Innovative approach characterises SkyLine-X for New Zealand

12 October 2018
Leidos senior product engineering manager Milton Yang and senior vice-president Fran Hill, pictured at ATCA with the Leidos SkyLine-X automation platform. Source: J Beechener

Key Points

  • Airways New Zealand is engaged in product design and development of the Leidos SkyLine-X automation system
  • Incremental software upgrades are being rolled out at regular intervals ahead of final handover in May 2019
  • Leidos displayed new SkyLine-X tools in October 2018 at the ATCA exhibition

Leidos and long-standing customer Airways New Zealand are taking a new approach to the latest upgrade of automation equipment installed at the Christchurch and Auckland centres.

Leidos is supplying its SkyLine-X solution under a partnership agreement in which Airways participates in product design and development. This is common for human-machine-interface (HMI) development, but unusual for controller tools and operational functions.

Airways selected Leidos in March 2017 to replace two existing systems supplied by Leidos predecessor Lockheed Martin in 2003 with one platform to support terminal and en route control from 2020, followed by oceanic operations from 2021. Leidos is also contracted to provide support and upgrade services for the next 15 years.

“In a sense Airways is in control of its own destiny,” Leidos senior vice-president, operations, Fran Hill told Jane’s . “They can make changes, test, and upgrade the system. This sort of partnership is a great way for [Leidos] to move forward in the international market.”

Weekly meetings between the supplier and contractor focus on design and development, while Leidos adheres to project delivery milestones. Incremental software upgrades are rolled out at regular intervals ahead of final handover in May 2019.

Leidos exhibited new SkyLine-X concepts at the ATCA exhibition in early October 2018. Among these, a tool called the Unified Flight Modeler provides precise trajectory information, calculated using accurate algorithms and supported by the Base of Aircraft Data (BADA) aircraft performance modelling database. Leidos first developed a trajectory prediction tool in the En Route Automation Modernisation (ERAM) programme for the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) between 2010 and 2015.

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