National Airspace System: Observations on the Wide Area Augmentation System
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC RESOURCES COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVE LOPMENT DIV
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In the 1980s, FAA began considering how a satellite based navigation system could eventually replace the ground based system that had long provided navigation guidance to aviation. In August 1995, after years of study and research, FAA contracted with Wilcox Electric to develop WAAS. However, because of concerns about the contractors performance, FAA terminated the contract in April 1996. In May 1996, the agency entered into an interim contract with Hughes Aircraft. The interim contract with Hughes was subsequently expanded and became final in October 1996. Under the terms of the WAAS development contract, Hughes will deliver an initial operational capability Phase 1 WAAS to FAA by April 1, 1999. The original date written into the Wilcox contract was December 1997. Phase 1 WAAS will be able to support the navigation of aircraft throughout the continental United States for all phases of flight through Category I precision approaches. However, the Phase 1 system will not have sufficient redundancy to continue operations in the event of equipment failures and will have to be backed up by FAAS current ground based system. FAA expects to conclude the operational testing of Phase 1 WAAS in June 1999 and to commission the system by July 15, 1999. To make WAAS capable of serving as a sole means navigation system throughout the United States, FAA plans to expand the system in Phases 2 and 3 of the contract. The Phase 3, or full, WAAS is scheduled to be delivered by October 2001 and commissioned in early 2002.
- Air Navigation and Guidance