KUALA LUMPUR, 29 Apr. –  Engineering experts from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) led by Prof. Dr. Sevia Mahdaliza Idrus had successfully executed technology transfer in high end radio over technology from Japan to Malaysia through conducting the field trial of High-Precision Foreign Object Debris Detection Systems (FODDS) to strengthen the operational safety in Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

The KLIA is the second airport equipped with radio over fiber FODDS after Narita Airport, and a promising solution to enhance security against intruders or attacking drones in important facilities and to enhance safety to avoid critical incident in the airport runways.

The FODDS radar, will be able to detect 3cm foreign object debris within the range of 500 meters in 10 seconds by using the millimeter wave radar over optical fiber technology.

Foreign Object Debris or FOD is defined as any object located in an appropriate location in the airport environment that has the capacity to injure airport or airline personnel and damage aircraft which can cause damage to aircraft as well as injury airport employees.

The system consists of 96 GHz radar supported with high resolution cameras to ensure high quality images as these images will alert the operator about the foreign object existences at the runway.

It also enables real-time data collection thus expediting the investigation process in identifying FOD sources and facilitating fast runway clearing process.

According to Prof. Sevia, the FOD detection systems can spot FOD the moment it is deposited on the runway before it becomes problem, and this is extremely valuable as aircraft takeoffs or touch down are only minutes apart.

“By having this system, we can avoid a lot of unwanted accidents on runway caused by FOD, like once happened to Concorde, Air France Flight 4590 that killed 100 passengers in the year 2000,” she said.

The field trial of Linear-Cell Radar over Fiber FOD detection system at KLIA is a tripartite collaborative effort by UTM, Hitachi Kokusai Electric and Malaysia Airport Holding Berhad (operator of KLIA) and was part of International transfer technology initiative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications Japan.

“UTM in this project is responsible on the design, development and construction of the system’s infrastructure as well as to test and evaluate the system to ensure that the instrument used will achieve the field trial objective to improve the airside operation,” she added.

The advantages of the system include its low operational cost, low emission of radio waves, and most importantly a highly scalable system for busy airports.

Other benefits include the reliability that comes with a computerized system that reduces the possibility of human error and offers the ability to continuously monitor the runway 24/7, without having to delay airport operations to perform routine FOD runway checks,” she added.

Previously, the project has been certified with the 96GHz Spectrum License after receiving the Apparatus Assignment certificate for FODDS radar by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

The first FODDS RAU was launched by the Transport Minister, The Honourable Anthony Loke Siew Fook and Mr Yosua Tawara, Director General of MIC Japan on 29 April 2019 at Runway 2, KLIA.

The launching will remark the beginning of the high impact project until the completion of the system infrastructure for all 12 radar units by end of this year.

“After the completion, we will continue with the Second Phase of the Field Trial until 2023, which is to evaluate the RAU works according actual airports operation and considering local environment conditions.

It is projected to be fully completed after all the data during monsoon and non-monsoon season are compiled and tested,” she said.

The FODDS was officiated by the Deputy Transport Minister, Datuk Haji Kamarudin bin Jaffar and was also attended by Director-General, Radio Department, Telecommunications Bureau of Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication Japan, Chairman of Malaysia Airports, Tan Sri Datuk Zainun Ali, President of Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc, Mr Kaichiro Sakuma and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (UTM Kuala Lumpur Campus), Prof. Dr. Shamsul bin Sahibuddin.