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 RICHMOND, British Columbia, Aug. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- A new approach toward the development of complex, large-scale computer-based systems has paved the way for the start of Canada's new air traffic control system in 1996, according to an executive of Hughes Aircraft of Canada Ltd.
 "We have passed the initial major engineering reviews with no surprises, and we're well on our way to meeting the 1996 scheduled start of all operations of the Canadian Automated Air Traffic System," said Nancy Price, vice president of Hughes Canada's Systems Division and the company's manager of the program that is also called CAATS.
 Hughes Canada is building a news traffic control system for Canada under a $400 million contract awarded in 1989. CAATS will provide real- time data processing, display and transfer of flight data to all major air traffic control facilities throughout the nation. Hughes will also provide modern common controller workstations which will allow air traffic controllers to function more effectively and efficiently.
 "One of the reasons we are doing so well is our use of a new design process, called the iterative development methodology, which entails in- process reviews of work as it is being carried out," said Price. "This allows us to unmask and deal with problems on a daily ongoing basis instead of waiting for periodic reviews and being forced to deal with all of the problems at one time, as with the standard waterfall process methodology.
 "This process allows for more participation between the contractor team and our Transport Canada customer. We expect to have several Transport Canada staff members on site in our contract team offices during the building of the CAATS program."
 In late 1992, Hughes Canada passed the software specification review, the first point for affecting the transition where Hughes Canada and Transport Canada had to establish that all the requirements were accurately and comprehensively captured.
 New milestones associated with the iterative methodology process call for seven development progress reviews held at six-month intervals. The first of the new milestones was passed in June 1993.
 The actual start of initial operations will begin in some facilities in late 1995. Overall, CAATS will modernize computers, software and workstations at seven area control facilities, three support facilities, 60 towers and two remote terminal control units.
 "This new process was first promoted by the U.S. Department of Defense to help it deal with the development of large complex computer- based systems," said Price. "With more than 1 million lines of software code required for CAATS, I believe we are the first to use it in a system of this complexity.
 "Because of the outstanding success of the first formal review under the iterative methodology, called Development Progress Review-1, we are confident the transition has been successfully completed. I strongly believe the risk attendant on the completion of the CAATS program has been minimized."
 The change to the new development process methodology was accomplished in close cooperation with Transport Canada.
 "This new process is really a proactive form of risk mitigation because you solve the problems before they become monumental roadblocks," said Price. "The process works on the principle of design a little, code a little and test a lot.
 "You incrementally start building up the system from there. To facilitate this, we have incorporated some power tools such as Rational, an ada software development environment, which allows you to select of the target hardware, including mainframe computers, later in the program, thus ensuring you are getting the most up-to-date hardware."
 The Hughes-Transport Canada team is using other prototyping tools, including Universal Network Architecture Service, which piggybacks on Rational and the hardware; a human interface prototyping tool called Sammi which allows for the development of the look and feel on the controller screen independent of the operating software you will use because you can use surrogate software during the development stages.
 "With these powerful tools, we have achieved the highest degree of parallel development, and we will bring these controller functions together for the first time with the operational software during the Development Process Review-4 scheduled for November 1994," said Price. "All the core functions of Canada's new air traffic control system will be demonstrated at that time."
 Companies assisting Hughes Canada's Systems Division on CAATS include MacDonald Dettwiler of Richmond, Digital Equipment of Canada of Kanata, Ontario, Prior Data Sciences of Kanata, ADGA Systems International of Ottawa, Rational of Santa Clara, Calif., and GTE Government Systems of Needham, Mass. Hughes is a unit of GM Hughes Electronics.
 -0- 8/4/93
 /CONTACT: Crystal Comley of Hughes Aircraft, 604-279-5653/

CO: Hughes Aircraft of Canada Ltd.; Transport Canada ST: British Columbia IN: ARO CPR SU: PDT

LM-LS -- LA012 -- 9184 08/04/93 08:07 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 4, 1993

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