The final test of India's ambitious Gagan air traffic management and aircraft navigation system will be conducted later this year following the integration of a satellite with ground-based centres across the country.
The Rs 644 crore project, being jointly executed by the Indian Space Research Organisation and Airports Authority of India, is meant to provide augmented information for satellite navigation to aircraft flying over Indian airspace.
Officials of US defence major Raytheon, which integrated the ground-based systems with the INMARSAT geo-stationary satellite, said the final technology demonstration test of the Gagan system would be conducted later this year.
"The integration of the systems is ongoing and the final test will be conducted this summer or in the third quarter of this year," Jack Costello, vice president of Raytheon's Network Centric Systems, told PTI at the Paris Air Show.
Once the test is completed, Raytheon will work with ISRO and AAI for the complete implementation of the system, the officials said. They made it clear that a final decision in this regard would have to be taken by the Indian authorities.
Costello said tests following the integration of the satellite with the uplink stations had been completed successfully. The Gagan system also envisages providing information to aircraft for navigation over the seas bordering India, where it is difficult to provide conventional navigational signals.
The Gagan system will have eight reference stations, including centres in Delhi, Guwahati, Jammu and Port Blair, and a mission control centre in Bangalore. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is involved in the training process for the certification of the system.
Costello also said Raytheon was keen on expanding its "very healthy partnership" with ISRO, especially in view of the growth of the satellite launch market in India.
Walt Doran, president of Raytheon Asia, said the company was working on a mini-radio frequency payload that would be put by the US Navy on Chandrayaan-I, India's first unmanned mission to the moon. This package of sensors will map the permanently dark lunar polar regions and look for potential water ice deposits.