Thales wins St Helena navigation contract

Thales has been selected by construction company Basil Read to supply and install air traffic management equipment and solutions for a new airport on St Helena Island.

The contract will see the Thales UK and South African teams provide and install all the navigational aids necessary for the new airport to be classified as a commercial airport; including an Instrument Landing System (ILS) to provide pilots with reliable and accurate landing information in reduced visibility conditions and a Doppler VHF Omni-directional Radio Range system (DVOR) to give bearing information to pilots.

Thales’s Distance Measuring Equipment, combined with the ILS and DVOR systems, will provide pilots with en-route and runway distance information, to allow them to make the safest decisions possible.

A British dependency, the island of St Helena is one of the world’s most remote inhabited locations.  The St Helena airport project, which is being funded by Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID), will provide the island with a much needed stimulus to boost tourism and reinforce economic development, eventually leading to self-sufficiency.

Marion Broughton, head of Thales UK’s aerospace business, said: “Thales is delighted to be working with Basil Read on this prestigious project and is committed to ensuring that airports such as St Helena’s are fitted with cutting-edge systems to keep their skies safe”.

Located approximately 1,900km from the west coast of Africa, St Helena Island’s nearest neighbour is Ascension Island, over 1,000km away. Measuring 8km by 16km, and home to a population of just over 4,000, the island’s only regular lifeline to the outside world for the last 20 years has been the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) St Helena, which shuttles between Cape Town, St Helena and Ascension Island.

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