“On 29th May 2023, ISRO successfully launched the GSLV-F12 NVS-01 mission, deploying the second-generation NavIC satellite into space. The NVS-01 satellite is the first of the new series aimed at enhancing the Navigation with Indian Constellation, NavIC services. After a flight of about 19 minutes, the 2232kg NVS-01 satellite was injected precisely into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.”
The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), also known as Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC), is India’s indigenous satellite navigation system developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Indian strategic, military, and commercial equipment mostly receive Positional, Navigational and Timing (PNT) signals from NAVSTAR GPS with redundancy established from GLONASS constellation operating in L-band. It is well established that L- Band navigational signals are prone to Jamming/ Spoofing. In order to ensure uninterrupted availability of PNT signals, Indian systems receive signals from both GLONASS and GPS besides receiving GPS augmentation signals from GAGAN and field DGPS corrections.
IRNSS/ NavIC has been operational for over 5 years and the stabilisation of PNT signals have now been integrated with the existing systems in India, with industry coming forward with different forms of receivers. The much-desired migration to IRNSS is inevitable, with assured supply of receivers to all the stakeholders. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH) has already issued directions through Gazette notification and DGCA has issued necessary directives to migrate compulsorily to NavIC in their respective areas of domain. The migration to IRNSS is necessary for the Armed Forces and Indian commercial entities at large. Some of the reasons are listed out as under: –
The GPS services globally are known for their inter-state integration and use-cases. Taking cue from this, China and Russia have collaborated to operate Beidou and GLONASS constellations jointly in their countries. Six sites in China and Russia have been formalised for joint provision of cooperative navigation, communication, and surveillance systems. This joint venture has planned even to establish a monitoring station inside China for sharing of timing & radio codes and accordingly have jointly developed a chip-receiver for both constellations. Indian industry has now come out with indigenously developed receivers in the desired small form factor with own programmable codes. The much-needed migration and upgradation to IRNSS could now be undertaken on war-footing for all the Indian equipment. The equipment which are probable case for upgradation are: –
(b) Aircraft/ Aerially operated equipment.
(c) All naval equipment.
(e) Commercial Drones/ UAVs.
(f) Ruggedized communication equipment.
The migration to IRNSS is critical for national security and has several advantages over other global navigation systems:
Rollout Plan. As part of the rollout plan, Government of India has undertaken the following initiatives: –
NVS 01. The NVS-01 is the first of the second-generation satellites envisioned for the NavIC services. This new series of satellites aims to enhance and expand the capabilities of the NavIC system. What sets the NVS series apart is the incorporation of L1 band signals, in addition to other features, to provide a wider range of services. Furthermore, the NVS-01 satellite features an indigenous atomic clock, a remarkable achievement for the Indian space program.
The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is critical for India to address its military, civilian, and strategic needs without relying on external support. The assured and enhanced accuracy enables applications in various domains, such as vehicle tracking, fleet management, disaster management, and precise timing. The security offered through a domestic navigation system to India in the event of conflicts or disputes is a critical consideration for migrating to IRNSS. NavIC ensures that India’s defence and security establishments have an uninterrupted and accurate source of location data. IRNSS is vital to India to accrue benefits for India’s strategic, economic, technological development, enhancing domestic capabilities and ensuring a more secure and self-reliant future.
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