While GPS is currently leading the pack in terms of satnav system implementation, at a recent UN International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems conference it was clear that competing systems are getting closer and could overtake it during the next decade. Presentations from Europe, Russia and China described active developments of worldwide satnav constellations, while India and Japan are moving ahead with regional networks.
Global navigation satellite system
Accord Technology (Booth No. 520) is promoting its NexNav line of GPS WAAS receiver technology, which supports LP/LPV approaches and new ADS-B standards. A joint venture of Accord Software & Systems of Bangalore, India, and NexGen Avionics, Accord is also announcing appointments of R. Shenoy Manur, CEO; Hal Adams, COO; and Randy Shimon, v-p, engineering and compliance.
Eurocontrol might ask the European Commission to use some of the money expected to be saved by the planned decommissioning of VOR and NDB beacons to sponsor the development of avionics that would enable general aviation aircraft to operate in the sort of controlled airspace envisioned by the single European sky air traffic management (ATM) research (Sesar) program.
How times change. In the 1990s, the Departments of State and Commerce, backed by the Department of Defense and the GPS industry, were busy persuading foreign nations that with GPS available to everyone worldwide, they shouldn’t waste their money launching their own satnav systems. But the genie got out of the bottle anyway.
It’s certainly a comforting feeling, watching the avionics techs remove old black boxes from your airplane and replace them with the latest units on the market. You’ll now enjoy much better performance, vastly improved reliability, great warranty support and the latest technology that money can buy–but not for long.
Operators in the future will possibly be able to use X-rays from pulsating stars–or pulsars– light years away from earth to navigate with the same accuracy as GPS.
The FAA has issued a technical standard order and blanket installation approval covering 850 aircraft models for the CNX80 all-in-one GPS navcom from Salem, Ore.-based UPS Aviation Technologies. The company, a subsidiary of parcel shipping giant UPS, lays claim to being one of the first avionics manufacturers to gain FAA certification for a GPS receiver approved for WAAS instrument approaches.
European nations apparently have resolved their objections over budgeting of Galileo, Europe’s $4.2 billion rival to GPS. Several EU nations had voiced concern about Galileo’s high cost, with some countries, most recently Spain, complaining they had been left out of commercial bidding negotiations. Under the final plan, Spain’s share increases from 9.5 percent to 10.25 percent. The cost of Galileo is being shared by 15 European countries.
Last year was a challenging time for Galileo, Europe’s fledgling global navigation satellite system (GNSS). It started with the collapse of the private consortium established to build the system and culminated in European Union transport ministers making a “do or die” decision to allow the European Commission (EC) to manage the project in conjunction with the European Space Agency (ESA).
Europe approved funding late last month to launch full development of the Galileo satellite navigation system, which will provide the EU with an alternative to GPS. Go-ahead for Galileo addresses Europe’s concerns that GPS is vulnerable to the wartime whim of its operator, the U.S. Department of Defense. Establishing the system is expected to cost $3 billion and employ 100,000 people.