Airservices completes VHF radio network modernisation

Airservices Australia has completed a major upgrade of its Very High Frequency (VHF) radio network to enhance communications between aircraft and air traffic controllers.
The VHF Replacement Project is part of Airservices five year, $900 million capital expenditure program to modernise and enhance Australias aviation infrastructure, systems and equipment.

As part of the project Airservices technicians replaced analogue and relay-based VHF radios with new digital equipment at 39 air traffic control communication sites in Australia including 26 aerodrome control towers.

The project included installing new antennas, lightning protection and earthing associated with the VHF radios.

The new radio equipment is modern, state-of-the-art hardware proven in operation overseas and has greater capability to monitor faults and allow remote fault rectification by technical staff.

Existing VHF radio equipment at control tower sites had reached the end of its operational service life with some equipment having been in place since the 1970s.

General Manager Technology and Asset Services, Alastair Hodgson, said Airservices began rolling out the first of the new radios in April this year with the assistance of several technical staff from partner agency Airways New Zealand.

We received great co-operation from our New Zealand colleagues who assisted us to complete the mammoth VHF radio upgrade in just a couple of months, Mr Hodgson said.

Airservices is working closely with Airways New Zealand to share regional expertise and experience in several areas, including the construction of several new air traffic control rowers.

Mr Hodgson said the new digital radios would enhance the audibility of radio communications and allow Airservices to locate and repair any faults in the radio network faster than the previous system.

Other key features of the new system include digital links between equipment, increased reliability and maintainability, and constant monitoring of equipment, even when not in operational use.

Successful delivery of the project was dependent on the completion of Airservices Telecommunications Infrastructure Network Replacement (TINR) project in July 2010, to provide replacement digital bearers (circuits) enabling VHF radio connections to its major communication centres.
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