India: India’s GPS aided Geo Augmented Navigation (Gagan) system will be operational by June or July 2013, according to a senior Airports Authority of India (AAI) official. With a Gagan-enhanced GPS device, aircraft will get far more accurate figures while landing, take-off and in-flight, say within 10 metres of the spot compared to the earlier figure of 70 metres. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is expected to certify the system by the middle of next year, after which the services will roll out, the official, who is working closely with the system but did not want to be named, said.
All aircraft flying within and into the country need to install a small patch of sensor or receiver to get Gagan signals. New aircraft will come fitted with it, while older ones have to be retrofitted. It may cost airlines USD 2,000-5,000 apiece, the official said.
The AAI and ISRO have jointly developed the three-antenna Gagan worth INR 770 crore. The first payload was put up in 2011 on GSAT-8 and the third will be sent up in the coming months on GSAT-9.
One antenna is enough to start the operations. The civil aviation sector needs the other two as standbys to ensure the continuity of the service, said T.K. Alex, Vikram Sarabhai Professor. The now ubiquitous GPS, a US military system that is being shared globally, however, shows many inaccuracies, which Gagan has fine-tuned and made a lot more reliable and hence safe for lives, he said. Small town airports need not invest in ground instruments such as the instrument landing system.
Once Gagan gets going, India would join the US, Europe and Japan who have the same level of space-based augmentation. This would enable seamless air navigation across these regions, Dr. Alex said.
Source: The Hindu