Satellite navigation services provision in the Africa and Indian Ocean region takes a major step forward

Satellite navigation services provision in the Africa and Indian Ocean region takes a major step forward

The agency for Air Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) study on satellite navigation has aligned with Thales Alenia Space and ASECNA in the development and operation of complex satellite navigation systems.

The definition study for the satellite-based augmentation system “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” took a major step forward, with validation of the system’s architecture and geographic coverage. This marked a major milestone in the development of this system designed by Thales Alenia Space, the joint company between Thales and Leonardo, within the scope of the preliminary design study (phase B) contract signed in February 2019 ASECNA.

The ASECNA programme “SBAS for Africa and Indian Ocean” is based on the European EGNOS programme. In line with the ASECNA’s strategic plan, this programme aims to enhance navigation and surveillance operations for all phases of flight, thus providing a significant and sustainable improvement in flight safety and efficiency over the African continent.

Planned from 2022, these services will be used to augment the positioning accuracy provided by current satellite navigation constellations, including GPS and Galileo. The new system will improve accuracy to within a meter, while also boosting the integrity, availability and continuity of safety-related applications. In addition to aviation, it will benefit land, sea and rail transport in post Covid-19 changing environment, as supporting user safety, cost-effectiveness and sustainable development. In addition to defining the system’s architecture to support these SBAS services, the study will provide ASECNA and its member States a clear view of the development, deployment and operation of the “SBAS for Africa and the Indian Ocean”.

This study is being carried out jointly by ASECNA and Thales Alenia Space, with funding from the European Union, as part of an ambitious programme to develop the aviation sector in Africa. Set for completion by the end of the year, it also includes the provision of a pre-operational service, along with field demonstrations of how to use the service in conjunction with partner airlines. Thales Alenia Space has now completed acceptance testing of the demonstrator, which will subsequently be deployed at various sites.