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New A-SMGCS ground radar operational from 31st July 2017

ANA has implemented the latest ground radar technology A-SMGCS in order to continue to improve operational safety in the light of future challenges with regard to traffic growth, meteorological conditions (fog) at Findel Airport and the traffic mix of heavy, medium and light aircraft.

The now operational A-SMGCS (Advanced Surface Movement Guidance and Control System) is a high technology modular system supporting the Tower Controllers in their task to provide a safe and efficient ground control by increasing the situational awareness in all meteorological conditions. A precise localization and identification of aircraft and vehicles on the runway, taxiways and apron areas provides a detailed overview about the actual traffic situation on the ground.

The system is mainly composed of

  • two primary radars (SMRs, Surface Movement Radars), built on a 30 m high tower each (picture),
  • a multilateration system (metric and angular measurement) composed of 22 units,
  • interfaces to external data bases (i.e. Aerodrome Operational Data Base, AODB, Flight Data Processing System, FDP),
  • and 4 working positions (screens) in the ATC Tower

The primary radars and the multilateration provide the position and identification of aircraft and vehicles operating on the runway, taxiways and apron areas. For identification the target has to be cooperative and therefore be equipped with a suitable transponder.

The primary radar is a “classical” radar which determines the position of a target by reflections, considering both the signal running time and the position of the radar antenna. With multilateration the running time of signals from a target, containing the target ID, is used to calculate a target’s position. Therefore the target has to be equipped with a transponder.

The ID and the position of a target, combined with additional information from particular data bases (i.e., AODB, FDP), provide the controllers access to all required information on the screen.

Next to come is the use of this information in order to trigger automatic warnings and alarms to support the controllers even more and to avoid critical situations (i.e. runway incursions).

ANAs Controllers (ATC) and Technical staff (CNS) worked closely with the supplier to ensure that the system meets the high expectations and most demanding requirements of ANA. The latest investment in operational safety on Findel airport amounts to about 5 Mio EUR over the next 5 years.