HARARE – Zimbabwe’s main airport Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport is finally receiving a radar system after equipment was delivered as part of a $153 million upgrade.
Air traffic controllers at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare landed planes without radar systems. Planes sometimes land undetected, it has been claimed.
Last December, Oscar Gorerino, deputy and chairman of the Parliament’s budget committee, called the lack of a radar system a “security risk”.
Airport surveillance radar systems are capable of reliably detecting and tracking aircraft at altitudes below 25,000 feet (7,620 meters) and within a radius of 40 to 60 nautical miles (75 to 110 km).
Radar is the abbreviation of “Radio Detection and Ranging”.
A radar system detects other aircraft or other objects and their speed and direction by emitting a pulse of high frequency electromagnetic waves.
Air traffic controllers use the radar system to direct air traffic and help pilots land safely.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube told parliament last Thursday that Zimbabwe had spent $5.7 million on a radar system for Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
“The purchase of the radar equipment began after payment of US$5.7 million under the US$6.1 million contract, with three of the five radars delivered during the period and the installation being in progress,” Ncube said.
“The two exceptional radars are in transit from suppliers, and installation is expected to be completed in the second half of the year.”
The China Harbor Equipment Company won the radar upgrade contract.
The Export-Import Bank of China has loaned Zimbabwe $153 million to upgrade the airport, including the radar system.
The loan has a term of 20 years, including a seven-year grace period, and bears an annual interest rate of 2%.
Ncube said the renovation of the airport is progressing well, with Zimbabwe receiving $131.2 million of the $153 million loan.
- Kukurigo Updates