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Industry and Technology

The FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center is the nation’s leading laboratory complex for the research, development, test and evaluation of air transportation systems. Its world-class laboratories and top-notch

engineering expertise put the Technical Center at the forefront of the FAA’s challenge to modernize the U.S. air transportation system. It is the primary facility for conducting the research, engineering and integration activities required to support and advance the nation’s Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen.

The Center’s work focuses on air traffic management, communications, navigation, airports and aircraft safety. At any one time, about 150 projects are underway. Much work is performed through contracts with private industry; research is also conducted by academic institutions through aviation research grants.

About 1,500 federal employees work at the Technical Center, with another 1,500 contractor employees and 1,000 non-FAA tenants based on site.

Covering more than 5,000 acres, the Center contains laboratories, test and support facilities, the Atlantic City International Airport and a non-commercial aircraft hangar. Some unique Center laboratories include: air traffic control and simulation facilities, a human factors laboratory, a fleet of specially instrumented in-flight testing aircraft, the world’s largest full-scale aviation fire test facility, a chemistry laboratory for analyzing the toxicity of materials involved in a fire, radar test laboratories, a structural panel test facility, the National Airport Pavement Test Facility and more.

Key aviation advancements have resulted from the work conducted at the Technical Center in weather, radars, human factors, airport capacity, tower siting, reduced vertical separation minima, aircraft fire safety, airport visual guidance and runway safety, aging aircraft and many other areas.

The Technical Center is a focal point for Homeland Security activities, too. The Center is the home of the Federal Air Marshal Service’s training program and the Transportation Security Laboratory, the test and evaluation site for new, advanced airport security technology. The U.S. Coast Guard Group Air Station Atlantic City and the New Jersey Air National Guard 177th Fighter Wing also base their operations at the Technical Center.

The Technical Center is a major presence in South Jersey and a substantial contributor to the region’s economy. Its annual payroll is $129.6 million, plus an additional $319 million in related construction and other contractual activities. The Center’s contribution to the local economy is estimated at $3.3 billion during the next 10 years.

To learn more about the Technical Center’s work, visit

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