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MCLEAN, VA. (June 17, 2013) – Aireon LLC, the developer of the world’s first satellite-based global air traffic surveillance system, announced today that it has signed a 17-year, $42 million agreement with ITT Exelis (NYSE: XLS) to provide the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data processing and distribution component of the Aireon℠ system. This contract further extends the ongoing relationship with Exelis, who also provides systems engineering services for Aireon.
Aireon, a joint venture between Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: IRDM) and NAV CANADA, will take advantage of the hosted payload space on Iridium NEXT, Iridium’s secondgeneration satellite constellation. Leveraging the unique Low Earth Orbit (LEO) architecture of the Iridium® constellation, Aireon will extend ADS-B coverage and benefits to every flight path across the planet.
Under the terms of the contract, Exelis will design and build the processing and distribution platform, a critical component of the Aireon system, and operate and maintain the system for 15 years. The Exelis platform will receive ADS-B data from ADS-B receiver payloads on Iridium NEXT satellites, validate and process the data and send it to Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) for use in air traffic control services around the world, significantly improving operational efficiency, flight monitoring and reductions in fuel costs for airlines.
The data processing and distribution platform is being developed based on the deep expertise and best practices Exelis has gained deploying and operating the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) ground-based ADS-B system. Exelis has been working with Aireon and NAV CANADA, the world’s second-largest ANSP and one of Aireon’s joint venture partners, to define the technical and operating specifications of the Aireon system.
“Aireon is bringing together the best companies in the world in the fields of air traffic management and aerospace to create this transformational ADS-B surveillance service. Exelis has been leading the design, engineering and specification of the Aireon system by leveraging its experience operating the nationwide terrestrial ADS-B systems under the FAA’s NextGen initiative and we are excited to have entered into this long-term strategic partnership with them,” said Don Thoma, president and CEO of Aireon. “This contract represents another critical component of the Aireon system and demonstrates the continued progress we are making with our partners towards deploying Aireon.”
“Expanding our ground-based system expertise to space-based surveillance is a natural evolution of our core air traffic management business,” said Pamela Drew, president of Exelis Information Systems. “We are truly excited to extend our long-term relationship with the world-class Aireon team and become a core partner in revolutionizing the future of global air travel through this transformational ADS-B surveillance service.”
Expected to be fully operational in 2017, Aireon will provide more efficient, more environmentally friendly, and safer air travel. This first ever global air traffic monitoring service will enable a host of benefits to the world’s airlines. It is anticipated to enable improvements to air traffic operations that will generate billions of dollars in fuel savings for air carriers over the life of the system.
Headquartered in McLean, Va., Aireon LLC is a joint venture between Iridium Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: IRDM) and NAV CANADA to provide air traffic management service providers with the capability to track aircraft anywhere in the world in near-real time, including the only coverage over oceanic, polar and remote regions. Aireon will harness the best of aviation surveillance advancements already underway and extend them globally in order to significantly improve the business of air operations through increased efficiency, expanded safety, worldwide integration and significant cost savings to airlines and ANSPs alike. For more information about Aireon, visit: www.aireon.com.