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NAMA Has Full Radar Coverage of Nigeria, NCAA Asserts

The NCAA has reassured the public that all measures are in place for safe air navigation across Nigeria’s airspace.

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has asserted that the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria (TRACON).

In a statement signed by its management, NCAA explained that two aircraft strayed into restricted areas recently because of adverse weather, but added that it can confirm that NAMA had complete radar footage of the two violations with full details of the identities of the aircraft and operators involved.

This was only made possible due to functional Primary and Secondary Surveillance Radars in Abuja, adding that similar installations are in Lagos, Kano and Port-Harcourt.

“In furtherance to this, NCAA investigated two recent cases of violation of the prohibited flights zones – DNP4 – in Abuja and established that both violations consisted of controlled flights in a controlled airspace, but strayed into restricted airspace as a result of adverse weather,” NCAA said.

“The Authority in keeping with its regulatory responsibilities issued an All-Operators Letter (AOL DGCA/021/24) wherein the term ‘unknown aircraft’ was used as reported to NCAA which is the normal security terminology. However, as explained above, investigations revealed NAMA had complete footages and details of the aircraft that entered the prohibited flight zone.

“For purposes of clarity, the Primary Surveillance Radar alone only identifies aircraft as moving targets without aircraft identity. The Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar (MSSR), on the other hand captures the identity of any in Nigeria’s airspace.

“The secondary radar forms a major component of the TRACON, and it is the equipment that allows for identification of any aircraft equipped with ATC Mode ‘S’ transponder.,” NCAA said.

It also noted that the requirement for all aircraft flying in controlled airspace must have serviceable ATC transponders, which is international standards requirement

NCAA said Nigeria ensures strict adherence to that requirement, which derived from Annex 6 of the Convention on International Aviation, documented in Part 7 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations.

It also said that switching of their transponders while in flight makes it a violation of the regulations, and indeed a security breach, adding that any aircraft that puts its system off while flying in controlled airspace would attract appropriate sanctions in accordance with NCAA’s enforcement procedures, including possible criminal referral.

“As regards the improvement of Nigeria’s aviation infrastructure, Nigeria’s Radar coverage is being backed up with five additional MSSR stations at Obubbra, Ilorin, Talata Mafara, Maiduguri and Numan to augment the four existing Radar centers to achieve total coverage of the country.

“This is also in line with the Honourable Minister’s five-point agenda on infrastructure and fully supported by NCAA’s oversight in ensuring installed infrastructure continually delivers the desired output,” the Authority said.

It also said: “It is worth noting that such an upgrade is normal global practice when dealing with any electronics system. These systems must be updated from time to time since technology is not static, and the Authority through its continuous oversight has not found NAMA wanting in this regard.

“Thus, NAMA in coordination with the Federal Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development is working on system upgrade of the Communication, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) infrastructure.”

NCAA also assured the flying public that there was no cause for alarm as everything necessary was being undertaken to ensure safe and secure air navigation in Nigeria’s airspace.

On the issue of welfare of Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs), NCAA said it recently intervened in a face-off between ATCOs and NAMA on the need for improved remuneration and working conditions for ATCOs.

“Expectedly, in aligning with the Honourable Minister’s five-point agenda on capacity development, NCAA is extending this drive to other aviation professionals,” the regulatory agency said.

Chinedu Ezs, Chioma Kalu

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