Africa News Bulletin

Madagascar: Satellite Navigation System – A Project in Progress

Targeting primarily the aviation sector, the Satellite-based Augmentation System (SBAS) should also support the development of other sectors such as agriculture.

SBAS is a satellite-based navigation system that complements and enhances the services provided by the constellations of base navigation and positioning satellites. This system offers its users a more reliable service with more precision and a high level of integrity. These applications are not limited to air navigation or air transport, but also benefit several sectors of activity such as land, maritime, rail transport, and even other broader disciplines such as agriculture, cartography, etc. . However, it is clear that it is the aviation sector that is particularly interested in this system.

At least for the moment As a reminder, the Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) signed a contract with the company Thales Alenia Space in February 2019. The deal concerned the carrying out of the study preliminary definition of the architecture (phase B) of its program of satellite augmentation services. It was explained on this occasion that ASECNA’s SBAS is based on the European program called “EGNOS” and aims, in accordance with its Strategic Orientation Plan (POS), to strengthen navigation and surveillance operations during of all phases of flight, and thus to significantly and sustainably improve the safety and efficiency of flights in its area of ​​responsibility.

Accuracy, reduced to the order of a meter, integrity, availability and continuity of services will be improved and guaranteed for security-related applications. It was also underlined that the study should allow ASECNA Member States to define the best option of the architecture that will support the provision of its SBAS services, and to have complete visibility on the following phases of development. , deployment and operation.

The study was financed by a grant from the Infrastructure Trust Fund (FFI) Africa – European Union, implemented within the framework of a financing agreement with the French Development Agency (AFD). Its technical management has benefited from the assistance of the European Commission and the European GNSS Agency within the framework of the international agreement linking ASECNA to the European Union, and also from the Center National des Etudes Spatiales (CNES) . The study was scheduled to last 18 months.

Nine suppliers identified

In April 2020, Thalès announced that the key point of architecture for the study of the satellite navigation system for Africa and the Indian Ocean has been concluded and has made it possible to validate the architecture and the geographical coverage of the system. . “These services will make it possible, from 2022, to increase the positioning performance provided by the existing satellite navigation constellations. The accuracy, availability or continuity of services will be improved and guaranteed for security-related applications”, it was also indicated before noting that other sectors of economic activity will also benefit from these services which are essential to support post-covid recovery, economic efficiency and sustainable development.

On the side of ASECNA, it was important to specify that beyond the definition of the architecture which will support the supply of SBAS services, the study also enabled the Member States of the organization to have a complete visibility on the next phases of development, deployment and operation of the SBAS system for Africa and the Indian Ocean. And during the first week of November, Madagascar hosted the 37th meeting of the Satellite Based Augmentation Systems Interoperability Working Group (SBAS IWG).

According to the organizers of the event held in Antananarivo, the meeting was a framework for discussions with SBAS service providers in order to share and appreciate each other’s experiences in order to find sustainable, reliable and efficient technical solutions in the to make the benefits of SBAS beneficial to all countries. To date, there are 9 SBAS providers in the world, namely: the United States, China, Japan, India, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, the European Union, Russia and Anga (for Africa by ASECNA).


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