Richmond, B.C. - MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (TSE: MDA) announced today the company has been awarded a contract by the United States Air Force to develop a system to be used by specialists at Air Force bases to design Instrument Approach Procedures (IAPs).
IAPs are published instructions to pilots specifying a series of aircraft maneuvers that must be executed for the aircraft to transition safely from an en route airway to a runway final approach when flying by instruments. MDA's system ingests digital terrain and elevation data, air navigation data (such as the locations of navigation aids, runways, buildings and towers) to build and display a virtual model of the physical environment surrounding an airport. It then develops the complex surfaces that define a safe approach corridor for any of the dozens of IAP variants, and determines whether any of the defined surfaces are penetrated by terrain or man-made obstacles. It flags these incursions to the operator, who can quickly modify the approach procedure through a drag-and-drop user interface.
This initial award, valued at $2.9 million (CDN), consists of a fixed price element to develop, integrate, and test the system. The next phase will include installation, government testing, and operator training. The contract includes an option for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to adapt the system for their needs. The U.S. Air Force also has options to field the successful system at up to 108 air bases around the world, and to award T&M support contracts for up to 8 years. MDA plans to team up with Air Navigation Data (AND) of Ottawa to offer a custom solution, based on AND's "Final Approach" product.
MDA President and CEO Daniel Friedmann said: "This is a significant project for MDA that has the potential to improve the safety of air transportation for many other air forces and civil aviation authorities world wide."
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