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Centre to make indigenous navigation system mandatory for new aircrafts

The Centre is soon expected to issue the notification to make GAGAN, the indigenously developed navigation system, mandatory for new aircraft registered in the country from January 1, 2019.

This would enable the country to break free from the over-dependence on the international tech regime led by the Global Positioning System (GPS) of the United States and Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) of Russia, while also plugging the gap in covering the equatorial region.

Speaking to Express, sources in the Ministry of Civil Aviation confirmed that GAGAN (or GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation), jointly developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Airports Authority of India, is ready for full optimisation and has obtained an international certification for approach and precision landing operations (APV1/1.5) over the subcontinent.

The Director General of Civil Aviation has conducted rigorous ground tests for two years meeting the prescribed international civil aviation requirements, said ISRO chairman AS Kiran Kumar, adding that GAGAN-compliance would very soon be made mandatory for aircraft. “Any GAGAN-enabled receiver will provide accurate positional information which can be relied upon,” he said.

India is only the fourth country in the world to have the capability to provide certified satellite-based augmentation services over its Flight Information Region, thus elevating it to the group of elite nations that can provide a platform for transition to satellite based navigation.

Beyond independence, GAGAN also claims to have several operational advantages that would make it essential for the aircraft flying here, said officials. According to them, the system would give airlines the ability to derive maximum flexibility, capacity utilisation, fuel consumption with direct routeing and lower carbon footprint, which would encourage regional operators to make their aircraft GAGAN-ready.

This is also the first satellite-based augmentation system in the world to serve the equatorial region, which would bridge the gap between the European Union’s EGNOS and Japan’s MSAS coverage areas, thereby offering seamless navigation to the aviation industry.

Data from this three-satellite constellation for GAGAN – GSAT 8, 10 and 15 – is also useful in perimeter monitoring and identifying boundaries. “It is accurate to one metre,” said Kumar. He added that other user segments such as intelligent transportation, maritime, highways, railways, surveying, geodesy, security agencies, telecom industry and personal users of position location applications can make use of it.

The system is interoperable with other international systems like the US’ WAAS, European EGNOS, and Japanese MSAS etc. GAGAN’s geo footprint extends from Africa to Australia and has expansion capability for seamless navigation services across the region.

GAGAN provides the additional accuracy, availability, and integrity necessary for all phases of flight, from en route through approach for all qualified airports within the GAGAN service volume.

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