French technology group Thales will develop, under a European Union project, satellite navigation equipment that can process signals from two competing systems.
To be flight tested on an ATR turboprop, the technology will be able to access both the US GPS and European Galileo systems.
Launched by the EU’s Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, the four-year effort is called EDG²E, which stands for equipment for dual frequency Galileo, GPS and EGNOS. The latter is a space-based augmentation system which allows an aircraft's position, altitude and velocity to be accurately determined.
Thales will lead a consortium on the project, including ATR, Thales Alenia Space, French technology firm AKKA, Dassault and France’s civil aviation authority DGAC.
ATR says the dual-frequency, multi-constellation receiver will facilitate “enhanced navigation capabilities” and that a prototype will be trialled on one of the manufacturer’s test aircraft by 2021.
The Toulouse-based airframer – which is jointly owned by Airbus and Leonardo – sees the project as an opportunity to explore “technical topics and solutions that are specific to regional aviation”.
Thales Avionics vice-president for research and technology Philippe Benquet states the equipment will make navigation “more precise and thus safer” and will be “unleashing potential for increased air traffic”.
He sees service entry for the equipment by 2025.