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pletely new technology, is enormous. One controller at Vilnius says that, while he accepts the need for a new, more powerful, ATC system, he is "still unsure" how it will work in practice. His boss, the director-general of air-traffic services, Vladimir Valujev, has no such doubts. As the man who singlehandedly pushed for the purchase of a new system, he remains confiEurocat 2000 customers include Australia and the Czech republic dent of its success. "We'll have completed the transfer from the tions given to aircraft as they pass through the sector. Instead, Vilnius is now equipped with a old system by Christmas," he says. paperless electronic strip system, complete In wanting to upgrade its ATC equipment, with large format pixel colour displays. Lithuania faced something of a "catch-22" sitThis replaces the original Russian equip- uation, since it had little cash with which to pay ment which has a recording system not seen in for an installation which would, eventually, the West for 40 years. Although it works well raise more than enough money to pay for itself and is typically rugged, the centre is incompat- through route charges. The solution proposed ible with new ATC equipment being installed by Thomson's financial services is novel and throughout Europe. It also lacks the capacity to may become a prototype for other countries in handle the increasing amount of traffic flying a similar situation. over Lithuania in 1992 there were just two airways over the country. Now there are 11. FRENCH GUARANTEE The deal with Thomson-CSF, worth $15 The French Government, through its export million, was signed in 1992 and the installa- credit bank, guaranteed a ten-year loan of $12 tion inaugurated on 24 November, three million, which was raised through a syndicate of weeks ahead of schedule. The system consists French banks (die remaining 20% was paid of the Eurocat centre for en mite and approach direcdy by the Lithuanian Government). An offcontrol at Vilnius, plus two radar stations, one shore bank account was then created by Swedish at Vilnius, the other at Klaipeda, in the west of agency Swedavia, into which the money collectthe country. ed from route charges is paid. From this, the Each of these has a TA 10MTD approach- payments to Thomson, which amount to $2.5 control radar, and an RSM 970 en route radar. million a year, can be subtracted. Data from the Klaipeda radar can be displayed The idea works because air-traffic projecat nearby Palanga. tions for Lithuania, which are projected to of air traffic in the There is also a VOR- reach 60,000 movements a year in 1995, are space of Lithuania DME [VHF omnidi- such that route charges will more than cover rectional radio- the loan repayments, raising between $4-5 RUSSIA distance-measuring million a year. equipment] station in Lithuania joins Eurocontrol on 1 January, Kaunas and two further 1995, which means that the Brussels-based to Siberia DME stations. An organisation for air-navigation safety applied a Asia extension of the system certain amount of scrutiny to the new system, Japan to Kaunas is envisaged, to ensure that it complied with the European China with a new approach- ATC harmonisation programme now under control centre connect- way throughout Europe. ed to the existing Eurocontrol's last-minute recommendations (Russian) Ekran 85 for the system led to a temporarily strained radar. relationship with Thomson, with agreement to The Vilnius controllers make certain changes being reached as late as have already had some the inauguration ceremony. "They wanted training in the use of compliance with standards that do not yet the new system. As with exist," says one industry source, "which, if carany ATC controller, ried out in full, would have cost an extra $4 however, the mental million to implement." change required to give Lithuania's next hope is to become the up a trusted means of regional centre for all three Baltic countries. ensuring anti-collision As one Lithuanian Government official notes, security, let alone that however, "...we're all growing too fast to talk of adapting to corn- about alliances".
FLIGHT INTERNATIONAL 7 - 13 December 1994

Lithuania has one of the world's most advanced ATC systems.


he end of the Cold War saw Lithuania moving faster than any other Baltic state to align its aviation system with that of the West. Lithuania was the first of the three Baltic states to take its airline away from Aeroflot control, in October 1991, and the first to lease a Western aircraft (a Boeing 737-200). Now, it has become the first country in the former Soviet Union to inaugurate a new air-trafficcontrol (ATC) system one of the most advanced of its type in the world. The Thomson-CSF Eurocat 2000 control centre installed at Vilnius airport disposes entirely of the paper strips used by most airtraffic controllers today to record the instrucPlanning air