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Information Display System Replacement Program (IDSR)

Richie Smith (N90) is the current Article 114 Representative  

Tiffany McBride (SCT) is the incoming Representative  

The IDS Replacement program was originally supposed to replace all of the Information Display Systems in the NAS with one product know as NIDS (NAS IDS). The program was later reduced to 41terminal networks comprising 96 facilities and at present time is fully deployed.  

Information Display Systems provide a wide variety of information to Air Traffic Controllers such as current weather, airspace delegation, access to approach plates, NOTAMS, SIGMETS,  flight route verification and aircraft information. The most common system in the NAS is a DOS based system known as IDS-4. These systems are based on 1980’s technology and as workstations fail it is increasingly difficult to find replacement parts. IDS-4 sustainably has been estimated to end between 2021 and 2026.  

NIDS is fully deployed at present in 41 networks and is currently categorized as in “sustainment mode”. The program continues to enhance its software and troubleshoot issues but there will no more funded sites in the NAS.  

Upcoming Activities: 

  • Informal testing for the next software build occurred during late July with the vendor showcasing testing procedures and processes in a live video presentation. The gathered information was reviewed by the formal test team, based at the Technical Center in Atlantic City, and deemed acceptable. No date has been set for any formal testing at this point.  
  • A formal study of an Operating System change has been completed by the IDSR/NIDS vendor and the FAA team is being reviewed for safety and cost comparisons. Whatever the choice may be the most important factor is network “down time” for installation and upgrades.  
  • While the FAA moves to rank projects for the phased opening approach at the Technical Center is appears that IDSR/NIDS has been allocated to Phase Three which is not expected to be reached until some time in 2021. This obviously means that no formal software testing can be accomplished this year. In response to this delay the FAA IDSR team is utilizing the time to merge the build that is ready for testing (3.6.4) with the next builds (3.7 and eventually 3.8). The time frame should allow all of the building and compiling work to be completed prior to Technical Center access and will also allow the program to procure an official FAA license to a Linux platform. Build 3.8 will then be created as a dual platform build making the possible move to Linux more manageable. When testing does occur it will be a huge undertaking because the software will have to be tested on a Windows system, a Linux system and a mixed mode (Windows and Linux running together) system.  
  • Ongoing meetings with both the FAA IDSR System Manager.   
  • Ongoing biweekly Status Meetings and Technical Interchange Meetings (TIM) discussing the future merging with and transition to EIDS. 
  • Ongoing SIB meetings discussing AIMS reported issues to categorize and rank issues for inclusion in further software builds. 
  • Meeting between the incoming and outgoing NATCA IDSR/NIDS representatives.