Singapore Air Show

Italian airport systems firm finds growth potential in Asia

 - February 17, 2008, 5:17 PM

Asia is a prime potential market for Selex Systemi Integrati’s turnkey capability in air defense systems, air traffic management and airport communications systems. The Italian group, which set up shop in Singapore in 1972, most recently supplied mobile air traffic control systems to the Singapore Air Force and has established a terminal maneuvering area system for the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) at Changi Airport. Now, it is responding to a CAAS tender for primary L-band and mode-S secondary radars.

Selex has a long pedigree as a radar provider, but in the early 1990s it took a big step forward when it built the new air traffic control center at Milan’s Malpensa Airport. The facility, which comprises some 100 controller consoles and up to 20 radars, controls the whole of Italy’s upper airspace as well as the lower space in the country’s central region.

This project led to Selex being selected to provide equally advanced centers for countries such as Turkey, Malaysia and Thailand. The company has subsequently provided more comprehensive airport-wide systems, which also include ground-air-ground and airport ground personnel communications. It has been able to tap the capability of Finmeccanica group sister companies such as Selex Communications for these projects.

In September 2001, Selex acquired German meteorological systems supplier Gematronik and navigation aid specialist Airport Systems International Inc. This increase in its ATC capabilities recently brought a $33 million contract from India to equip new airports in Bangalore and Hyderabad. The two facilities will be equipped with a primary ATCR- 33-S-DPC radar, a secondary SIR-S radar, an advanced surface movement guidance and control system, an area control center, digital and automated systems for telecommunication and information (ATIS), navaids (ILS and DME) and VHF communication systems. A $78 million contract signed late last year with India’s Bharat Electronics Ltd. covers 13 ATCR33S primary radars and the same number of SIR-S secondary radars for the Indian air force.

Selex is also part of the EGNOS consortium developing the new GPS-based satellite navigation system, which is due to be certified this year for en-route air traffic control. The Italian company developed the EGNOS interface with air traffic control systems, and it also offers a ground-based augmentation system for satellite-led approach, landing, departure and surface operations.

The company is also actively developing new secondary monopulse radars that can operate in basic and enhanced modes, as well as in the new automatic dependent surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) and contract (ADS-C) modes. According to Selex, primary radars still have an important role to play, especially in the light of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which showed how they can be used to track and identify potential threats from aircraft that don’t respond to controllers. It is therefore continuing to upgrade this part of its product range.

In April 2007, Selex signed an $18 million contract to study into a global data system that would allow all parties in the air traffic management process– controllers, airline crews, meteorological centers and airports–to clear existing data bottlenecks.