Instrument landing system upgrade for Melbourne Airport

25 Sep 2013

Airservices has commenced upgrade works on the existing instrument landing system (ILS) installed on the main runway at Melbourne Airport to enable enhanced navigation for pilots during low visibility conditions.

An ILS is a radio navigation aid that supports the movement of air traffic into the airport, particularly during fog or bad weather.

The essential works include increasing the size of the localiser antenna array at the southern end of the main runway (Runway 16). Works are scheduled to conclude by mid November with re-certification in two phases by mid May 2014.

The localiser, one of two key transmitters of an ILS, provides pilots with lateral guidance to the runway.

During the works, the ILS will need to be removed from service. Pilots will be able to make use of other navigation aids including VHF omni-directorial range (VOR), area navigation (RNAV) and Smart Tracking (satellite-based technology) for approaches to Runway 16.

Airservices Executive General Manager Projects and Engineering, Mark Rodwell, said the upgrade to the ILS will improve accuracy and assurance for pilots to navigate to the runway when visibility is reduced.

“The work will enable Melbourne Airport to continue providing a Category IIlB landing service after this upgrade and re-certification are complete,” Mr Rodwell said.

“A Category IIlB ILS allows a reduced decision making height for pilots down to 50 feet (above the ground) in the event of low visibility.”

Melbourne Airport is the only airport in Australia that has a Category lll ILS.

ILS equipment around Australia is being upgraded or replaced by Airservices to ensure reliability and integrity of the landing systems until 2025.