NAMA set to implement new surveillance system in the Gulf of Guinea

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In preparation for the implementation of the Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) monitoring system in the Gulf of Guinea, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) conducted a two-day sensitization workshop with stakeholders in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The workshop which attracted participants such as Airline Operators, Oil Exploration Companies, Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, NAMA Engineers and Air Traffic Controllers along with other aviation agencies aimed to sensitize key stakeholders and regulators on the imperative of the project as well as the economic, safety, operational and security benefits derived from its deployment and obtaining their buy-in and cooperation.

The workshop also aimed to brainstorm and interact with the service provider, service users and key stakeholders to come up with an appropriate architecture for the airspace and also to develop a system that would be efficient, safe and economical for all parties. .

In his remarks to the forum, NAMA Acting Director General Matthew Lawrence Pwajok said the multilateration project dates back to 2013 when a contract was awarded to assess traffic volume, complexity and airspace architecture in the Niger Delta, in view of the critical role of oil exploration in Nigeria and the crucial role of helicopter operations in support of oil exploration activities.

He said the volume of helicopter operations in the Niger Delta has increased significantly in a very limited block of airspace, given that helicopter operations take place at very low altitudes.

According to Pwajok, the increased volume of flight operations, as well as the complexity of the airspace, necessitated the search for a dedicated communication, navigation and surveillance system for the safe, effective and efficient management of aircraft air traffic. low altitude helicopter operations in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria in support of oil exploration activities.

“The density of their operations, the increasing number of helipads, helipads, support services and landing platforms in the area have become very critical. The helicopters were criss-crossing and control in the area had been procedural and under visual flight rules (VFR).

The assessment team’s recommendation was that the traffic volume was beyond visual flight rules flight and also beyond procedural control. What we currently have can no longer support the increase in air operations or guarantee the efficiency, safety and security of air operations in the Niger Delta region, therefore, the provision of an automated monitoring system, surveillance and control of air operations via multilateration has become imperative,” he said. said.

He expressed his gratitude to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) for providing the agency with the location of the Multilateration Center in Port Harcourt to control and coordinate surveillance of the entire area, pointing out that the reconstruction of the MLAT center in Port Harcourt had been completed. , power and cooling systems already installed while the installation of transmitters and receivers is underway in 29 sites to cover the entire Niger Delta area.

Pwajok revealed that ahead of its commissioning by the end of this year or early next year, critical project milestones such as factory acceptance test and factory training for engineers air traffic and air traffic controllers had already been carried out in Czechoslovakia, adding that equipment has been shipped to the country while installations are underway.

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