Kazaeronavigatsiya Invests in Flight Safety
Sergei Kulnazarov, General Director of Kazaeronavigatsiya National Public Company
The rationale for establishing an air navigation service is to continually improve flight safety. It is common knowledge that this task cannot be resolved effectively without automated air traffic control systems (AATCS). These systems automatically calculate the possibility of conflicts, forecast failures based on data analysis, and comprise other options that used to be unavailable to dispatchers. Built on advanced information technologies, AATCS are very reliable and can be updated. This ensures the continuous increase in flight safety.
A Centre for Automated Air Traffic Control Systems was inaugurated in Astana in early September 2005. This event signalled a new phase in creating the national AATCS: this is the country’s first centre ensuring air traffic control in the integrated air traffic servicing (ATS) area and in the terminal area.
The centre’s building was constructed using proceeds from a Japanese government loan, granted under a programme to reconstruct the Astana airport. Kazaeronavigatsiya funded the air navigation equipment manufactured by Lockheed Martin, Rohde & Schwarz, Siemens, and Northrop Grumman DENRO Systems.
Prior to the inauguration, intermediate centres were commissioned in Almaty and Aktobe, terminal centres opened in Almaty and Astana, and a complex of automation equipment for air traffic control in Shymkent and dozens of automated flight dispatcher’s workstations elsewhere were also opened. As a result, Kazaeronavigatsiya has not one dispatcher workstation lacking automation equipment for air traffic control.
In the process of developing the system, we found out that the centre, while technologically crowning the system, is merely the tip of the iceberg: its operation is ensured by the operation of several subsystems that also require balanced development. A radar observation subsystem is one of the cornerstones. The necessity for quality radar coverage of the zone for which the AATCS centre is responsible shapes the very principle of an automated system’s operation, as it activates an alarm should an aircraft deviate from the set routes. A network of secondary radars controls an aircraft’s actual location, and creating this network has been our objective for the past decade. Since 1995, we have installed twenty secondary radars and are assembling another two. These measures enable complete coverage of air routes at a flight level above 8,000 metres.
In addition to its own air traffic control zones and terminal area, the new centre in Astana integrates Kostanai and Zhezkazgan’s flight information regions. In a couple of months, Semipalatinsk’s air traffic control region will also be covered.
Previously, dispatcher workstations received information from their own radar sites, using nine radar complexes, including four primary radars. Although their combined field ensured coverage, the integrity was lost if any radar failed. As a result, non-radar zones appeared, which required procedural air traffic control, thus considerably complicating operations. Establishing the centre has permitted the use of a multi-radar information processing mode: the radar information on a dispatcher’s monitor is summarised information from several adjacent radars, and the failure of any one radar does not disrupt the radar image of the air environment, ensuring the functional redundancy of radar sites. Today, sixteen radars are being integrated (only five of them are primary radars). At the next stage, at least three radars will be integrated into the system, further improving the quality of the radar field.
However, the dense radar network alone cannot guarantee an effective AATCS. There was a need to establish information exchange between an integrated radar site and a regional centre. This was troublesome due to the lack of quality communication links. The solution was to build a corporate telecom network. The construction began in the west of Kazakhstan where public telecommunication is least available. The project was successful and the network’s performance exceeded expectations. Three fully redundant digital sites in Almaty, Astana, and Aktobe connected by leased ground digital and satellite links formed the network’s basis. Each of the sites is connected by similar links with its baseline stations, ensuring that the network is reliable and fail-safe. At the second stage, regional sub-networks were built in Central Kazakhstan, completing the digital communications subsystem.
The complexity of our corporate communications network is demonstrated by the fact that it comprises more than twenty satellite stations used for various purposes. Twelve of these stations ensure communications channels in the Astana centre’s zone of responsibility. The digital network has been laid just in time, helping to build and commission a new centre extremely quickly.
The digital network has become a basis for other sub-networks of aeronautical communications. For instance, VHF aeronautical communication is being reconstructed. The air traffic control centres in Almaty and Astana are equipped with new transceivers, produced by Rohde & Schwarz. In addition to the transceivers, the subsystem includes up-to-date antennae, moving redundancy systems, and a remote control, monitoring and management system. The third stage of the programme is currently underway. It envisages reconstructing these means of communication in thirteen subsidiaries of Kazaeronavigatsiya. All radio aids of the ground-to-air network (over 200 units) are to be replaced by the end of 2006.
The sub-network of dispatcher ground-to-ground voice communications is also being reorganised. In addition to DENRO digital dispatcher boards, which were installed in Almaty, Astana and Aktobe, a similar board has been purchased for the newly established centre in Astana. Presently, negotiations are being conducted regarding the purchase of such boards for the air traffic control centres in Shymkent and Aktobe. Moreover, dispatcher boards will begin to be installed in the rest of our subsidiaries in 2006. The resulting dispatch will have fundamentally new flexibility and reconfiguration options, thus contributing to the greater reliability and availability of the key subsystem, i.e. the subsystem of aeronautical communications. Presently, programmes for reconstructing other networks – Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network (AFTN), HF aeronautical radio communications network, telephone communications and so on – are in the pipeline.
The powerful infrastructural platform has defined the directions and pace of the automated system’s deployment. The functionality of the platform helps to accelerate the commissioning of these very comprehensive complexes. Thus, only a year passed between signing the contract for supplying the AATCS centre in Astana and actually commissioning it. Usually, projects of this nature take at least three years. The complex of automation equipment for air traffic control in Shymkent has been undergoing upgrades since April 2005. This project, which provides for installing a full-scale centre of AATCS, including both a regional centre and a terminal area, is to be completed by the end of 2005.
It should be stressed once again that the new AATCS centre in Astana inaugurated a new phase in upgrading the nation’s aeronautical system. A full-scale, homogenous AATCS is on the agenda. This system will combine means of traffic control in the air and those of airport control units. We have every reason to believe that this programme will be completed as soon as possible and will ensure the international standard of flight safety in Kazakhstani skies.
Kazaeronavigatsiya National Public Company was established in 1995 to provide air navigation services to flights in the air space and airports of Kazakhstan. Since then, a wide network of over 60,000-km of international air routes has been created. The company’s customers include more than 100 leading airlines. Presently, Kazaeronavigatsiya has up-to-date automated air traffic control centres in Astana, Almaty and Aktobe.
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