The installation work will take three years and it costs Tk658.4C, says CAAB
The Dhaka airport will get a modern radar with an air traffic control system in next three years aimed at enhancing the country's airspace safety and security.
The radar currently in use at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport belongs to instrument landing system (ILS) category, while the new one falls under communication, navigation and surveillance/air traffic management (CNS/ATM) category.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU), jointly drafted by the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) and radar manufacturer Thales LAS France SAS, was signed on November 3 last year to implement the plan under a government-to-government (G2G) deal.
The procurement proposal was approved at a virtual meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase on Thursday.
The installation of the radar is expected to take roughly three years and will cost Tk658.4 crore, according to CAAB. The project is expected to be completed by June 2023 with full government funding, according to the MoU.
The agreement would cover the supply, installation and operation of navigation and surveillance systems, including radar and related air traffic management equipment.
According to the deal, the data collected through the radar must be kept secret by the French company to ensure that airspace security is not compromised.
An industry insider, seeking anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to media, said: “We have a long maritime boundary and it’s not possible to charge flights that use our airspace at present. The whole area cannot be covered with the existing radar. On top of that, take-off, landing and traffic management are very risky with this radar.”
The government decided to purchase the new radar after considering all these aspects, he said, adding: “After the new radar is installed, it will be possible to cover our entire maritime area, allowing the government to earn more revenues and ensuring airspace safety.”
The International Court of Arbitration had awarded Bangladesh the right to an area of about 19,000 square kilometers of the Bay of Bengal in 2014.
However, the 37-year-old analogue radar currently installed at the airport cannot detect foreign aircrafts flying over the sea, according to CAAB.
The new radar will increase surveillance over Bangladesh’s territorial waters and airspace. It will also allow Bangladesh to collect fines from trespassing aircrafts, which are required to pay a minimum of $500 for a single infringement.
Moreover, the new system will be able to detect aircrafts that are landing or taking off. Such procedures have to be conducted with an element of risk due to the current radar’s inability to detect such activity.