Universal Avionics is on track to win certification of the first satellite-navigation (satnav) receiver capable of using both the US global-positioning system (GPS)and Russian Glonass navigation constellations.

The company, best known for its UNS-1 range of flight-management systems, is using a combined GPS/Glonass receiver-processor board provided by US satnav specialist Ashtech.

Universal is relying on indications that the US Federal Aviation Administration will accept that the concerns over Glonass are irrelevant, providing there is adequate on-board monitoring of the signal from the Russian system.

Use of the combined constellations, totalling 48 satellites, provides unprecedented system availability and, in principle, the chance for each system to help monitor the integrity of the other.

Ashtech believes that concerns within Western aviation authorities about Russia's capability to maintain the Glonass constellation in a reliable condition will prove ill-founded. The company itself has a 100-strong development centre in Moscow which is largely staffed by Russians "-involved in designing the user element of Glonass".

Source: Flight International