Marking the entry of next-generation technology in the Nepal Civil Aviation sector, an advanced radar system has been recently built at Bhatte Danda of Lalitpur district to monitor Nepal’s Air Traffic Control (ATC).
This system called Mode S Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar (MSSR) stands far beyond the primary and secondary surveillance radar at the Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), in terms of efficiency and advancement.
With this system in place, now Nepal’s ATC department can track any aircraft flying in Nepal’s air zone, the entire Himalayan region and parts of Indian airspace, along with safety and efficiency in areas that lacked radar coverage so far.
“The MSSR coverage will be extended to the entire eastern, southern and Himalaya regions, and up to Surkhet (250 nautical miles or 463 km) in the west,” says Sanjiv Singh Kathayat, Chief of the Project.
Following an inspection by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Bombardier Challenger 600 Jet on November 20, 2017, the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) is planning to resume commercial operation of the new radar system on February 1, 2018.
The existing surveillance system at TIA was built in 1997 with the Japanese assistance, following two major crashes in 1992 that raised the need for air surveillance systems.
“As TIA is situated in a valley surrounded by hills, the coverage of the existing radar does not extend beyond 50 nautical miles (90 km),” says Kathayat.
Despite Nepal’s dramatic growth in domestic and international air traffic, greater efficiency and accuracy remain a challenge for the country’s ATC officials.
Kathayat was hopeful that the new next-generation RADAR system would provide increased efficiency and enhanced surveillance. Allowing the visibility of almost all air routes across Nepal, the new radar system will make the ATC’s job easier, he adds.
According to Kathayat, radar surveillance of the new system will grow five-fold after it is resumed for commercial operations on February 1, 2018.
He further informed that more than 40 air traffic controllers have been trained on operating the new radar system, which also address the key problem of congestion at airports.
FAA’s detailed report is expected in another 15 days and the total process of completion would take 57 days, Kathayat informed.