Russia, India may jointly make Glonass, GPS navigation devices

Russia and India might establish a joint venture to produce navigation equipment for GPS and its Russian equivalent Glonass, the head of the Russian federal satellite navigation operator said on Tuesday.

Glonass – the Global Navigation Satellite System – is the Russian equivalent of the U.S. Global Positioning System, or GPS, and is designed for both military and civilian use. Both systems allow users to determine their positions to within a few meters.

“We are actively working on a project to establish a joint venture on Indian territory to produce various navigation equipment. In March a group of our negotiators will head there for another round of talks,” said Aledxander Gurko, CEO of Navigation and Information Systems (NIS).

Russia currently has a total of 22 Glonass satellites in orbit, but only 16 of them are operational. The system requires 18 operational satellites for continuous navigation services covering the entire territory of Russia and at least 24 satellites to provide navigation services worldwide.

The Glonass navigation satellite system is expected to start operating worldwide by the end of 2010. As soon as global operations are launched, India will be able to use the civilian signal, allowing users to determine their position to within five to 15 meters.

India’s access to a more precise military signal is yet to be approved by the heads of the two states.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he would discuss cooperation in the Glonass project with Indian officials during his forthcoming visit to New Delhi in the first half of March.

Source: RIA Novosti