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New Technology

Controller viewing air traffic control screens

The FAA's modernization effort encompasses innovative and transformative technologies that are developed and implemented after thorough safety testing. These are the NextGen programs.

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B)

ADS-B functions with satellite rather than radar technology to more accurately observe and track air traffic. Aircraft equipped with an ADS-B Out transmitter send their position, altitude, heading, ground speed, vertical speed, call sign, and International Civil Aviation Organization identifier to a network of ground stations that relays the information to air traffic control displays. Pilots of aircraft equipped with a receiver for optional ADS-B In also receive traffic information and can experience several other benefits. Aircraft operating in most controlled U.S. airspace must be equipped for ADS-B Out by January 1, 2020. Learn more about the ADS-B program.


Improving Safety &
Situational Awareness


New, state-of-the-art computer systems have been deployed to FAA air traffic control facilities across the country. The Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS) and En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) are enabling NextGen capabilities at all phases of flight.

Data Communications (Data Comm)

Pilots and air traffic controllers equipped for this capability can quickly send and respond to typed electronic messages instead of talking on the radio without the risks of missed or misunderstood spoken information. Available at 62 airports before takeoff, Data Comm is scheduled to provide services during flight by 2020.

Decision Support Systems (DSS)

DSS provide air traffic controllers with tools to direct traffic flow as safely and efficiently as possible throughout the National Airspace System. The three systems are:

  • Traffic Flow Management System is the FAA's primary system for reducing imbalances between airspace demand and capacity throughout the nation to improve strategic traffic flow.
  • Time Based Flow Management uses time instead of distance to help controllers improve en route traffic flow.
  • Terminal Flight Data Manager modernizes control tower equipment and processes to improve terminal and surface traffic flow.

Performance Based Navigation (PBN)

PBN takes advantage of GPS satellites and cutting-edge aircraft navigation equipment to create new pathways in the sky. This allows aircraft to fly shorter, more-efficient routes to their destinations and helps passengers make connections or catch earlier rides home while aircraft burn less fuel.


  • Faster and shorter routes
  • Available procedures nearly
    tripled since 2009

System Wide Information Management (SWIM)

SWIM aggregates multiple sources of aviation data and shares it through a single access point with approved data users. SWIM increases common situational awareness and helps deliver the right information to the right systems and people at the right time for improved safety and efficiency. Learn more about the SWIM program.


NextGen Weather capabilities harness massive computing power, unprecedented advances in numerical weather forecasting, translation of weather information into airspace constraints, and modernized information management services. With this powerful combination, NextGen Weather programs can provide tailored aviation weather products within the NAS, which helps controllers and operators develop reliable flight plans, make better decisions, and improve on-time performance. Learn more about the weather program.

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