Thales modernises air traffic management across SA


Key Points
* Thales is supplying a WAM system to the northern region of South Africa and distance measuring equipment (DME) technology to 31 sites across the country.
* South Africa, one of the busiest airspaces in the continent, is modernising navigation and surveillance capabilities.
* The contract is part of the country’s continuing efforts to modernise navigation and surveillance in the country.

Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS), the air navigation service provider of South Africa, has selected Thales to supply, install and commission wide area multilateration (WAM) surveillance, primary and secondary surveillance radars, and distance measuring equipment (DME) technology to a number of its sites.

These contracts are part of the country’s continuing efforts to modernise navigation and surveillance capabilities, ensuring a significant improvement to safety and efficiency.

Over the past decade, African air traffic has increased exponentially, with South Africa being one of the busiest airspaces in the continent. As a result, improved air space management, advanced technologies and system modernisation are needed to meet future challenges of scalability and operational.

ATNS has commissioned Thales to deploy multiple surveillance technologies, including WAM, Star NG (Next Generation) Primary Radars and RSM 970 Secondary Radars, matching the best solution to the operational requirement. The WAM system will be deployed to provide surveillance over the entire northern region. Radars will be deployed to Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town, Durban and Blesberg sites. These surveillance systems will be integrated into ATNS’s existing Thales TopSky Air Traffic Management System, providing cost-effective, scalable and reliable surveillance.

DME systems will be deployed to 31 sites across South Africa where they will ensure high accuracy en route and terminal aircraft guidance.

Together, these technologies will improve ATNS’ capability to offer airlines RNAV routes for faster and shorter trajectories, lower fuel consumption, and reduced carbon emissions. Further, in addition to the supply, install and commission of the technologies, these contracts provide for a long-term support and maintenance agreement.

“In line with ATNS’s Shareholder Mandate to deliver safe skies and customer-centric services, technology is a central service enabler. To this end, ATNS has invested in the acquisition of new and advanced technology for Air Traffic Management to replace the current national Air Traffic Management Automation system.

Through this programme, ATNS will enter a new era of operational technology advancement for the benefit of the ATM community. The South African aviation infrastructure is considered to be one of the best in the world, contributing to the country’s aviation safety record. It is, therefore, imperative that we continue to invest wisely in this infrastructure to support the country’s overall transport infrastructure”.

South Africa is one of the fastest growing ATM regions in the continent. As a result of Thales’ commitment to aligning our product roadmaps with international standards, Thales navigation and surveillance solutions will allow ATNS to deploy a truly future-proofed technology capable of not only dealing with the issues and challenges of Africa today, but also capable of growing and adapting as the airspace becomes more complex.

Justice Tootla, Thales South Africa Systems, CEO