U.S. Commerce Department Forms NextGen Vendors Group

 - September 26, 2011, 7:48 AM
Honeywell SmartPath is a ground-based GPS augmentation system that supports precision approach and landing, increasing airport capacity. (Photo: Honeywell)

The U.S. Department of Commerce is organizing an industry vendors group to identify and advance export opportunities for Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) products made in the U.S. The NextGen Vendors Group (NVG) initiative was announced at the annual meeting of the NextGen Institute in Washington earlier this month.

Maureen Smith, principal deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing and services, said the initiative is a cooperative effort among the Department of Commerce, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the NextGen Institute, an entity that advises the federal inter-agency Joint Planning and Development Office on NextGen. The organizations will work in the coming weeks to gather information on preferred foreign markets, industry capabilities and market requirements.

In particular, Smith mentioned China, Brazil, India, Russia, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey as having high potential for NextGen exports. “We want to underscore the expected market barriers and solicit industry input in order to begin to propose market-specific strategies to increase exports of NextGen products,” she said.

Individual U.S. companies already are exporting or providing NextGen-type products and services overseas. For example, GE Aviation’s Naverus unit in Kent, Wash., has provided required navigation performance (RNP) consulting services in countries including Peru, Brazil, Tibet and China. Honeywell has provided its SmartPath GPS ground-based augmentation system in Brazil, Germany, Spain and Australia.

Meanwhile, foreign companies are acquiring U.S. firms with NextGen expertise. In late July, Airbus entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Metron Aviation of Dulles, Va., a provider of advanced air traffic flow management software, and one of the prime contractors participating in FAA’s Systems Engineering 2020 program for implementing NextGen.

In August, Sweden’s Saab AB concluded its acquisition of Sensis Corp., of Syracuse, N.Y.–now Saab Sensis–a provider of airport surface movement technology including the Airport Surface Detection Equipment, Model X (ASDE-X) system deployed at 35 major U.S. airports.

Smith said the NextGen Vendors Group initiative will look to industry for direction, in collaboration with the FAA and the Transport Security Administration, to create market-specific strategies for the expansion of NextGen products and services. “All NVG members will be invited to participate in relevant trade missions and foreign-buyer events that [the Department of] Commerce supports,” she concluded.