By Chinedu Eze
The Nigeria Air Force has been called upon to key into the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON) for the monitoring of Nigeria’s airspace as the equipment which was built by the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) covers the whole of the country.
This will kick off a new synergy between civil and military aviation in order to enforce the security of the country and to benefit from the cross use of facilities and equipment.
The call was made by Group Captain John Obakpolor (rtd) during a meeting organised by the agency on Tuesday to intimate pilots and other stakeholders on the service provision capability of the agency and also hear from the end users, especially pilots on areas of shortcomings so as to improve on its services.
Group Captain Obakpolor noted that a situation whereby intruders-either civil or military- trespass the country's airspace without being checkmated was not in the economic or defense interest of Nigeria, stressing that this should be stopped forthwith.
He therefore recommended that the military, especially the Nigeria Air force should key into the current radar system of NAMA since the Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria project commissioned in 2010 by the President and has since been deployed to operation was capable of tracking any aircraft within the country's airspace and neighbouring countries.
With this development, Group Captain Obakpolor said if the Nigeria Air Force utilises the system it would stem any intrusion into the country's airspace and it would be possible to not only track the plane at high altitude but also use ''use our jet fighters to intercept such aircraft; but right now, we lack such capability and that Air Force should make use of NAMA radar system by keying into it''.
He also commended the Management of NAMA for the completion of the TRACON project and the high level of its present service provision as against what used to obtain some years back and urged airlines to assist the agency by paying their bills promptly so as to sustain NAMA’s current service provision level and also improve on it.
Earlier, the Managing Director of NAMA, Nnamdi Udoh, informed pilots and other stake holders present of the travails of the agency prior to the completion of the TRACON and after with several insinuations about its workability, but today, he said he was proud with the functionality of the radar system and the positive feed backs received from pilots who navigate through the country's airspace.
This positive development, he remarked could not have been possible without the support and dedication to duty of the entire staff of the agency and that at present NAMA was in the process of completing the installation of the total radio coverage of the country.
Udoh also remarked that the functionality of TRACON has tremendously increased the revenue generation drive of the agency as it could easily identify aircraft over-flying the country' airspace and promptly bill them, adding the agency anticipate increase in its revenue from the current level of about N12 billion in a year to N18 billion by next year.
All pilots present at the forum commended the management of the NAMA for ensuring safe navigation as against what they used to experience years back and implored the agency to sustain the current safety level.