Technical glitches emerged during last month's test of the FAA's $2.1 billion computer upgrade for air traffic controllers, and some observers now believe full implementation will not occur before the Dec. 31 deadline. Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co. are updating the ATC system's computer "backbone," nearly doubling the number of aircraft that can be tracked at one time. The Transportation Department's inspector general has called the upgrade "a linchpin" to satellite-based navigation and other aspects of the NextGen system. The FAA describes the recent problems as "hiccups" and says no major delays are expected.
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