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)

    E’AA’s Use and
    Management of

    General    Accountdng          Of’fke

    Was-n,                  D.C. !40648

    Information Bhnagement and
    Technology Division


    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

    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.

 ,                     systems,maintenance and operations support programs, and adminis-
    ,I                 trative systems. Communications servicesprovide data and voice com-
    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

                       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
                       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
                         .   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


                            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
                           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

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
                          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

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

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

                        Page 8                             GAO/IlWWMM     Co~~~~u&atioxu Itemme

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
               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.

*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
                                          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.

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

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
                                     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

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


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
                                   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

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

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.


                             Page 18                                 GAO/lMTESBO-S   cOmmunlcations     Reeom

                                                    : *, 6,’
                                                                                                ,’ _’
                             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.

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.

                             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
       ,,                                      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
                                               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

                                               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.
       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
                            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.

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
            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

    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

                                          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.

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.

                                          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

  ,       \

                       Page 25                              GAO/lMTEC9O-S   Communication8   Remma
Appendix III

I+d Communications Projects                                                                                                         4

                                      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
                                      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
                                      National Radio Communications Svstem                                                                  82.4
                                      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

                                      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.

                     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
                     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

                     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
                             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-
                            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

   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
                         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

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.

                          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

                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.

                          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~

 ai&endix IV

 l$!tajorContributms to This Report

                       Marcia C. Washington, Evaluator-in-Charge    .
                       M. RoseHernandez,Evaluator
 kchnology Division,   Karen A. Brown, Evaluator

(alosre)               Page 36                            GAO-     Communicatim lIesow