FAA Future Flight Services Program to be supported by Leidos and Rhode & Schwarz

US Airport Airlines

Through the Future Flight Services Program (FFSP), the U. S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aims to transform and modernize the delivery of flight briefing services by reducing program costs, providing technology enhancements, and engaging the broader general aviation community, while still maintaining quality of service and safety. Leidos Innovation Corp. was awarded a follow-on prime contract by the FAA to continue serving the general aviation community under the FFSP. Leidos in turn awarded Rohde & Schwarz USA, Inc. a contract to provide the voice communications system (VCS) as the new central communication platform for this program.

For the specific requirements of FAA’s Future Flight Services Program, the existing R&S VCS-4G technology which has a proven track record in the market for more than 10 years, will be enhanced by additional functionalities to allow the Leidos Flight Service Specialist to access several hundred frequencies nationwide from a single CWP as well as to benefit from an automated routing facility for incoming calls.

The contract awarded to Leidos calls for the company to continue providing features such as weather data, aeronautical information and flight-planning services, but at reduced cost through technology modernization efforts.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, a Frederick, Maryland-based general aviation nonprofit, reported that when the FAA solicited the FFSP in September 2018, the agency was seeking to reduce the costs of providing flight services by more than 65%, encouraging “the use of technology, industry best practices and authoritative flight data.”

The customer will deploy Rohde & Schwarz’ R&S VCS-4G, comprised of two geographically separated systems plus a lab/test system with a total of 200 Controller Working Positions (CWPs). This redundant modular system allows Flight Service Specialists at the two Flight Service Data Centers in Ashburn, VA and Ft. Worth, TX to handle flight service calls from anywhere in the continental US and Caribbean. It will allow for load sharing between both service centers during periods of heavy traffic and consolidation of services to one service center during periods of light traffic.