For Immediate Release

September 1, 1999
Contact: John Clabes
Phone: (405)954-7500

What is the Display System Replacement (DSR)

The Display System Replacement (DSR) is a key component of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) modernization of the en route air traffic control system.

The DSR replaces 30 year-old radar displays used by en route air traffic controllers at the 20 Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC) nationwide. These controllers manage air traffic that is operating in airspace throughout the United States and its territories. The system replaces equipment that is becoming difficult to maintain and unable to adapt to changing technologies. All 20 ARTCCs are to be equipped with DSR, which is scheduled to be completed in the year 2000.

Why does the FAA need the Display System Replacement (DSR)?

Existing air traffic control displays in air route traffic control centers are 20 to 30 years old and are becoming increasingly difficult to support and maintain. In addition, current display equipment cannot accommodate future growth and planned improvements to provide additional air traffic services to the airlines, general aviation, the military, and the flying public.

The DSR computing infrastructure can support more than 200 workstations and 65 operational sectors of airspace in a single ARTCC. This increase in operational capacity will allow the FAA to handle rising traffic loads while maintaining current high levels of service.

How do controllers use the Display System Replacement (DSR)? What are its capabilities?

DSR receives aircraft tracks and other data from the FAA's Host and Enhanced Direct Access Radar Channel (EDAR C) ARTCC computer systems and formats it for display to en route controllers for the control of commercial, general aviation, and military air traffic in the United States and its territories.

The system provides the capability to:

Display aircraft position and identification

Display National Airspace System (NAS) messages and lists

Print flight plan information

Display weather information

Support several types of ATC positions with displays

Monitor and control system equipment

Support planned enhancements to the air traffic control environment, e.g., Conflict Probe and Controller-Pilot Data Link.

What hardware and software improvements does the Display System Replacement (DSR) provide?

DSR replaces existing controller consoles and monochrome 19-inch circular displays with new consoles, including a 20" by 20" square Sony high-resolution color display. Mechanical switches and knobs have been replaced with on-screen controls. Using a "Windows-like" format to display information in DSR, the elements presented are easily mapped to the existing system, thus providing a familiar interface for the controller. Computer-human interface considerations were an important part of human factors research during development.

DSR uses an open architecture, i.e., components of the system are commercially available and easily maintained or replaced. The open architecture also means that DSR will be a cost-effective platform for future upgrades to air traffic control capabilities.

Does the DSR provide any new capabilities or features? What are they?

The goal of the DSR program is to provide a replacement infrastructure upon which new air traffic control capabilities can be based. The new capabilities provide more efficient and effective maintenance support.

The system also provides for display of NEXRAD weather data from National Weather Service radars. This enhanced weather display allows controllers to display and filter three altitudes and intensities of weather. This is a significant improvement over the capabilities of the long-range air traffic control radars now in use. Other new technologies include color displays and thermal flight strip printers.

What benefits are expected from the Display System Replacement (DSR)?

Capacity: DSR provides the display equipment platform required for future enhancements to the en route air traffic control system. DSR has been developed to accommodate growth and introduces new capabilities to improve operational safety and efficiency. The console processors and networks were tested with at least 50 percent reserve capacity at the 2010 workload providing ample reserve to support future operational enhancements.

Reliability/availability: DSR incorporates redundant processors with expansion capability to improve system reliability and availability. The DSR design includes redundant hardware and software, and independent primary and back-up networks. DSR software fault tolerance, in combination with redundant hardware and networks, achieves high availability consistent with its critical mission. System redundancy also ensures the system will have minimal downtime. Automatic recovery features are also incorporated into the design.

Speed/computer memory: DSR provides significant gains in speed and capacity through the use of modem processing technology and a distributed architecture.

Efficiency: DSR uses power much more efficiently than its predecessor does. The reductions in power supply and air conditioning requirements provide substantial energy and cost savings for the FAA.

Replacement parts: The major components of DSR consist of commercial-off-the shelf (COTS) parts that can be purchased in the current electronics marketplace. Replacement components will "technologically refresh" the DSR when COTS items become obsolete or experience supportability or maintainability problems.

Maintenance: DSR provides improved maintenance capabilities. New system management functions and capabilities include: comprehensive system status and performance monitoring and control; continuous on-line data recording for resource problem determination and trend analysis; site adaptable fonts, view content, and view location; and access to both primary and back-up networks from any system management console. The system's automatic fault detection and isolation feature enables system failures to be isolated quickly, with minimal disruption to air traffic operations.

How is the Display System Replacement (DSR) being implemented in the FAA's present en route air traffic control (ATC) automation system?

The DSR is being implemented into the existing en route architecture at all 20 ARTCCs. DSR will be transitioned to full operational use over a period of time to enable air traffic controllers to gain experience using the new system. The 20 sites will be phased into operation at a rate of approximately one center per month over a year and a half period.

How does the Display System Replacement (DSR) affect pilots?

Pilots will not notice any changes.

Where are the 20 ARTCCs that will be equipped with the Display System Replacement (DSR)?

Salt Lake City
Ft. Worth
New York
Kansas City
Los Angeles

What are the major components of the Display System Replacement (DSR) being installed at the ARTCCS?

The major components of the DSR are:

Radar (R)-position console, featuring a 20" by 20" color display, trackball, and keyboard

Data (D)-side position console, featuring a 15" (diagonal) color display, optional flight strip printer, flight strip bays, and keyboard

Assistant (A)-position console, featuring a 15" (diagonal) color display, flight strip printer, flight strip bays, and keyboard

What components of the existing system does the Display System Replacement (DSR) replace?

DSR replaces the following systems and equipment that are currently operational at the 20 ARTCCS:

Display channels (Computer Display Channel and Display Channel Complex Re-Host)

Plan View Displays (PVDS) and display generators

Computer Update Equipment (CUE) (Non-Radar Keyboard Multiplexer and Radar Keyboard Multiplexer)

Flight strip printer equipment, including Printer Control Units (PCUS)

Where is the Display System Replacement (DSR) being installed?

DSR and associated equipment is being installed in the newly constructed DSR control rooms, as well as in the basement-level equipment rooms at the 20 ARTCCS.

What approach did the FAA take to developing DSR? What organizations were involved?

The FAA brought together an empowered decision-making group including users, FAA staff, bargaining unit employees, and contractor representatives. The group identified and clarified significant issues and was authorized to develop solutions. Lockheed Martin Air Traffic Management is the prime contractor.

DSR is a success that blends the old and new government procurement systems and is an early demonstration of the integrated product team approach brought on line in the FAA in 1996. This DSR milestone is an excellent opportunity to note the success of the partnership efforts with both labor and industry.

The FAA is using the DSR team approach as the model to institutionalize work groups for developing and deploying future programs.

How many systems will be acquired?

Under the terms of the contract, DSR is to be delivered to 20 ARTCC locations, our training facility at the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City, and our developmental testing labs at the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, NJ.

What is the cost of the system?

The baseline program cost is $1,055.3M including contract costs. DSR is proceeding within budget and overall schedule.

What is the duration of the Display System Replacement (DSR) contract?

A modification to the Advanced Automation System (AAS) contract was awarded in April 1995 for the design, development, and implementation of the DSR. Under the terms of the contract the last system is scheduled to be delivered in December 1999, with contract maintenance scheduled through September 2000. Options are included to extend the maintenance period by up to 9 years.

Have there been delays in the DSR program?

The Operational Readiness Demonstration (ORD) for Seattle ARTCC was delayed by approximately 11/2 months from the original product baseline. The overall program schedule is expected to be completed on time in May 2000.