12:00 AM, July 30, 2009
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UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a five-year, £23 million ($38 million ) contract to IBM to manage the UK Air Surveillance Command & Control System (UCCS). The system will monitor up to two million aircraft over UK airspace every year. The system will be used to track thousands of aircraft operating in UK airspace at any moment of the day and will monitor their movements against filed flight plans. Data will be monitored in real-time to target suspicious activity. Using this data, Royal Air Force Aerospace Battle Managers will be able to scramble Tornado or Typhoon fighters based at two UK airbases to intercept any aircraft that enters NATO and national airspace without proper authorisation or is acting suspiciously. Paul Hubbard, IBM Global Business Services, said: “Safety and performance are paramount to Royal Air Force operations and have therefore been a significant factor in this contract award. For example IBM's ability to take data feeds from a variety of interconnected systems and analyse them in real-time has reduced manual intervention by the Aerospace Battle Managers by 75%”. The deal covers the support for all hardware, software, training, helpdesk and onsite assistance and IBM will also be in charge of upgrading the system when required. Future upgrades include increasing the types of data feeds taken from commercial air traffic control centres and improvements in the information that is gathered from aircraft in-flight. Air Commodore Mark Wordley, Air Officer Battlespace Management, HQ Air Command, said: “Continued support and development of the UCCS system remains vital to the defence of the UK Homeland. Furthermore the UCCS system supports key training activities essential for the preparation of Joint Forces deploying to operational theatres.”
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