IRAM

About

Institute of Radar Meteorology (Russian Federation) exists as a separate legal entity from August 1991.

In 2003 IRAM received state accreditation in the Ministry of Industry, Science and Technology and is currently registered also as a research organization of the Russian Federation in the field of meteorology.

IRAM develops, manufactures and delivers modern technologies of meteorological support for various industries.

Range of products of IRAM gives the possibility to fully implement these technologies into practice. For example, IRAM can offer and install turnkey systems of meteorological support for ICAO III Category Airports, systems of meteorological support for integrated ATC centers, systems of meteorological support system for road administrations, systems for meteorological observation for Regional Centers of Hydrometeorological Services.

IRAM employs about 50 people, 6 of them have a scientific degree. It operates in Voeikovo, near St. Petersburg.

As it is said on the official website of the entity, in total IRAM has delivered and installed in Russia and other countries more than 700 workstations for weather support. Systems are installed at more than 80 airports and other objects in 10 countries of the former Soviet Union.

Main activities 

  • Development, manufacturing and introduction of automated systems for meteorological support to various industries, including aviation, road transport, marine, rail, urban public utilities.
  • Conducting scientific and methodological work in the field of meteorology.
  • Development of technical tools and software.
  • Carrying out works on servicing and modernization of hydro-meteorological equipment.

 Controversy

According to the website of ARSATS (Aero Navigational Service of unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic), IRAM equipped the newly constructed Stepanakert Airport (formerly known as Khojaly Airport) with KRAMS-4 automated airport weather station (AWOS).

AWOS KRAMS-4 is designed to measure and gather meteorological information about the main parameters of the atmosphere at the airport, processing this information, the formation of meteorological messages, displaying, recording and disseminating information through communication channels to ensure the take-off and landing of aircraft.

According to IRAM’s website, as of 1 March 2017, AWOS KRAMS-4 were installed in 114 airdromes, heliports and helipads of the following countries: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. Among them 49 international airports, I-III category of ICAO.

Though there is no official information on the website regarding the installation of the system in Stepanakert Airport.

It should be noted, that Stepanakert Airport is an airport in Khojaly, near Stepanakert (Khankandi), capital city of unrecognized NKR, which is an internationally recognized part of Azerbaijan.

The airport has been under the control of the Armenian forces since 1992. Regular flights ceased to take place with the escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1990.

As the airport lies within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan, and the current government is unrecognized, there are no codes for the airport in the official IATA list. No official flights are being conducted.

Airport is allegedly used for illegal operations, including shipments of drugs from Afghanistan via Central Asia and Iran.

In 2009, de facto Nagorno-Karabakh authorities began the reconstruction of the facilities. Though originally scheduled to launch the first commercial flights on May 9, 2011, NKR officials postponed a new reopening date throughout the whole of 2011.

In May 2012, the director of so called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Civil Aviation Administration, Tigran Gabrielyan, announced that the airport would begin operations in mid-2012.

However, the airport still remains closed due to security reasons and strong protests from Azerbaijan.

Reactions

Shortly after so called Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Civil Aviation Department's statement announcing the May 9, 2011 opening date, Arif Mammadov, director of Azerbaijan’s Civil Aviation Administration warned that according to aviation laws, flights from Yerevan to Stepanakert are not authorized and may be shot down.

President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan in response said that he would be the first passenger on inaugural Yerevan-Stepanakert flight.

The Azerbaijani Presidential Administration condemned Sargsyan's statement as a provocation.

The United States Assistant Secretary, Philip Gordon, as well as then ambassadors to Azerbaijan and Armenia, Matthew Bryza and Marie L. Yovanovitch, respectively, advised that issues related to the security of the airport should be solved before its opening.

The OSCE Minsk Group, which mediates the conflict, reaffirmed that the operation of this airport could not be used to support any claim of a change in the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, and urged the sides to act in accordance with international law and consistent with current practice for flights over their territory.

A number of individuals and groups have openly voiced their opposition to the opening of the airport, including the United States ambassador to Azerbaijan Richard Morningstar who stated in November 2012 he was "convinced that the functioning of the airport would not help the peace process."

On April 14, 2011, twenty-three members from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) endorsed a declaration condemning “the construction by Armenia of an airport in the occupied Azerbaijani territories.” The document stresses that the construction is contrary to the norms of international law. The declaration required Yerevan to stop the airport construction.

The Turkish government condemned the efforts of Armenia to open the airport, and reiterated that it will close its air space to Armenia, if the opening goes ahead.

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