17 African Countries Just Got Better At Managing Their Airspace

By Dana Sanchez Published: March 14, 2016, 4:41 pm
17 African countries just got better at managing their airspaceA U.S. Predator drone can be used for surveillance or to bomb targets. Photo: Rex Features/TheGuardian

Over the past decade, African air traffic has increased exponentially, and many countries are investing in advanced technology to improve and modernize airspace management so they can meet future challenges.

Indra, a Spanish information technology and defense systems company based in Madrid, has been chosen to install an automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) network across 17 countries in Africa and the Indian Ocean, AirportTechnology.com reported.

Automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast is a precise, satellite-based surveillance system that uses GPS technology to determine an aircraft’s location, airspeed and other data, and broadcasts that information to a network of ground stations, according to FAA.gov. The ground stations relay this data to air traffic control displays and to nearby aircraft equipped to receive it. Operators of aircraft equipped with ADS-B can receive weather and traffic position information delivered directly to the cockpit.

Indra is one of the world’s largest suppliers of air traffic control systems, Reuters reported in 2009. Indra claimed that a third of the world’s air traffic is managed by systems it developed.

Based in Dakar, Senegal, the Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) chose Indra to monitor airspace and install ADS-B surveillance stations in 17 African regions including the following Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

The new network will allow air traffic controllers with the Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar to spot arriving aircraft or aircraft en route, according to to AirportTechnology.com. The company will also implement central automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast servers and data-merging facilities for improved visualization at the 17 ASECNA centers.

As part of the deal, Indra will provide technician training and deploy automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast systems at airports and remote stations.

Indra developed its air surveillance systems based on the demands of the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) program, a collaborative project to completely overhaul European airspace and its air traffic management. The plan is for the project to be fully deployed by 2020, according to the European Commission.

Indra recently won aircraft-related contracts South Korea, China and Papua New Guinea.

Automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast is a cornerstone of next-generation air traffic modernization, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has mandated that aircraft operating in airspace that now requires a Mode C transponder must be equipped with ADS-B by 2020, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

With one of the busiest airspaces in the continent, South Africa has also moved to improve airspace management, commissioning Thales to deploy multiple surveillance technologies, according to BizCommunity.





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