Upgrade of 15-year-old radar set to enhance safety at Sydney Airport

Airservices has commissioned an upgraded $6 million terminal area radar at Australias busiest airport.
Located airside at Sydney Airport, the upgrade is part of Airservices national $80 million Mode S Terminal Area Radar (AMSTAR) project and will significantly enhance the ability of air traffic controllers to monitor aircraft in all weather conditions.
 
Airservices General Manager Technology and Asset Services, Alastair Hodgson, said that the radar will provide improved surveillance of air traffic up to 256 nautical miles (474km) around the city.
 
Mode S technology delivers significant benefits to Airservices and the aviation industry, including higher rates of operational availability, the quality and quantity of the data received, and less frequent maintenance requirements, Mr Hodgson said.
 
The new equipment has an improved solid state primary radar with a 60nm range. It also incorporates a Mode S (select) capable Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar with a range of up to 256nm.
 
This technology allows selective interrogation of individual aircraft and offers the ability to receive Down-linked Aircraft Parameter (DAP) data. It also limits interference in the 1030/1090MHz range of the radio frequency spectrum.
 
The upgraded radar will improve safety and ensure that extended and uncontrolled outages are kept to a minimum. The installation of a radome as part of the works will protect the equipment as well as ensuring that it doesnt shut down during high winds and cause delays for airport operations, Mr Hodgson said.
 
Work to replace the existing 15-year-old radar began following the commissioning in November 2010 of a temporary radar facility located at Cecil Park in Sydneys west.
 
By using a temporary radar facility during these critical works, we were able to maintain high safety levels for aircraft while replacing key surveillance technology in our busiest airport, Mr Hodgson said.
 
The upgrade of a terminal area in Sydney follows similar upgrades at Gold Coast, Melbourne and Darwin airports. A new radar at Adelaide Airport is due to be commissioned by Airservices next month, while the temporary radar currently located in Cecil Park will be dismantled and moved to Cairns to assist with upgrade works there.
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