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NAMA to spend N36bn on TRACON, tower upgrade, $12.9m on multi-lateration

NAMA to train airspace managers on global air navigation plan

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has disclosed plans to upgrade its facilities across the nation, saying it will spend N23 billion on the upgrade of Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON), 12 years after it was commissioned.

Matthew Pwajok, managing director of NAMA, disclosed this during a meeting with aviation journalists in Lagos on Friday.

Pwajok said the safe tower upgrade, which is ongoing, will cost the agency N13 billion, adding that both facilities’ upgrades will cost N36 billion.

He said the TRACON upgrade has begun and will involve the software and hardware upgrade and provision of other amenities.

According to him, out of the N23 billion, N17 billion will be spent on system upgrades which include the Radar while N5 billion will be spent on upgrading the Very Small Appetite Terminal (VSAT).

The VSAT will provide a digital exchange of information at a high speed and a voice exchange of information using ground radius and air-ground communication between air traffic controllers and pilots.

VSAT is a two-way satellite ground station with dish antennae that is smaller than 3.8 meters.

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“The upgrade of TRACON is ongoing. Since 2010, we have not been able to upgrade to top Sky; the upgrade is expected to improve the functionality and efficiency of the system.

“It will become automated and able to issue information electronically thereby reducing the workload and pressure on Air traffic controllers (ATCos) and pilots.

The upgrade will cover the entire nation, and the nine locations of TRACON. This is all to improve the safety, efficiency and capacity of the airspace”, he said.

He said there was a need to close all identified safety gaps before the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO/ audit by the first quarter of 2023.

Pwajok disclosed further that the Multilateration upgrade will cost the agency $12.9million, adding that the agency has incorporated the unmanned system that can detect drones into the project.

He added that this also provides for the capturing of low-level flying helicopters in the Gulf of Guinea and especially, as their activities increased in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.