The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) says it has achieved 80 per cent installation of the Wide Area Multilateration (WAM) surveillance system to monitor and track low flying aircraft.
The acting Managing Director of the agency, Mr Lawrence Pwajok, said this at an interactive session with aviation correspondents in Lagos on Sunday.
Pwajok explained that the surveillance system, estimated to cost 12.9 million dollars (N9.42 billion), would be completed before the end of the year.
Multilateration (MLat) is a proven technology that has been in use for many decades in both navigation and surveillance applications to track aircraft at any location.
NAMA recently installed an equipment known as Wide Area Multi Lateration in Port Harcourt for low flying aircraft in the Gulf of Guinea.
The project was approved by the the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in 2018.
Pwajok said the equipment would help the agency in carrying out monitoring, control and surveillance of both the manned and unmanned aircraft in the Niger Delta region.
He added that the system also made provision for capturing of low-level flying helicopters in the Gulf of Guinea, especially as their activities increased in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria.
The MD said the agency was in the process of concluding the projects but had to call for a stakeholders sensitisation to get their inputs.
“The surveillance system is for the low flying aircraft and the beauty of this new concept is the capability to capture low flying helicopters that have increased within the Niger Delta area.
“Knowing the strategic nature of this sector and the strategic nature of the economy, we have implemented the surveillance system that will enhance the efficiency of low flying helicopters in that region.
“We have also incorporated what we also call the UTM system (Unman-aircraft Traffic Management System) otherwise known as remotely piloted aircraft systems, which can monitor drones and control them within the entire Niger Delta region,” he said.
According to him, this type of surveillance system is used for logistics supplies, pipeline monitoring or inspections and security surveillance within the region.
“Since they operate within the same airspace, this equipment provides us the credibility for monitoring, surveillance or control of both manned aircraft and unmanned aircraft operating within that area in support of oil exploration activities,” explained Pwajok.
Pwajok added that it was one of the key modern equipment being installed by the agency, that had reached over 80 per cent implementation.
He added that surveillance transmitters and receivers were spread over 29 locations covering the entire Niger Delta, while the system would be centralised in Port Harcourt in three sectors to cover the entire region.