The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) yesterday completed the installation of two Jotron high-powered Very High Frequency (VHF) long-range radios to enhance communication between airlines and the control tower.
Installed in each of Lagos West and Lagos East Area Control Centres (ACCs), the equipment are in line with NAMA’s pledge to address Remote Control Air to Ground (RCAG) communication challenges in the nation’s airspace.
The installation, which began a few weeks ago culminated in the successful Site Acceptance Test (SAT) carried out by NAMA engineers in conjunction with their counterparts from Jotron AS, Norway.
NAMA Managing Director, Captain Fola Akinkuotu, yesterday said, in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulations, it was incumbent on Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) like NAMA to facilitate safe airways, safe separations and also provide critical fall-back plans for airspace users and that is the essence of this project.
Akinkuotu described the stand-alone radios as a robust solution for emergency or backup coverage in unexpected circumstances like when there are technical failures or during routine maintenance of the main RCAG system.
“Test transmission has been conducted on the system by air traffic control officers with aircraft flying at different flight levels just as contacts have been established for up to 220 nautical miles at different flying levels of the upper airspace and this conforms with the VHF propagation predictions submitted for scrutiny during the design phase of the project” he stated.
Akinkuotu added that the high-powered VHF radios are designed to provide cover for Lagos en-route East, using 127.3MHZ and Lagos en-route West, using 120.9MHZ.
Similarly, the radios would provide VHF backup for Kano en-route-East (124.1MHZ) and Kano en-route West (128.5MHZ).
Project manager, Jotron AS, Roger Svendsen said the back-up communication system has proven to be highly reliable and efficient in African countries like Ghana, South Africa, Kenya and Namibia as well as in Europe and South America where it has been installed, stressing that the clarity of the radios has remained “unmatched worldwide.”