KATHMANDU – Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) has started the operation of Mode S Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar (MSSR), which was installed at Bhattedanda of Lalitpur 14 months ago.
The radar is going to be operated full-fledged from February 1, according to Sanjeev Singh Kathayat, project director of the new radar surveillance system.
The new radar surveillance system will cover the speed, height and distance of aircrafts up to Surkhet in the mid-western region and the entire eastern region, he said, adding that the new radar system will not cover the high Himalayan region. The latest generation radar system – that has precise identification capabilities as well as the capacity of selective interrogation – gives an accurate position of the aircraft as well as can identify almost 17 million aircraft. The current radar system has the capacity to identify only 4,096 aircraft. CAAN, with the financial and technical assistance of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has installed En-route Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar (E-MSSR) at Bhattedanda of Lalitpur and Terminal Monopulse Secondary Surveillance Radar (T-MSSR) at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) to ensure safer and more efficient aircraft operations in Nepal, according to a press note from the Japanese Embassy in Kathmandu.
During the monitoring of radar test on Wednesday, Jun Sakuma, chief representative of JICA Nepal, said that the new radar system will improve safety of aircraft flying in Kathmandu Flight Information Region (FIR) through continuous monitoring and control. “The new T-MSSR installed at TIA has capacity of 200 nautical miles, while the Enroute-MSSR installed at Bhattedanda has coverage of 250 nautical miles,” he said, adding that the new radar will cover almost all international flights while it will cover around 97 percent of domestic flights.
Air Traffic Controllers (ATCs) can also monitor speed, altitude and distance of the aircraft. Earlier, ATCs were finding it difficult to connect with all aircraft at the same time.
According to Embassy press note, 1992 saw two catastrophic air accidents, in which a Thai Airways plane and a Pakistan International Airlines plane clashed in a very short interval. Responding to a strong desire of the Nepal that such accidents shall not be repeated, Japan, since 1994, has been implementing various projects to improve the safety of Nepal’s air space. “These include grant projects, technical cooperation projects and the dispatching of Japanese experts,” it reads, adding that upon the completion of the Tribhuvan International Airport Modernization Project (surveillance system), two cutting-edge radars were installed at Bhattedada and Tribhuvan International Airport. These radars can monitor most of the Nepali skies and also help the controllers gain precise information about the position and identification of aircrafts in flight.