New Delhi: India Tuesday launched a satellite-based navigation system to aid air traffic in the region and joined a select club of nations which have similar capabilities.
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel launched the Global Position System Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) based on a constellation of 24 satellites positioned in six earth-centred orbital planes.
GAGAN will provide seamless coverage of air traffic from south Asia to Africa and connect to the systems of Europe and Japan. It is also expected to enhance marine and transport navigation, search and rescue operations, survey and mapping.
"This system is expected to provide enhanced navigation performance for critical applications like civil aviation, marine navigation, train and road transport," said a ministry official.
At present, only the United States, European Union and Japan have such a system.
Airport officials said the system will enable airlines to chart out direct routes as they will be less dependent on the ground-based radar systems, save fuel and increase efficiency.
GAGAN is a joint initiative of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The system provides enhanced safety features for the airlines as they would be able to have precision approach guidance towards runways in any weather conditions, the officials said. It will also increase air-to-air surveillance.