ATM safety in Namibia

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New surveillance for entire country

Helios is supporting the Namibian Directorate of Civil Aviation (NDCA), working with the prime contractor Austro Control GmbH, in assessing the safety of a new surveillance system for the Namibian Flight Information Region. The system is the first of its kind in the world for country-wide air traffic services use, based on Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) and radar.

The work builds on Helios' experience in safety aspects of WAM systems, for EUROCONTROL, NATS UK, Austro Control and ATNS South Africa. Namibia is moving from a procedural control environment to a full air traffic control surveillance service. Helios is working with long-term partners Austro Control in deriving safety requirements for the system and operations, and supporting NDCA in implementing the new systems and procedures.

Of particular interest for this safety support is the distributed nature of the WAM system, with 37 receivers and 25 interrogators deployed across Namibian terrain. The local environment is also challenging in terms of weather, desert and animal damage. Together, these factors lead to issues with remote site access, communications, power and maintenance. The safety assessment must provide evidence that the deployed system will meet the controllers' need for accurate and reliable surveillance according to the ICAO Target Level of Safety standard. Although the work builds on ICAO and European best practice, Helios and Austro Control's experience with surveillance worldwide means a pragmatic approach has been used, identifying operational and technical mitigations which reflect the unique environment of Namibia.

Helios Project Director Ben Stanley says: "The distributed nature of WAM brings unique challenges to the safety case, including the need for excellent service agreements with local telecommunications providers. The focus of our work has not only been on the failure situations, but also in ensuring that the deployed surveillance system will perform adequately for separation services when working without failure."

For more information contact Ben Stanley.

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