NAMA deploys surface radar, ground control systems at Lagos, Abuja airports
Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has conducted a successful site acceptance test for its newly installed surface movement radar and ground control systems in Abuja and Lagos airports.
The new infrastructure will enable air traffic controllers to effectively monitor aircraft and vehicular movements in low visibility or night time.
Speaking at the site acceptance test at Abuja recently, the former Acting Managing Director of NAMA, Matthew Lawrence Pwajok, said the agency embarked on procurement of the surface movement radar to enhance safety, especially due to its capability for detection, monitoring, and control of aircraft and vehicles on the ground.
By extension, the facility will help to avert collisions of airplanes, and between aircraft and vehicles, as well as between aircraft and obstacles on the runway, taxiway, and apron.
Pwajok said: “The surface movement radar, which is a primary radar, would provide surveillance for aircraft and vehicles on the ground for the air traffic controller, rather than physically seeing or looking out on the runway, the apron, taxiway or parking gate.
“Presently, what obtains is that the ground control is manually done. Air traffic controllers at the tower look outside to see where the aircraft is, to separate it, clear it for takeoff, and landing, and direct it to taxi to the parking gate.
“But with surface movement radar, guidance on the ground is automated as every surface movement is displayed clearly on the console. So, the air traffic controller can see the aircraft and guide it while taxiing on the ground from the departure gate to the runway for takeoff, and once it takes off, he hands it over to the approach control.
“The surface movement radar can be used when aircraft land in poor weather conditions. In most cases, the airport is shut down because pilots can’t see and can’t taxi, so they would have to wait until there is weather improvement.
“But with the surface movement radar, we can guide aircraft on landing, to the parking gate and, on departure, we can guide them from the parking gate to the runway for takeoff as everything is displayed on the console. The same way the radar sees aircraft in the air, this one will see aircraft and vehicles as they are moving on the ground,” he said.
Pwajok added that surface movement radar would boost Category III Instrument Landing Systems operations because, with CAT III, aircraft can land at zero visibility, while the surface movement radar would enable the controllers, even at zero visibility, to separate and control aircraft to the gate as well as those taxiing from the gate to takeoff very efficiently.