New Delhi: It is a common feature with almost all aircraft nowadays to have onboard transponders, which connect to secondary ground-based radars spread along the flight paths to help track movement of airplanes, and also serve as a vital communication link between the crew and the ground stations.
But imagine a situation when a hijacker switches off this transponder to take full control of the aircraft! Can it still be located?
The answer is ‘yes´, with the help of primary radars that monitor the movement of planes continuously. There are alternative means of communication, too, through which a pilot can send an SOS meassage.
In its efforts to enhance primary radar coverage across the country and to meet challenges like ever-growing air traffic, Airports Authority of India is putting in place a series of radars and other high-tech equipment not only to address the security concerns but also to beef up communication, navigation and collision avoidance network.
Concerned over the growing density of air traffic over major metros like Delhi and Mumbai, AAI is also ‘sectorising´ airspaces over busy airports to enhance safety and reduce the workload of air traffic control officers (ATCOs), AAI sources said.
“Work is also going on to connect the civil and military radar network, and the launch of Rs 774-crore GPS-aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system by 2010 is being eagerly awaited to enhance navigational accuracy to a great extent,” the sources said.
Apart from providing seamless navigation over the Indian airspace and waters, it would facilitate more precise control of arrival or departure of an aircraft from anywhere in this part of the world, not just India, they added.