NC3A fits Kandahar airfield with advanced Air Traffic Management
On 30 March 2010, the world's busiest single runway airport began using the new Air Traffic Management capability procured by NATO. NC3A acted as host Nation of the project covering all aspects of the capability provisioning life-cycle from the identification of the equipment specification to the continued support and upgrade of the delivered system.
The Air Traffic Management (ATM) capability is a flagship project for NATO. It is the first time that the Alliance has attempted to install a complete air traffic capability on the national territory of a non-NATO member country. Moreover Kandahar is the Alliance's largest ever deployed airfield with Arial Port of Debarkation (APOD) and additionally forward operating and forward supply responsibilities. This makes the ATM task also very complex at Kandahar with military air operations involving fighter, UAV and helicopter aircraft as well as a mix of civilian air transport and passenger aircraft.
"The declaration of the new NATO Air Traffic Management capability at Kandahar APOD on 30 March 2010 should be considered an outstanding achievement for NATO, which could only be met by commitment from all organizations and personnel involved with the project," said James Marshall, NC3A Project Manager.
The ATM project first obtained tenders from Industry in early 2008. However, with significant financial challenges to overcome, the project was delayed until NC3A conducted an options study as host Nation on behalf of the Infrastructure Committee (IC) in November 2008. The Committee accepted the recommendations and authorised NC3A to sign a contract with Thales Air Systems Division, the project prime contractor, which was done on 16 February 2009. Thales Air Systems Division (FR) managed the work of sub-contractors based in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Canada, Germany, Turkey and Italy.
The project implementation had originally been based on an 18 month implementation schedule but the United States - the original provider of ATM - could only continue to provide ATM services at Kandahar until 31 March 2010. NC3A and Thales therefore agreed to attempt to procure, deliver, install, test and hand over the ATM equipment in the 13 months that remained until the deadline.
The project procures and installs in the new NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA)-built ATC tower a turnkey, fully-integrated system that includes: Primary and Secondary Surveillance radar; Precision Approach Radar; Tactical Air Navigation (TACAN); Doppler VHF Omni-direction and Range (DVOR); Direction Finder (DF); Meteorological Sensors; Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunication Network (AFTN); Air Terminal Information System (ATIS); Eurocat C Radar Approach Control System; vhf/uhf ground/air communications radios with associated Voice Communications Control System and Voice Recording System; computer consoles and civil works to provide cable ducting and trenching along the full length of the airfield. Ultimately, the follow-on logistic support will be the responsibility of the (NAMSA).
Whilst the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the 25th of March marked the completion of the project implementation phase, NC3A will continue to work with the Commander of Kandahar Airfield (COMKAF) HQ personnel and the NATO Command chain to ensure that the system is optimised for operations in Kandahar.
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