A ground-breaking project to modernise and upgrade the VHF radio communication network vital to safe air navigation across Australia has reached a major milestone.
Airservices technicians have now upgraded air-ground-air voice communication equipment at 100 of around 150 sites nationally. The 100th upgraded transmitter is located on Table Mountain, Rockhampton and was introduced to service this month. Airservices is replacing outmoded radios, aerials and network equipment with state-of-the-art hardware as part of an eight year, $46m VHF System Upgrade project. General manager technical and asset services, Alastair Hodgson, said the system provided crucial communication links between air traffic controllers in centres in Brisbane and Melbourne and aircraft travelling across the country. It delivers services to over 180 individual operating positions using around 590 radio transceivers located at more than 150 sites across Australia, many in regional and remote areas, Mr Hodgson said. The system upgrade will enhance reliability and allow remote monitoring and defect rectification by Airservices technical staff. It also introduces additional system redundancy and back-up capability, improving the long-term safety and security of Airservices operations. Ultimately, all VHF services will be transitioned onto digital bearers as part of a separate multi-million dollar upgrade of Airservices own national telecommunications infrastructure, Mr Hodgson said. The VHF System Upgrade Project is due to be completed in mid-2010.