India to implement satellite-based navigation system by July 2013

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India will introduce a new satellite-based navigation system by July 2013 and become the fourth country in the world to implement it.

The GPS-aided geo-augmented navigation system, also known as GAGAN, has been developed by the Airports Authority of India with support from the Indian Space Research Organisation.

It will cost Indian rupee (Rs) 7.74 billion ($146 million) and will help to upgrade the country's air traffic management (ATM) system, moving it away from the existing land-based system, says India's civil aviation minister Ajit Singh.

"This will be helpful for landing aircraft in tough weather and terrain," he adds. "This will also help in reducing flying time and fuel consumption by providing straight navigation."

GAGAN will help to improve accuracy, availability and integrity by using GPS for all phases of flight in airports that are equipped with the system. It will also have the ability to provide increased accuracy in position reporting, allowing for more uniform and high quality ATM systems, says Singh.

Trials of GAGAN signals have been carried out in Kozhikode, Hyderabad, Nagpur and Bangalore airports, and the results have been satisfactory so far, he adds.