Terminal Automation Modernization and Replacement (TAMR)
Kyle Ness is the NATCA TAMR Article 114 Representative
Background: The TAMR program deploys and sustains Terminal Automation for the Terminal Radar Approach Controls (TRACONs) and associated Air Traffic Control Towers in the National Airspace System (NAS). The automation platform for the terminal NAS is the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS). Deployment of the STARS system is currently being accomplished in two tech refresh phases – replace the approximately 100 Automated Radar Terminal Systems (ARTS) and tech refresh the STARS G1/G2 systems deployed pre-2007 with G4 and G4 ELITE hardware. STARS is sustained by the TAMR PMO, Terminal Second Level Engineering (TSLE) and the prime vendor, Raytheon. Sustainment activities include STARS software/hardware requirements, software/hardware development and testing, STARS training, Safety Risk Management, and field support.
Joshua Control Facility Initial Operating Capacity (IOC) is scheduled to transition from REHOST to STARS G4 on February 27, 2021. Controller training is ongoing and local adaptation is nearly complete. Corpus Christi (CRP), Laredo (LRD) and Norfolk (ORF) IOCs remain TBD due to travel restrictions. An IOC “path forward” teleconference for Norfolk was conducted January 13 to discuss pre-IOC issues such as equipment staging and training.
TAMR NATCA SMEs attended S6.R9 Operational Testing and Evaluation (OT&E) at the FAA Technical Center January 11-15 for the S6.R9 software build. This test was an interim test before a “run-for-record” early summer.
A software defect was discovered when Greenville downtown tower (GMU) reported that a Conflict Alert had occurred between two tracks but the aural alarm did not sound in the tower. Greenville/Spartanburg (GSP) is adapted to force aural alerts to the tower even though the data block is “owned” by the TRACON. Analysis of the data determined a very unique set of events and a software bug were the cause of the missed aural alarm. This bug will be fixed in the R7a and R8a build. The FAA takes delivery of the builds this spring and the Software Planning Board met January 13 to plan testing and deployment of R7a/8a. Rollout of the build will prioritize sites with forced alarm adaptation.
The TAMR Program Office held an Operating System Working Group Meeting January 14 to continue planning the transition to the Linux Operating System when STARS upgrades to the S8.R1 build. The OS build was delivered to the FAA in December. Development of the new OS has been delayed by COVID and deployment will also be delayed since the builds required to be deployed prior to the OS have been held up by inactivity at the Tech Center. Maintaining a schedule is important since the software build that comes after the OS has important content for controllers.
TAMR Standardization is a series of equipment replacements and upgrades required for future STARS capabilities and system enhancements (fiber cable, routers, new tower monitors, etc.). Tower kits for the standardization sites have been delivered to the STARS Material Center which includes a new Tower Display Monitor (TDM). The new TDM is functionally similar to the existing TDM and is digital capable.