ERA has been chosen by the client NAV Portugal as a reliable supplier of MLAT technology for Azores
Western Group extension because ERA has already had one certified operational system deployed
over the Central Group of the Azorean Islands. The ERA Multilateration sensors are compact,
purely passive, have minimal requirements for power and are designed from the ground up to be
essentially maintenance-free. Due to those facts, the resistance to adverse weather conditions
and the minimal impact of the stations and antennas on the environment, the sensors can be easily
mounted at most locations and hence are perfectly suitable for damp environment of islands placed
in the middle of Atlantic Ocean. ERA cooperated closely with Westica Communications Limited,
a wireless technology company from Glasgow UK who have designed and planned the microwave
link connections for the project.
The ERA product MSS (Multi-sensor Surveillance System) for WAM Azores is based on MLAT distributed
time architecture and also decodes ADS-B messages. After the extension of the WAM Central Group
system to the Western islands Flores and Corvo, the whole WAM Azores system consists of 17 ground
stations and it covers the entire area including the approach routes for a handful of small airports.
The concept is based on a highly reliable and fully redundant solution. PC Workstation with Remote
Management terminal and several other parts are placed in the ATC tower of Flores Airport.
All base station sites are interconnected using Westica’s proven wireless technology which has
been used in many “Mission critical” projects around the world.
The Azores WAM System covers not only the TMA of Azores, but it extends also its coverage over
a considerable amount of oceanic air space belonging to the Santa Maria FIR. Main user of this
System is the Santa Maria Oceanic Control Centre. On completion, the Westica microwave radiosystem
will connect seven islands together, with many paths crossing the Atlantic Ocean at distances of up to 76 km.
The ERA Company has successfully passed two rounds of testing - FAT in july and SAT in December 2013
and the WAM system has become operational at the beginning of year 2014.
Three years later ERA proposed hardware delivery and project services for
an expansion to enhance surveillance coverage of the original system through
adding seven remote ground stations. The configuration of
the WAM expansion comprises: seven receiving/transmitting
stations, one upgrade of the current receiving/transmitting
station, one transmitting station and two reference and
monitoring transponders. The site infrastructure, including the
power and communications links, was provided by Airways.
The installation of the new equipment was completed
in the 2013 summer season and was followed by the
completion of the SAT (Site Acceptance Test) in the latter
part of 2013.
NAV Portugal is the Portuguese Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) with the responsibility
over Portuguese continental territory and a vast area of the north Atlantic. It has two control centres
(Lisbon and Santa Maria – Azores), 9 control towers in national airports, a training centre and
numerous systems and equipment to support air navigation.
The picture shows the actual coverage and accuracy after the last extension at the flight
level 100 (that means sea level 3050 metres).
“NAV Portugal believes
that the choice of
ERA for implementing
the extension of the
system will contribute
to ensure a robust
solution for such a challenging project,
to the location of the
sites and the need
of integrating this
system with the one
already installed on
the Central Group
of Azores, also
implemented by ERA”