BeiDou system guides China-developed jets
China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite (BDS) System has been tested on the nation’s domestically developed jets, including the C919 and ARJ21, to reduce the dependence on the US Global Positioning System (GPS) in aircraft navigation.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has released a three-step plan to make BDS one of the main navigation systems for passenger aircraft, Gu Xin, director general of the Shanghai Aircraft Airworthiness Certification Center of CAAC, told the Civil Avionics International Forum 2020 in Shanghai on Wednesday.
By the end of 2021, the BDS system will be applied in the positioning, navigation and monitoring of low-latitude general aviation. Demonstration applications will be developed on the C919, China’s first home-developed single-aisle passenger jet, by then, Gu told the forum.
The BDS system will cover the whole civil aviation industry and offer accurate, safe and reliable navigation services for passenger aircraft, general aviation jets and drones by the end of 2035, according to CAAC. The applications of BDS will also be further promoted globally.
The BeiDou system is one of the four global navigation satellite systems in the world. The other three are GPS, Galileo from the European Union and GLONASS from Russia.
China launched the last BDS satellite in June, marking the completion of its own global navigation system. It later declared the official commissioning of the newly completed BDS-3 system for global users.
"The application of BDS on China’s civil aviation sector will be developed from easy to difficult, from portable to airborne, as well as from monitoring to navigation," Gu said. He noted the BDS has been applied in multiple fields with high accuracy and reliable performances, but remains at the starting point of civil aviation.
He said the airworthiness center has established a team specializing in airworthiness tests and standardization for the aviation applications of BDS.
Over a dozen officials, industry leaders and experts from home and abroad attended the forum and shared the latest research on avionics. The forum, to be held through Thursday, is jointly hosted by Chinese Society of Aeronautics and Astronautics as well as Chinese Aeronautical Establishment.
Some monitoring equipment based on BDS have been installed on three C919s to support their ongoing test flights, said Wang Yu, the sales manager with Beijing-based Hwa Future Technology.
The C919, with 168 seats and a range of 5,555 kilometers, will compete for orders with the Airbus 320 neo and the Boeing 737 MAX. Six C919 prototypes are carrying out tests across China, since the first C919 made its maiden flight from Shanghai on May 5, 2017.
Other products of the company based on BDS have been installed on the ARJ21 regional jet and the China-developed AG600 amphibious aircraft.
“BDS will definitely replace GPS as the main navigation system for China’s civil aviation industry,” Wang said. “It is technically feasible.”
Civil Aviation University of China has been cooperating with Air China to carry out tests on the application of BDS on passenger aircraft. By the end of 2020, a total of 20 Air China aircraft, including the Boeing 737 and Airbus 321, will be installed with BDS equipment.
“The BDS system has its advantages on the short message function, apart from positioning, speed tests and time service, compared with GPS, GLONASS and Galileo,” said Wu Renbiao, vice president of the university.
“BDS is quite important to enhance China’s global positioning capabilities on its aircraft and avoid potential risks by relying too much on GPS,” Wu said.
Zhou Guirong, deputy chief designer of the C919 with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Shanghai Aircraft Design and Research Institute, said at the forum that 70 percent of the avionic system on the C919 have been developed by domestic suppliers.