Australia is to withdraw 179 ground-based navigation aids (navaids) and related non-precision approach procedures from service, following a switch to new satellite navigation technology earlier this year.
As part of the withdrawal, the Airservices Navigation Rationalisation Project will also switch off very high frequency (VHF) omni-directional radio ranges, non-directional beacons and distance measuring equipment.
To replace the withdrawn procedures, straight-in area navigation (RNAV) approach procedures will be deployed at both ends of the runways of several airports.
A wide range of ground-based navaids have been made obsolete by modernisation in aeronautical technology.
Since 4 February, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority also required that global navigation satellite system (GNSS) technology be used for instrument flight rules (IFR) aircraft as their major means of navigation.
After an extensive consultation on the changes, air traffic control provider Airservices Australia issued three types of notices to airmen (NOTAMS) this month.
The NOTAMS alerted operators about a progressive shutdown that would take place during the withdrawal process.
Switching off the navaids will take approximately six weeks. The NOTAMs advised that the aids should not be used for navigation during this time, even though they continue to transmit an IDENT.
The shift to satellite navigation involves several benefits, include greater operational flexibility and a reduced requirement for ground-based aids, step-down and circling approaches, as well as decreased fuel burn and flight times.
Image: Australian ground-based navigation aids will be moved to satellite navigation technology. Photo: courtesy of Airservices Australia.