Future air traffic operations as envisioned by the Next Generation (NextGen) Air Transportation System will require a new flexible networkable voice communications system with flexible networking capabilities. NVS is the key voice communication component for the NextGen System.
The NAS Voice System (NVS) is a key enabling program for NextGen. The FAA conducted a study of voice switching which concluded the current switch bases are old with looming supportability problems. Seventeen different switches are used in the National Airspace System and many are already experiencing severe obsolescence issues. Technical refresh can sustain the Enroute VSCS for the near term but a new switch program should be started soon. A new small "bridge" switch program for TRACON and tower applications should be implemented between the end of the current terminal switching program and the start of NVS. The NextGen minimum for operating in controlled airspace is a voice capability which supplements data communications for tactical situations and emergencies. One of the key transformations is that air-to-ground voice communication is no longer limited by geographical facility boundaries. This allows greater flexibility for developing and using airspace/traffic assignments in all airspace. NextGen voice communication paths will be controlled by an intelligent network. Current voice switches are not network enabled and cannot be modified for installation in new facilities resulting from NextGen. The NVS is currently in a planning phase but is scheduled to be operational by the year 2016.