Advanced radar boosts Inverness Airport capacity

A state-of-the-art radar installation has gone into operation at Inverness Airport in the Scottish Highlands.

The second phase of the Inverness radar project was officially opened by Stewart Stevenson, Scotland's Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change, on 23 February 2009. This phase of the project represents the conclusion of a Thales UK contract to provide both primary surveillance and monopulse secondary surveillance Mode S radar.

Inverness Airport announced the placement of its new radar into operational service in January 2009 after gaining approval from SRG, the UK Safety Regulation Group.

The installation comprises co-mounted primary and secondary solid-state radars. The STAR 2000 is a high-performance, fail-safe S-band primary radar designed to deal with dense air traffic situations. It supports reduced separation between aircraft and features a high processing capacity.

The RSM 970 S is an advanced monopulse secondary surveillance radar (MSSR) providing Mode S operation, in which each interrogator and aircraft transponder has a unique address. Mode S. That permits selective interrogation of targets, eliminating unnecessary responses and making it easier to distinguish closely-spaced aircraft

Inverness will be one of the first UK airports to have an operational Mode S terminal radar, and will allow it to accommodate the growing number of aircraft that operate with Mode S capability.

Aircraft movements at Inverness have increased from 27,500 a year in 1999 to 40,000 in 2008. Half were passenger aircraft, with most of the remainder classified as general aviation. Passenger numbers have increased from 347,000 to 703,000 over the same period.

Inglis Lyon, managing director of Highlands and Islands Airports, said: "We are delighted with the success of this turnkey contract with Thales to deliver primary and secondary radar at Inverness. This important development will enable the airport to efficiently handle future predicted growth at the gateway airport for the Highlands of Scotland."

Steve Hill, vice president and managing director of Thales UK's air systems business, said: "This contract was of huge strategic importance to Thales in the UK, and is the first Thales STAR 2000 primary and RSM 970 S secondary radar in the UK. We look forward to building on this success in the UK civil market."

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