Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Civil Aviation (Gaca) has awarded a SR222m ($59m) contract to US-based Raytheon to provide a network of radars across the kingdom.

Under the terms of the contract Raytheon will manufacture and install 21 new civilian radar systems over a three-year period. The radars will cover the entire Saudi airspace and monitor air traffic routes at altitudes of 4,572 metres and above.

Once the system is fully operational, it will enable air traffic controllers to reduce the distance between aircraft, increasing capacity of the airspace above the kingdom.

The system will also reduce the time needed for flights thereby saving time and fuel.

Raytheon will also provide technical support and maintenance for 15 years. This involves the company training Gaca technicians and engineers on the setting up of the system and its maintenance.