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Auditors: FAA Needs Master Plan to Get Projects On Schedule

Site: FAA.gov

The Federal Aviation Administration’s efforts to upgrade its air traffic control system to feature satellite-based communication capabilities is over schedule, according to a Transportation Department Inspector General audit.

FAA’s NextGen program, which will include GPS tracking in air traffic control, is dependent on other programs and has caused ripple effects of lateness as a result, FierceGovernment IT reports.

Auditors called on the FAA to use better coordination in order to prevent schedule slip in program components such as with the National Airspace System’s voice system, a replacement telecommunications network for air traffic control sites.

That program was delayed two years since the FAA originally planned to replace its voice switch system, but later decided to revise the program’s requirements as a result of NextGen’s need for switching capabilities, the report said.

Another FAA program aiming to create data sharing is two years late, now expected to be complete in 2015 instead of 2013.

That program will potentially be delayed another four years as a result of delays with the En Rout Automation Modernization software program, which will not be ready until September, according to the report.

A system the FAA would use to enhance traffic flow management may also be delayed since the System Wide Information Management project is late.

Leaders of the DataComm program, replacing voice communications between pilot and air traffic control with text, told auditors the program is running behind since ERAM is behind.

The FAA will not make its final investment decision for the NextGen Network Enabled Weather system until September 2013, three years later than originally planned, auditors said.

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