Thales wins ATC systems contract for Manston, Kent’s International Airport

Posted: 7 January 2011 | CANSO | No comments yet

Thales announced that it has signed a contract with Manston, Kent’s International Airport…

Thales announced that it has signed a contract with Manston, Kent’s International Airport for the programme management, supply and installation of co-mounted primary surveillance and monopulse mode-S secondary surveillance radars, complete with Eurocat-C1 air traffic control (ATC) system.

Manston currently operates with a legacy, raw video, primary surveillance radar (PSR) and procures a feed of monopulse secondary surveillance radar (MSSR) data. Data from these two radars have to be overlaid on Manston’s current display system, resulting in a sub-optimal situational picture. Due to the ongoing development of three large off shore windfarms in the Thames Estuary, the legacy PSR detects returns from the turbines that are displayed as significant areas of clutter.

Thales will deliver its STAR 20002 and co-mounted RSM 970 S3 mode-S MSSR radar equipment, which are state-of-the-art solid-state radars that will feed data into the Thales Eurocat-C radar display system. These systems will enter into operation before the end of 2011.

Using the Thales systems, Manston will receive the following significant advantages:

– a fully plot extracted solid state PSR that will avoid the detection of the wind turbine returns. In order to meet the requirement of Manston Airport to cohabit with wind farms, Thales is providing its innovative solution that enables a ‘harmonious cohabitation’ between radars and wind turbines. The company’s advanced processing now makes the installation of radars in the vicinity of wind farms possible and safe for air traffic. The issue with wind turbines is that most radars see them as a ‘valid return signal’. Thales’s new algorithms enable the STAR 2000 to differentiate between a ‘return signal’ from an aircraft and a turbine, thereby reducing the possibility of false radar track information being presented to air traffic controllers;

– an enhanced mode-S MSSR, data from which is combined with the PSR data at the radar head, avoiding the need to overlay the data on the controllers position. Additionally, Manston will no longer need to incur the annual costs of procuring the MSSR data feed;

– Eurocat-C radar display system with:

  • greatly increased reliability resulting from a dualised architecture;
  • enhanced Mode-S functionality which enables the air traffic controllers to see key aircraft data downloaded from the aircraft’s avionics;
  • full safety nets processing enhances aircraft safety by continuously monitoring the radar data to detect and warn the controllers of impending possible collisions between aircraft or between aircraft and terrain hazards.

Overall the new system will present a much clearer situational picture to the controllers, backed up by automatic safety nets that will enhance the reliability and safety of the ATC operations performed at Manston.

Manston Airport, which is wholly owned by Infratil Limited, is near Ramsgate in the east of Kent, England, approximately 100km east of London. The airport has recently been refurb¬ished with a 2,800m² single level terminal capable of handling up to 700,000 passengers per year.

David Lockwood, head of Thales UK’s air operations business, says: “The Thales radar is ideal for Manston due to the large offshore wind farms that lie close to the airport. This contract builds upon the successful Thales ATM systems, at Inverness, Belfast International, and Cardiff airports, and reinforces our position as a leading supplier of radar and display systems to regional airports and the UK civil ATM market.”

Charles Buchanan, Chief Executive, at Manston, Kent’s International Airport, says: “As the growth of wind energy increases, it’s vital that the nationally important industries of aviation and renewables develop together to support the UK’s recovering economy.”

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