Nigerian Airspace Management Agency ( NAMA) has explained that the two types of radars, Primary and Secondary radars all have their functions but primary radars contrary to jaundiced views are very important in the country.
Ag Managing Director of NAMA, Mr. Mathew Lawrence Pwajok made this known while speaking with journalists in Abuja where he stressed that Primary Radars come in handy to track aircraft that do not turn on their transponders to be tracked.
He explained that unlike the Secondary Radar that requires cooperation from the aircraft that uses the airspace by turning on an airborne radar system, the Primary radar can detect any aircraft in the Airspace even when that airborne system on the aircraft is turned off intentionally or accidentally due to natural phenomenon. READ MORE: Why Nigeria needs primary radar for civil, military aviation- NAMA tells NASS
There have been calls from certain quarters discountenancing the need for a primary radar and describing it a waste of funds but Pwajok says that apart from tracking commercial aircraft it equally helps the war against terror by tracking helicopters flying in to support terrorism.
He said,”We have two types of radars, the Primary Radar and Secondary Radar. Why is it that helicopters are flying in the North West and North East supporting terrorism activities but you cannot see them? An aircraft has an airborne system called a transponder; now the secondary radar only picks up aircraft that has that transponder and puts it on.
“The secondary radar that covers Nigeria requires the aircraft is equipped with an airborne radar system and is also activated. If you have it and turn it off is like having a tracker and switching it off. We can’t track you so the secondary radar requires cooperation from the aircraft.
On the Primary Radar, Mr. Pwajok explained its uses and importance stating,” A primary radar can detect anybody, it doesn’t need the cooperation of the aircraft. It detects the height, it detects the speed of the aircraft; it detects the direction of flight of the aircraft and displays it on the screen for Air traffic Control.
“So, if your equipment turns off, either deliberately or due to a technical failure, you would still be detected by the Primary Radar, that is the advantage. Sometimes aircraft enter bad weather and the electronic systems go off. The pilot did not switch off but was affected by a natural phenomenon however we still have to guide that aircraft because he is flying blind and otherwise would run into another aircraft, this is where the primary radar helps.” He explained.