- An IndiGo-operated aircraft landed at Kishangarh airport using an approach process guided by India’s own satellite-based augmentation system named GAGAN, or GPS-aided GEO Augmented Navigation.
- India is the first country in the Asia Pacific Region to achieve this.
- Deadline: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had set a deadline of July 1, 2021 for all India-registered aircraft to be equipped with GAGAN-compliant instruments.
- Most of India’s fleet is now compliant with GAGAN standards.
- The only exception is the Boeing 787 aircraft.
- India joined a small group comprising the US, Japan and Europe with its own satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS).
- While the SBAS developed by the US, Japan, Europe and India are already operational, there are several more under development.
- These include:
- China’s BeiDou SBAS
- South Korea’s Korea Augmentation Satellite System (KASS)
- Russia’s System for Differential Corrections and Monitoring (SDCM)
- Southern Positioning Augmentation Network (SPAN) of Australia and New Zealand.
- It is a part of the approval process with aviation safety regulator DGCA, which includes training of pilots, validation of approach and simulator sessions.
- The procedure will be available for usage of commercial flights.
Satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS)
- The SBAS is a navigation system, which builds on the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GLONASS), and adds to the accuracy and integrity of these navigation tools.
- For aircraft operators, both civilian and military, it means that pilots can land aircraft at smaller airports and airstrips using navigation guidance without expensive instrument-based landing systems being installed on the ground.
What is GAGAN?
- Developed by: GAGAN is an Indian Space-based Augmented Navigation System, jointly developed by AAI and ISRO.
- It is used to provide lateral and vertical guidance as an aircraft approaches the runway for landing. Its precision is especially useful at small airports.
- It is the first such system developed for India and neighbouring countries in the equatorial region.
- Main objectives of GAGAN are to provide Satellite-based Navigation services with accuracy and integrity required for civil aviation applications and to provide better Air Traffic Management over Indian Airspace.
- It aids during natural disasters like floods and earthquakes by sending messages to affected people.
- GAGAN uses a system of ground stations in Delhi, Guwahati, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Bengaluru, Jammu and Port Blair to provide necessary augmentation to the GPS navigation signal.
- A network of precisely surveyed ground reference stations is strategically positioned across the country to collect GPS satellite data.
- The system will be interoperable with other international SBAS systems and provide seamless navigation across regional boundaries.
- The GAGAN Signal-In-Space (SIS) is available through GSAT-8 and GSAT-10.
Significance of GAGAN
- Smaller airports will benefit: Once fully rolled out, it will make several smaller airports such as those in the North-East capable of having compliant aircraft land in low-visibility scenarios.
- Poor weather and low visibility: This new technology provides a substantial operational benefit in poor weather and low visibility conditions.
- Safety: Aircraft can derive maximum benefit in terms of improved safety during landing, reduction in fuel consumption, reduction in delays, diversions and cancellations etc
- Tool to alert before natural disaster: AAI in coordination with Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has implemented GAGAN Message Service (GMS) through which alert messages to fishermen, farmers, and disaster affected people will be sent on the occurrence of natural disasters, calamities, such as flood, earthquake etc.
- Non-aviation field: The additional capabilities of GAGAN are also being explored to utilise it in non-aviation fields such as railways, surveying, agriculture, power sector, mining etc.
- Other benefits: While GAGAN is primarily meant for aviation, it will provide benefits to several other segments such as intelligent transportation, maritime, highways, railways, security agencies, telecom, etc.