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NAV CANADA announces $50 million-plus VHF radio replacement program

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NAV CANADA announces $50 million-plus VHF radio replacement program


The VHF radios that provide the critical air-ground-air links in Canada’s Air Navigation System (ANS) are about to undergo a major facelift.


May 28, 2008
By Carey Fredericks

May 28, 2008, Ottawa – The VHF radios that provide the critical air-ground-air links in Canada’s Air Navigation System (ANS) are about to undergo a major facelift.  The radios are used every day by air traffic controllers and flight service specialists to provide information, advice and instruction to pilots who fly in Canada’s skies.
 
They will be replaced in an eight-year, over $50 million dollar upgrade being conducted by NAV CANADA, the owner and operator of the ANS, in conjunction with Park Air Systems Limited and SolaCom Technologies Inc.
 
“Voice communication by trained professionals is one of the key elements in the safe and efficient movement of aircraft,” said John Crichton, NAV CANADA President and CEO.  “This investment will support the continuous exchange of information between NAV CANADA people and our customers, using what is known as the air-ground-air infrastructure.”
 
The project will begin with the replacement of 115 pairs of radios at Calgary Airport, the Toronto Area Control Centre and the Toronto Air Traffic Control Tower at Lester B. Pearson International Airport.
 
In total, the project will see over 2000 aging Garrett VHF radios replaced with modern technology provided by Park Air Systems Limited and SolaCom Technologies Inc. at some 320 sites across the country.  The new generation radios come with higher power, digital capability and advanced remote maintenance monitoring.
 
“We have chosen to proceed in a gradual fashion, addressing our needs in higher traffic locations first,” said Crichton. “By starting with the major centres, we free up enough older radios to provide spares for elsewhere in the system, while the new ones are being deployed between 2008 and 2016.”
 
NAV CANADA is in the final stages of a lengthy competitive process among a number of radio equipment vendors, in which Park Air Systems Limited and SolaCom Technologies Inc. were selected as the key suppliers.  The start of the project is subject to final and satisfactory completion of the required contractual documentation.
 
This multi-million dollar investment is the latest project in a modernization drive that has seen NAV CANADA invest over $1.2 billion in new technology, systems and facilities over the last decade, with approximately $100 million slated for the current fiscal year ending August 31, 2008.
 
NAV CANADA, the country's civil air navigation services provider, is a private sector, non-share capital corporation financed through publicly-traded debt. With operations coast to coast, NAV CANADA provides air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation.