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The ever-increasing volume of aircraft operations of all types (commercial, private, and military) is taxing present terminal and en route control systems and equipmentÂ¿and air-traffic controllersÂ¿to the outer limits of their respective handling capacities and endurance. Thus the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been obliged to formulate detailed plans to meet the challenge of phenomenal aviation growth forecast for the decade of the '70s, and beyond. For the initial ten-year time slot, the FAA has proposed many system improvements that could be provided by annual appropriations of $250 million for facilities and equipment, and $60 million for R&D. For example, en route and air-terminal automation expanded radar service and coverage, increased federal assistance to airports, and improved navigation and landing aids are some elements now in the planning stage to ensure greater airborne safety, to increase traffic-handling capabilities, and to promote more efficient service for the air passenger. This first installment deals with the ground-control systems that will eventually form an integrated and automated network in the 48 contiguous states of the U.S.