The Dominican Civil Aviation Institute (IDAC) is committed to a substantial improvement of airspace surveillance services and meteorological coverage in response to the remarkable growth of air operations in the North of the country.
In this sense, the general director of the entity, Héctor Porcella, informed that part of the new tasks in line with the development of the country is the installation of two new radars, one for primary and secondary air traffic and another meteorological (doppler), both of the latest generation, which will serve the Cibao International Airport (Santiago) and the Gregorio Luperón Airport in Puerto Plata, areas which are experiencing a growing volume of international flights.
“The Cibao airport facilities are undergoing a large-scale expansion project, which confirms the need to meet present needs, but also for the future,” he said.
The system will have a 3D function that will allow the IDAC to provide airspace surveillance services to the Dominican Republic Air Force and the National Drug Control Directorate (DNCD) to track unregistered or illegal air operations, according to Diario Libre.
Porcella explained that the AIC’s primary and secondary radar is already in production as of this year 2023 and will cost US$4,986,566, much less than the radar acquired 20 years ago for more than US$8 million. The acquisitions have been made in accordance with the legal norms in force for state purchases.
He pointed out that the IDAC gave continuity to the system of the manufacturer THALES, which has a presence of more than three decades in the country, not only in the aeronautical sector but also in other areas of mass transportation, such as the Santo Domingo subway.
The executive emphasized that the IDAC’s decision to acquire new THALES technology equipment, as the past authorities of the institution did in 1994 and 2003, responds to the practical need to maintain a homogeneous air traffic surveillance system, characteristic of countries with territorial spaces similar to that of the Dominican Republic.
He recalled that since 1994 the Dominican State has put into service five stations with the same technology to maintain a standardized air traffic surveillance system and with the maintenance guarantee of the same manufacturer, a policy followed by other countries like ours.
“Standardization represents an important saving in the acquisition of spare parts and the training of support personnel for navigation services. The IDAC has a technological updating program for the radar systems operating at the international airports of Las Americas (AILA) and Punta Cana with the integration of the 3D function, guaranteeing greater coverage and surveillance of illegal practices,” he explained.
Regarding the new weather radar station for the Puerto Plata area, based on VAISALA solid-state technology (latest generation with full maintenance coverage for five years), Porcella explained that it represents a significant saving for the country.
The radar station will expand the meteorological coverage ring, initiated with the 2019 Doppler radar owned by the IDAC and in operation in Punta Cana.
According to Porcella, in the specific case of Puerto Plata, with the operation of the new weather radar the IDAC will expand the coverage of services to institutions that develop vital tasks in civil protection and national security in the face of contingency situations and natural phenomena, citing the Emergency Operations Center (COE); the National Meteorological Office (Onamet); the Air Force of the Dominican Republic and other dependencies of the Central Government.
In addition, the executive said that the “solid state” meteorological Doppler radar to be installed on the Isabel de Torres hill in Puerto Plata, also in the process of being manufactured, has a total cost of US$3,404,220, plus tax charges.
In this case, the selected point offers greater coverage and the project includes, unlike the others, a 25 meter metal tower, a protective shelter, civil works in the remote area and facilities at the Gregorio Luperón Airport, an access road to the radar station and demolition of existing structures.