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ASECNA launches study to supply satellite navigation services in Africa

Contract signed between the agency and TAS in Dakar

The Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA) signed a contract with Thales Alenia Space (TAS), the joint-company between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), on February 8 in Dakar to conduct a preliminary design study (phase B) for its program to develop a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS). ASECNA’s SBAS is based on EGNOS (European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service). In line with the agency’s strategic plan, it aims to enhance navigation and surveillance operations during all flight phases, as well as significantly and sustainably improve flight safety and efficiency in the areas under its responsibility.

Starting in 2021-22, these services will improve the positioning performance of existing satellite navigation systems, such as GPS or Galileo. The new system will improve precision, down to within a meter, integrity, availability and continuity, guaranteed for safety-related applications. Other business sectors, including maritime, rail and road transport, as well as agriculture, could benefit from these services, which will help drive economic and social development.

The phase B study should enable countries belonging to ASECNA to define the best system architecture to support the delivery of SBAS services, and to ensure transparency during the following development, deployment and operational phases. The study is being financed by a grant from the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (EU-AITF), through a financing agreement with the French Development Agency (AFD). The European Commission and GSA (European GNSS Agency) will provide technical assistance as part of an international agreement between ASECNA and the European Union, also including the French space agency CNES (Centre National des Etudes Spatiales).

The design study to be carried out by TAS will last for 18 months. During this period, the airlines associated with this program will be able to test a pre-operational service.

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