA estimates total project costs at $786 mil- lion, of which $110.8 million was identified for research and development of the switches. I FAA has four projects in the terminal communications area: Automatic Te@inal Terminal Information Service Recorders,the Integrated Communica- Comunications tions Switching System,the Tower Control System, and the Transceiver Pr+jects Replacement.Theseprojects, which represent an estimated $392.6 mil- lion investment, are to assist in providing air traffic control functions and navigational aid service for arriving and departing aircraft. Facili- ties providing these servicesinclude terminal radar approach control facilities and airport traffic control towers that control aircraft in the airspace immediately surrounding airports, on the ground, and in the approach zonesof airports. Auiomatic Terminal This project replaces older voice recorders that transmit weather and Infbmation Service airport condition information to pilots in controlled terminal areas. The older recorders have experienced reliability problems and are therefore Redorders being replaced with more reliable solid-state recorders. According to FAA, solid-state recorders are cost beneficial becauseof minimal mainte- nance and reduced spacerequirements. Total estimated project cost is $11.2 million. Delivery of the new recorders began in 1988. Integrated This project provides voice communication switching systems by replac- ing obsolete and no-longer-maintainable leasedswitches with FAA-owned Cor(nmunications switches at air traffic control facilities. These switches control intercom, Switching System interphone, and air-to-ground radio communications. There are three types of switches: type 1 for small air traffic control towers and smaller terminal radar approach control facilities, type 2 for larger terminal radar approach control facilities, and type 3 for other facilities. Currently, FAA has purchased all type 1 switches and sometype 2 Y switches. The remaining type 2 and type 3 switches are being purchased as funds are made available. Total project cost is estimated at $99.6 million. Page 28 GAO/IMTEG90-8 Communications Resources Tober Communications This project provides modernized voice communications switches and Syftem control systems at air traffic control towers. FAA states the new equip- ment will improve operations and maintenance of the systems.This new I equipment is planned to route voice communications between tower con- trollers, consolidated area control facility controllers, automated flight service station specialists, and air traffic control command center spe- cialists. Approximately 237 systems will be procured and must interface with the Integrated Communications Switching System, Radio Control I Equipment, and Voice Switching and Control System, Estimated total . ,I cost is $162.1 million. Delivery of the first five systems is scheduled for June 1992. Transceiver Replacement This project involves replacing old transceivers (radios) in terminal radar approach control facilities and towers. Two types of radios are being replaced: (1) portable emergencyradios neededfor controllers to continue to communicate with pilots when facilities are evacuated, and (2) back-up radios. This project is scheduledto begin implementation in 1991 with an estimated total project cost of $129.7 million. F’@ghtService Station vice, and High Altitude En Route Plight Advisory Service projects are to Cbmmunication assist in providing a wide range of advisory and support services.These Projects include providing flight plan filing, preflight and in-flight weather brief- ings, and assistanceto pilots in distress. Akronautical Data Link This project, formerly called the Weather Communications Processor/ Data Link, is to develop, evaluate, and implement a variety of weather and data link services for air traffic control. These servicesinclude pro- viding weather information such as surface observations, terminal fore- casts, and hazardous weather advisories to pilots when requested, and providing air traffic control servicessuch as altitude confirmation and minimum safe altitude warning. The total estimated communications cost for this project is $121.61 million, which includes $66.49 million for research and development. Hazardous In-Flight This project is to replace the 3-minute, single-tape transcribed weather Weather Advisory Service broadcast service at selectedflight service stations with single channel, solid-state, digital voice recorders that will continuously broadcast pre- recorded weather advisories and statements of hazardous weather. Page 29 GAO/IlWIEG9O-9Communications Resow APsn5n~Il.I FM Communtcntlo~ Projecto According to FAA, the new recorders will relieve air traffic controllers and flight service specialists from labor-intensive broadcasting tasks and improve the timeliness of information dissemination. Initially, this service will be implemented using existing leasedvoice lines; however, FAA plans to replace these leasedlines with radio communications link channels as part of future consolidation efforts. Estimated total project cost is $7.3 million. High Altitude En Route The first project provides circuits that will transmit pilot reports and en Flight Advisory Service route, real-time weather information from flight service stations to in- flight aircraft operating at or above 18,000 feet. The secondproject and Expansion expands this service using the communications channels provided by the first project. The first project is estimated to cost $6.3 million of which $3.2 million has been obligated through fiscal year 1988. Procurement has just begun for the secondproject, which has an estimated total cost of $2,7 million, Communication utilities are systems that support multiple services or Communications which comprise someform of network that connectsfacilities. These Utilities Projects systems are the Data Multiplexing Network, National Airspace Data Interchange Networks IA and II, Radio Communications Link, and Radio Control Equipment projects. Data Multiplexi 33 This network is an integral part of FAA’s strategy for providing cost- Network effective interfacility communications transmission, FAA is procuring commercially available data multiplexing equipment that is to consoli- date data from multiple low-speed communication lines and transmit the data over a single high-speedline. This equipment will serve air route traffic control centers, terminal radar approach control facilities, air traffic control towers, and flight service stations. The network, esti- mated to cost $78.3 million, is to provide telecommunications support for several new projects, and is being implemented in three phases: . PhaseI, which is complete, established a network by connecting 23 air route traffic control centers, 130 air route surveillance radars, the National Communications Center, the FAA Technical Center, and the Cen- Y tral Flow Control Facility at FAA headquarters. Using leasedtransmis- sion circuits, PhaseI transmits long-range radar data, interfacility data, traffic managementsystem data, and related data to these facilities, Page 30 GAO/IMTEG9O44Communications Itesourcea II I II I I- l PhaseII, which is also complete, added equipment at 420 terminal facili- ties to the network established by PhaseI. With this addition, the net- work carries interfacility data from air route traffic control centers to terminal facilities. Also, flight data input/output data, computer baaed instruction data, and remote maintenance monitoring systems data are being transmitted. PhaseII is also utilizing leasedcircuits for transmission. l PhaseIII is to expand and reconfigure the network by increasing capac- ity, expanding links to additional terminal facilities, and reconfiguring the existing network to use the FAA-ownedradio communications link / for transmission. PhaseIII implementation is projected for 1989 through 1994. c National Airspace Data FAA is purchasing switches to establish a national messageswitching In&change Network IA network to replace and combine a number of independent low-speed net- works such as the United States-operatedportion of the Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network and the Automated Service B Data Interchange Service (see appendix II for descriptions of these services). According to FAA, this replacement and consolidation will improve oper- ational effectiveness, reduce operational costs by reducing leasedline requirements, and provide system interoperability and better manage- ment capabilities. In addition, the network will allow expansion to meet future requirements. According to FAA officials, implementation is approximately 99 percent complete with estimated project costs totaling $18.7 million. The network transmits flight plan data among flight service stations, air route traffic control centers, military baseoperations, and international ports. It also provides switching for weather data for air route traffic control centers and FAA’S host computers. The network is made up of two switching centers located in Atlanta, Georgia, and Salt Lake City, Utah, and 23 sites that link users to the switching centers, National Airspace Data National Airspace Data Interchange Network II is a project to purchase Interchange Network II switches that will build upon and expand the National Airspace Data Interchange Network IA to meet future communication needs.These switches are to establish a packet switching network to (1) expand data I) switching capability, (2) provide network monitoring functions, and (3) increase the capacity, flexibility, and service availability of the National Airspace Data Interchange Network IA. Page 31 GAO/IlWlEG9O-SCkmmunkations Resources This network is to provide switching for virtually all systems requiring interfacility data switching services,including systems currently on the National Airspace Data Interchange Network IA. The network connects 20 air route traffic control centers, the New York Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility, the FAA Technical Center, and the switching centers in Atlanta, Georgia, and Salt Lake City, Utah. FAA plans to utilize radio communication link channels for transmission. According to FAA officials, the network should be fully operational in the 1992-1995time frame with total project cost estimated at $50.6 million. R*dio Communications This two-phased project is to (1) replace equipment at 750 outdated Lipk radar microwave link sites which have becomeexpensive to maintain, and (2) expand to 260 new sites to form a national microwave radio / / network. This network is to provide an integrated, analog transmission b! medium for current voice, data, and broadband radar traffic. The net- , , work is also to satisfy future requirements such as redundant and alter- I nate rerouting capabilities. According to FAA, the radio communications link project will ensure reliable transmission of radar data, reduce costs of interfacility communications, and improve system availability while providing flexibility to accommodatefuture interfacility communication requirements. FAA officials estimate that 343 of approximately 1,000 sites are currently operational and installation of the remaining sites is expected to be completed in May 1991. FAA estimates it will need $452.5 million for the project. Rhdio Control Equipment This project is to replace existing equipment with solid-state digital and analog technology which, FAA states, will improve operational perform- ance and reduce maintenance costs. The new equipment will perform radio channel signaling and control functions to support air-to-ground voice communications between voice switching equipment such as the Voice Switching and Control System and Integrated Communications Switching System. The equipment will pass voice and radio signals over telephone or radio communications link circuits. The project is also to provide remote radio control, remote environmental sensorsand mainte- nance monitoring, and emergencyback-up power. Equipment is planned to be implemented at 2,000 sites with estimated total project costs of $304.6 million. Y Page32 GAO/lMTEG90-8 CommunicatiomResources The National Radio Communications System is a voice and data radio communications system basedon national security decision directives. The system connectsFAA headquarters in Washington, DC., regional offices, field facilities, the Department of Transportation, the Depart- ment of Defense,and local government agencies. This system is to provide the minimum essential communication capabil- ity necessaryto support FM, Department of Transportation, and Department of Defenseoperations during a local, regional, or national emergency when common carrier operations fail. In addition, the system is to be available for maintenance purposes, aviation security, accident investigations, and other FAA activities. The system is being imple- mented in many phases,and is estimated to cost $82.4 million. PhaseI of the project, which is almost complete, will provide secure data communications capability for 39 systems at air route traffic con- trol centers and regional offices that will carry classified flight plan information. PhaseII of the project provides voice and data communica- tions capability via a high-frequency band with or without security. FAA plans to install 49 systems at air route traffic control centers; regional offices; flight inspection offices; and in San Juan, Puerto Rico; Honolulu, Hawaii; and Anchorage, Alaska. According to FAA officials, 39 systems are currently operational and 10 systems are in the processof being installed. PhaseIII of the project is the installation of a voice system that uses radio frequencies. This system, in addition to emergencyuses,will be used daily to dispatch FAA maintenance personnel. This phase was com- pleted in June 1989. PhaseIV-A will provide for securevoice communi- cations over public switched networks. FAA is responsible for the installation of securetelephone units that are being purchased by the National Security Agency. Estimated completion of this phase is Decem- ber 1992. Four miscellaneousprojects do not fall into any one service category Miscellaneous becausethe equipment or funding provided will be used in several cate- gories. For example, the Air-to-Ground Communication Radio Frequency Interference Elimination and Multichannel Recordersprojects are to 9 improve operations at many FAA facilities. The Communications Facility Consolidation and Sustaining Telecommunications projects are FAA ini- tiatives to provide better managementand support of communications resourcesused by all services. Page33 GAO/IMTEIC9O-3 Gmqw&ations Item- This project is to replace existing equipment that’ is technologically obso- mmunication Radio lete and no longer meets performance requirements. This equipment consistsof radio receivers and associateddevicessuch as antennae that provide voice communications between air traffic controllers and pilots. FM states that this project will improve air-to-ground radio communica- tion service with the installation of new, state-of-the-art equipment at selectedremote communications facilities to improve operational per- formance and reduce frequency interference. The estimated project cost is $66.2 million. lv$ultichannelVoice This project replaced existing voice recorders at air traffic control tow- *corders ers, flight service stations, air route traffic control centers, and future consolidated area control facilities. These recorders capture and retain / all voice communications between air traffic controllers and pilots. , These recordings are used to reconstruct communications involving any 1/ type of incident, such as crashes. FM maintains that the older recorders have reliability, maintenance, supply and support, and capacity problems. According to FAA, the new recorders will provide more channel capacity and have fewer supply and support problems since they are currently commercially available. Delivery of the new recorders was completed in May 1989. The total estimated cost for this project is $60.1 million. Communications Facility This FM initiative is to reduce the cost of operating radio communica- Consolidation tions facilities by reducing the number of buildings housing air-to- ground radio communications equipment. This is being accomplishedby locating transmitters and receivers serving different types of control facilities in one FAA-ownedbuilding and decommissioningvacated build- ings. The consolidated communication facilities will serve the combined needsof air traffic control and flight service stations, and is one step in FAA’sprogram to provide a modern, solid-state, remote-monitored radio communications network. According to FAA, this consolidation will result in cost savings and cost avoidancesby reducing land leases,mainte- nance, power consumption, and communications leasedservices.FAA estimates that this consolidation, which began in 1982, will require $89.4 million through the 1990s. Y Page 34 GAO/IMTEC30-3 Communicationa Resources , Sust* ining FM has a strategic objective to reduce dependenceon leasedtelecommu- Tele ommunications nications in order to improve reliability, flexibility, and survivability, as well as to control and reduce costs. In accomplishing this objective, the sup ; ,ort agency has begun acquiring telecommunication facility projects and engineering servicesand equipment. The sustaining telecommunications support initiative establishesthe funding necessaryto provide follow-on support for these efforts to continue. For example, it will provide fund- ing for the expansion of the Radio Communications Link, replacement of selectedequipment no longer supported by vendors, and small projects that show a leasecost/benefit savings. This initiative began in fiscal year 1989 with an estimated total project cost of $179.3 million. Page 36 GAO/IMTECSO-8Communications Reeource~ I ai&endix IV l$!tajorContributms to This Report 1I Marcia C. Washington, Evaluator-in-Charge . M. RoseHernandez,Evaluator kchnology Division, Karen A. Brown, Evaluator Washington,D.C. (alosre) Page 36 GAO- Communicatim lIesow 5 = t 5 = ? ti C ti t’< 4 ;i ,1 ii i r
Aviation: FAA's Use and Management of Communications Resources
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-01-24.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)