Lockheed has been engaged in upgrading the capability of an oceanic air traffic control system used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The technology refresh of the Ocean21 system updates the advanced technologies and oceanic procedures (ATOP) programme at air route traffic control centres in Alaska, New York and California.

ATOP, a FAA modernisation programme for oceanic air traffic control, uses a satellite-based system to integrate flight and radar data processing, advanced digital surveillance and communication capabilities, and enhanced controller tool sets for all three control centres.

The refresh shortens the intensive manual process with limited controllers and enhances flexibility to safely handle airline requests for more-efficient tracks over long oceanic routes.

ATOP also enables the use of electronic flight strips, instead of the conventional labour-intensive paper strip method to track transoceanic aircraft.

A technical refresh of the system, based on the date the first site achieved initial operational capability (IOC), is a five-year requirement of the contract.

The installation, testing, demonstration and certification cycle for all the three centres is complete, with the final one concluding at the Alaska centre in October 2009.