EMPOWERING WITH TECHNOLOGY: ANS & IN-COUNTRY REPAIR FACILITIES
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Air Navigation Services (ANS) are the services provided to air traffic during all phases of operations; including, air traffic management, communication, navigation and surveillance, meteorological services for air navigation, search and rescue, and aeronautical information services. To provide quality safety services which concern human lives, we require a sustainable backbone in the form of a huge ANS infrastructure which comprises of communication systems (both air-to-ground and ground-to-ground), navigation systems (for aircraft’s navigation and safe landing), surveillance (to monitor highly dense airspace with aircraft movements) and the air traffic management automation system. These are collectively referred to as the CNS-ATM system in the aviation community.
There are various International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) documents that outline the specifications and the tolerance limits of the systems to be maintained for safe operation of air navigation services. ICAO sets the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and environmental protection, on a global basis. With increased air traffic movements, the failure of the CNS-ATM systems can result in a huge financial loss, significant property damage, damage to the environment and even loss of life. System degradation of the safety critical CNSATM systems is unacceptable as global air traffic services depend upon them. As per ICAO, the men behind these systems for procurement, installation, air calibration and maintenance are the Air Traffic Safety Electronics Personnel (ATSEP). They play a major role in the technical domain to ensure air navigation services are continuous, safe, reliable and integrated.
At Airports Authority of India, the CNS-ATM systems are maintained and calibrated in-house by various directorates. The planning and procurement is conducted by Cns-planning, installation by the Radio Construction and Development Unit (RCDU), air calibration of navigation systems by the Flight Inspection Unit (FIU), operation and maintenance by Cnsoperation and Maintenance, in-country component level repair facility (known as the Specialised Maintenance Units, SMUS) and the safety management audit by the Aviation Safety Directorate.
MAINTAINING CNS-ATM SYSTEMS
Maintenance refers to all actions appropriate for retaining an item/part/equipment, or restoring it to its given condition. Further, maintenance is a function that must be performed under adverse circumstances and stress, and its main objective is to rapidly restore the equipment to a state of operational readiness using the available resources.
Maintenance of CNS-ATM systems are conducted at three-levels:
LEVEL-1: Carries out maintenance tasks that are primarily associated with the immediate service restoration or reconfiguration level (front panel level) and that involves in-depth fault analysis at the system/equipment level (functional level).
LEVEL-2: Carries out preventive and corrective maintenance; tasks that involve in-depth fault analysis of a faulty Line Replacement Unit (Lru/printed Circuit Boards (PCB) or modules), which includes, detailed diagnosis of hardware and software problems of the automation systems.
LEVEL-3: Carries out the in-country component level maintenance/repair of faulty LRU. This reduces the turnaround time (TAT) of getting the unserviceable Modules/ PCBS repaired and the down time of vital CNSATM facilities.
The objective of having three levels of maintenance is to prepare for continuous availability of CNS/ATM facilities for operational use.
IN-COUNTRY REPAIR FACILITIES
Keeping in view the changing concepts of technology and maintenance, in the year 2001, it was decided that a Centralised Maintenance Cell (CMC) will be set-up at AAI’S Corporate Head Quarter. Along with CMC, the Specialised Maintenance Unit (SMU) was also established for in-country component level repair facilities at Regional Head Quarters and at several major airports.
Today, the SMUS are located at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, having in-country repair facilities for 25 varieties of CNS-ATM systems with an equipment population of approx. 2860.
SMUS in addition to the In-country Repair Facility (ICRF) for different CNSATM facilities of AAI also undertake repair of facilities and unserviceable modules/ Printed Circuit Boards of external organisations like the Air Force, the Navy and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).
SMUS also develop many indigenous techniques and fabrication of extender cards, PCBS etc. for the repair of sophisticated state-of-the-art CNS-ATM systems.
In the year 2012, to share the expertise and the costly tools and test equipment, it was decided to have numbered SMUS under one roof at the Begumpet Airport, Hyderabad. Today, there are seven SMUS of different makes and models with CNSATM facilities functioning at Hyderabad.
SMUS also play a crucial role during natural calamities like floods and cyclonic storms, by quickly restoring the damaged facilities of air traffic services ensuring that airports can resume their normal operations at the earliest. SMUS played a vital role in the quick restoration of CNS facilities at the Chennai Airport after the airport was flooded in December 2015. SMUS also provided maintenance support by repairing communication/ Remote Control Air-ground (RCAG) modules, which were damaged during the Hud-hud cyclonic storm in 2014, at Vizag.
The new major projects in pipeline are the establishment of the ICRF for the ELDIS RADAR in Delhi, the in-house Test Equipment Calibration Laboratory at Hyderabad and developing in-house Digital Voice Recorders at SMU Mumbai.
Airports Authority of India, the only air navigation service provider in the country, is proud to provide the highest level of CNS-ATM maintenance support through these highly specialised state-of-the-art in-country repair facilities that ensure the continued deliverance of safe travel.
…maintenance is a science since its execution relies on, sooner or later, most or all of the sciences.
It is an art because seemingly identical problems regularly demand and receive varying approaches and actions and because some managers, foreman and mechanics display greater aptitude for it than others show or even attain.
It is above all a philosophy because it is a discipline that can be applied intensively, moderately or not at all, depending upon a wide range of variables that frequently transcend more immediate and obvious solutions.
In-country Repair Facility
An ongoing repair
SMU, Ahmedabad CA-20 adaptor & bare PCB for THALES DVOR High Voltage Protection Circuit