Preparatory to its full deployment in a few days time, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has announced that it has successfully conducted the site acceptance test for its newly installed surface movement radar and ground control systems in Abuja and Lagos airports to enable air traffic controllers to monitor aircraft and vehicular movement during low visibility or night time. Speaking while conducting the site acceptance test of the radar equipment in Abuja recently, the former acting Managing Director of NAMA, Matthew Lawrence Pwajok, stated that in furtherance to its quest to enhance the safety and efficiency of flight operations in Nigeria, the agency had embarked on the procurement of the surface movement radar due to its capability for detection, monitoring, and control of aircraft and vehicles on the ground for the purpose of preventing collision between aircraft, and between aircraft and vehicles as well as between aircraft and obstacles on the ground (runway, taxiway, and apron).
According to Pwajok, “The surface movement radar, which is a primary radar, will 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 clearly 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.”