Communications, Navigation and Surveillance (CNS) Systems

Radio Detection and Ranging (RADAR)

AEROTEL maintains the country’s RADAR systems to protect the integrity of Jamaica’s Flight Information Region (FIR). RADAR, the acronym for Radio Detection And Ranging, is a system that transmits short bursts or pulses of energy and detects echoes from objects or targets, such as aircraft or ships. The device provides a visual representation of the aircraft in the FIR, which is used by Air Traffic Controllers to aid decision-making. RADAR provides altitude (i.e height above ground), speed and direction of flight for the targeted aircraft.

Navigational Systems – The Doppler VHF Omni Ranging / Distance Measuring Equipment (DVOR/DME)

DVOR is the basic electronic navigation that is in use today. An aircraft flies from one DVOR to another. This DVOR navigation method relies on ground-based transmitters which emit signals to DVOR receivers in the aircraft.

Most VOR stations also have distance-measuring equipment (DME). A display indicator in the aircraft reads the signals and tells pilots if they are on course and how far they are from the station. VOR-DME systems are limited in range to 160 miles and can only provide direct courses to or from a given station.

There are two DVOR/DME sites in Jamaica. AEROTEL maintains this system for safe travel in Jamaica’s FIR.

The Non-Directional Beacon (NDB)

Among the commonest and simplest of aids is the Non-Directional Beacon. The NDB is a ground station that emits a constant signal in every direction, and is also known as an omnidirectional beacon. An NDB signal operated on a frequency between 190-535 KHz does not offer information on the direction of the signal — just the strength of it.

The Instrument Landing System (ILS)

ILS facilities, which are installed at the NMIA and Sangster international airports, are highly accurate and dependable means of navigating to Jamaica’s runways in Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) conditions. When using the ILS, the pilot receives precise information about the aircraft direction , primarily by reference to instruments. He or she is, therefore, able to “touch down” at a very specific point.

This point, at which the aircraft is landed, will be the centerline and beginning of the runway, as facilitated by the Guide Path and Localiser, respectively.

Communication System

This system consists of Air-to-Ground radios used by Air Traffic Controllers to communicate with aircraft. Radios are located at multiple sites across the island and in Grand Cayman. Jamaica’s Air Traffic Controllers are stationed at the two main international airports, the Tinson Pen Aerodrome and the Kingston Air Traffic Control Centre. AEROTEL Ltd. maintains the Ground-To-Air radios, and contributes to the provision of reliable communication in Jamaica’s FIR.