NavIC – India’s indigenous satellite navigation system all set to launch

India felt the need of an indigenous navigation system during the Kargil War when the nation approached the US for GPS data of that particular region to ascertain the positions of the enemy combatants, but India’s appeal was denied b the U.S. for this reason, the Indian Armed forces suffered large numbers of casualties.

Nearly two decades have past and that need is on the verge of being met as India is set to launch NavIC, India’s own GPS which would challenge those of the west. Ajay Prakash Sawhney, the IT secretary told a news outlet that in order to popularize the platform a request for proposal (ROP) has been called.

The GPS was named NavIC by the incumbent Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi after the last of the seven satellites namely Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) 1G was launched in 2016. The Indian GPS relies on seven satellites whereas the US has 24 satellites for their GPS, Russia has GLONASS and European Union has Gallelio. With this launch, India will be in a club of very few countries with their own satellite navigation systems.

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NavIC is said to be much more accurate than its American counterpart, with NavIC’s position accuracy of 5 meters and the GPS’s 20-30 meters. The NavIC covers India and 1,500 kilometres from the country’s border, the cost of India’s indigenous satellite navigation programme has been estimated to be around 1,400 crores.

It will aid in terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation. It is also technologically more superior than the American GPS as Tapan Mishra explained to a news organization last year the India system has a dual frequency (S and L bands). GPS, on the other hand, is dependent only on one band – L band. Low-frequency signals travel through the atmosphere and its velocity is subjected to atmospheric disturbances. US banks on the atmospheric model to assess frequency error and it has to update this model from time to time to assess the exact error. In India’s case, NavIC measures the difference in delay of dual frequency (S and L bands) and can assess the actual delay. Therefore the Indian system is not dependent on any model to find the frequency error and is more accurate than GPS.

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