It is no secret that the FAA in the last several months has been forced to shelve a number of important ATC modernization projects. But now a blunt assessment by Department of Transportation inspector general Kenneth Mead accuses the agency of misjudging the technological maturity of the canceled programs and failing to gauge their true costs.
After more than 15 years and $200 million in development effort, the FAA in late January canceled further expenditures on the GPS Category I local-area augmentation system (LAAS), dropped its proposed 2006 initial introduction and reclassified the project as merely research and development.
LAAS developer Honeywell and FAA LAAS program officials remain tight lipped about how the contract, awarded in April on the understanding that the system’s development was 80-percent complete, had by September reversed itself to becoming only 20-percent complete.
The Department of Defense (DOD) recently unveiled its program for JPALS, the joint precision approach and landing system. The DOD describes JPALS–which is similar to, and compatible with, the FAA’s GPS local area augmentation system (LAAS), with the addition of a few military bells and whistles–as a critical future system for all Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines aircraft.
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