The Airports Authority of India(AAI) on Thursday signed a Rs 945-crore pact with the US-based Harris Corporation for development of its futuristic telecommunications infrastructure (FTI) programme.
The contract of 15 years was inked at the US-India Aviation Summit in Mumbai. The summit, the sixth edition, began on Thursday.
The FTI network, when implemented, would enhance air traffic safety, increase in airspace capacity and accommodate the aircraft to more economical and environment-friendly flight levels, the AAI said in a release.
"India's exponential air traffic growth is creating demand for new aircraft, air navigation technologies, airport security equipment and infrastructure,” AAI chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said.
The programme will be implemented over a period of two years.
“The futuristic telecommunications infrastructure provides a dedicated nationwide telecommunication network to support air traffic management operations, with an emphasis on safety and high reliability and the ability to expand for growth," Mohapatra said.
Under the programme, all telecommunication links and each network equipment across the AAI airports will be centrally monitored 24/7 for immediate response to fix any outages.
As a part of the deal, Harris Corporation will serve as the prime contractor and systems integrator for the programme. It will upgrade network operations, enhance security and improve the performance, reliability and quality of the air traffic management communications network, while reducing tele-communications costs, the AAI said.
The FTI project will provide high availability of SLA-based telecommunication links using the latest technology and communications infrastructure at each AAI location.
"The new secure, purpose-built network will meet the demands of India's rapid aviation growth and lay the foundation for future ATM opportunities for Harris in other geographies with high air traffic growth," Harris Electronic Systems' vice-president and general manager for mission networks, Rick Simonian said.
Performance of all telecommunication links will be continuously monitored at network operation control centres (NOCCs) at Delhi and Bangalore for various performance parameters to meet the global ATM application performance requirement, while security operation control centres (SOCCs) will protect the network from cyber threats, the release said.
"All service connections and each equipment will be security hardened, monitored, and safeguarded against intrusion 24/7 with constant system updates against latest security threats," the AAI said.
The new system will also play a key role in deployment of remote towers for managing air traffic services at RCS airports, according to the airports operator.
Remote and virtual tower (RVT) is a new concept where air traffic service at an airport is performed somewhere else, thereby, dispensing with the need for a tower on its premises.
A large number of airports are set to be connected under the government's ambitious UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) scheme, and AAI has plans to deploy RVTs at some of these airports.
(With PTI inputs)