Civil air navigation services provider NAV Canada is set to conduct a $125m multi-year project to upgrade terminal surveillance radar (TSR) at major airports in the country.

This infrastructure renewal project includes upgrading the TSRs at 12 sites.

The first phase of the project will involve commencement of work at five airports in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Hamilton.

"These radar systems are over 30 years old and are nearing the end of their lifecycle."

Nav Canada Engineering vice-president Kim Troutman said: "These radar systems are over 30 years old and are nearing the end of their lifecycle.

"Radar is one of the key surveillance sources for air traffic control and will continue to be an indispensable tool for the mid and long-term in its existing role and as a complement to satellite-based ADS-B surveillance."

According to Troutman, several electronic components of the ageing systems are becoming obsolete. At times, replacement of some parts also becomes difficult due to their unavailability.

He added: "This upgrade programme will replace key electronic equipment while maintaining the radar site infrastructure in place.

"Each radar upgrade will improve reliability, advance the exchange of data, lower maintenance costs and mitigate potential service outages."

Selex ES , a subsidiary of Finmeccanica , was chosen by Nav Canada after a long review and evaluation to supply its new upgraded radar systems.

The company has delivered air traffic control radar systems to more than 150 countries over the last 60 years.

Nav Canada currently operates 46 radar sites across the country, which provide air traffic surveillance used by the air traffic controllers (ATCs) and flight service specialists.

It provides air traffic control, flight information, weather briefings, aeronautical information services, airport advisory services and electronic aids to navigation.