Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Alli Patani has said that the successful demonstration of the Satellite Based Augmentation System ( SBAS) using the NigComSat has shown clearly the country’s capacity to support, not just Nigeria but the rest of Africa.
This is just as his Aviation counterpart, Senator Hadi Sirika has harped on the importance of satellite communication in aviation, stressing that this new system is an upgrade from terrestrial based navigation and its coverage will help airlines reach crevices where instrument Landing Systems( ILS) are unavailable.
Patani who declared open a two day workshop on the SBAS Implementation in Aviation in Africa at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja said the Nigerian Communications Satellite is operational and covers the whole 30.37million square kilometres of Africa and also covers some areas of the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, Asia and Europe.
According to Patani, the NigComSat has the capacity to cover the SBAS in not only Nigeria but Africa as a whole stating that apart from aviation, there are other uses Nigeria and indeed the whole of Africa can find for the satellite in terms of Communication, marine, rail, road as well as agriculture.
He stressed that the world is in the age of digital technology and this was a key enabler of major economies and that other African countries can employ its services for things such as cartography, topography as well as hydrographic survey.
Also speaking at the workshop, Minister of Aviation Senator Hadi Sirika who was represented by his Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Dr. Emmanuel Meribole reiterated that the planned implementation of SBAS is not intended to eliminate or replace ground based navigational systems such as ILs, MLS, VOR etc, but intended to provide alternative means of navigation for operators, as well as cost effective options for air navigation service providers.
He appealed to airspace users not to be apprehensive of the new system but to trust that it is in place to make the system a lot more efficient and safe act as a backup as the country is not planning to discard its ground based navigational facilities despite the cost implication of running them.
“… airlines or airspace users should not be apprehensive but receptive to the concept as a backup system or primary means of navigation in areas where ground based navigational facilities are not available.
“Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Nigeria in the last 7 years has invested significantly in the procurement of ground based navigational facilities with over 15 new Doppler vORS, over i5 new instrument landing systems Category l1 and 5 new Instrument Landing Systems Category 11. “In addition, Nigeria has invested heavily inthe deployment of ground communication facilities for Extended Range VHF Voice Communication system, as well as a Total Radar Coverage of Nigerian airspace with ground surveillance.
“However, these systems are not only expensive to procure, install, calibrate and maintain, but also susceptible to weather, environmental factors, power fluctuations, and cyber threats, thereby affecting their reliability, availability, integrity and continuity. Consequently the international civil aviation community initiated the concepts of satellite based navigation, communication and surveillance to mitigate the deficiencies inherent in ground based facilities.” He said.