Latest Update Related to GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation System (GAGAN).
The DGCA certificate issued to Airports Authority of India (AAI) for Indian Satellite-based navigation GAGAN system earlier on April 21, 2015, for a five-year period is about to lapse on April 21, 2020. Has the certificate been renewed by AAI yet or has Covid-19 delayed the same? Let’s understand why the DGCA certificate is important and what will happen if the certificate expires?
The Air Navigation Services provider certificate issued by the Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to Airports Authority of India (AAI) certifying the GPS-Aided GEO Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system for a period of 60 months (five years) from the date of issue being April 21, 2015 is about to lapse soon.
The certificate authorizing the holder AAI, to provide the facility to operate as navigational aids to support air traffic services for all users on equal terms and conditions is on the verge of expiry. This certificate will be suspended, modified or withdrawn in case of any violations of the provisions of the Aircraft Act, 1934 and the Aircraft rules, 1937.
In 2019, the ministry of Civil aviation postponed the requirement for aircraft registered in India to be equipped with GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation system (GAGAN) compatible avionics from January 2019 mandated earlier to June 30, 2020. “All the aircraft being imported for registration on or after 30.06.2020 shall be required to be suitably equipped with GAGAN equipment,” the public notice published by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.
What is GAGAN and how does it help?
GAGAN stands for GPS Aided GEO Augmented Navigation system. It is a system of satellites and ground stations that provides GPS signals to provide better position accuracy. GAGAN is a Space-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) jointly developed by ISRO and AAI to provide the best possible navigational services over Indian FIR (Flight Information Region) with the capability of expanding to neighbouring FIRs.
With the certification of GAGAN for approach and landing operations (APV 1) on 21st April 2015, India has become the third country in the world to have such capabilities. GAGAN is the first system in the world to have implemented in the equatorial Ionosphere region. The GAGAN system is designed to help pilots navigate successfully under all-weather conditions by the accuracy of up to three meters, this capability would enable aircraft landing even on tough terrain and extreme weather. It will allow an aircraft to reduce fuel burn by flying on a specific path on straight routes and between two three-dimensional defined points.
To provide better position accuracy, the GAGAN system corrects itself for GPS signal errors caused by ionosphere disturbances, timing and satellite orbit errors and also it provides vital information regarding the health of each satellite. The GAGAN system offers services to aviation, railways signalling, location-based services, scientific research for atmospheric studies, mobile and tourism.
As mentioned on the portal, currently two GEOs simultaneously transmit the GAGAN signal in space. The footprint of GAGAN GEO expands from Africa to Australia. The system has the capability to serve 45 reference stations for expansion to neighbouring countries.
GAGAN’s civil aeronautical navigation signal is consistent with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) as established by the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Panel.
What will happen if the DGCA certificate expires?
The Director-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) formed a Technical Review Team (TRT) to examine specific safety-related artefacts and hazard records and to provide recommendations for resolving any observed issues. Initially, the DGCA certified GAGAN for en route operations (RNP 0.1) on December 30, 2013, and subsequently on April 21, 2015, for precision approach services (APV 1). APV1-certified GAGAN signals are being broadcast since May 19, 2015, according to the website.
If the DGCA certification expires, amid the coronavirus outbreak exemptions from the aviation controller can be availed by AAI. However, without accurate GPS signalling provided by GAGAN system, it will be difficult for pilots to take off flights on rough terrain and bad weather conditions.