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GBAS Systems

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Title GBAS Systems
Edited by GMV
Level Basic
Year of Publication 2011
Logo GMV.png

A Ground-Based Augmentation System (GBAS) is a civil-aviation safety-critical system that supports local augmentation –at airport level– of the primary GNSS constellation(s) by providing enhanced levels of service that support all phases of approach, landing, departure and surface operations.

The pioneering and reference GBAS system is the United States one, namely, the Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS).

Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS)

LAAS architecture

The U.S. version of the Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS) has traditionally been referred to as the Local Area Augmentation System (LAAS).

Honeywell has developed a Non-Federal CAT-1 LAAS which received System Design Approval (SDA) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in September 2009. Current proposed installations include: airports in Newark (New Jersey), Memphis (Tennessee), Atlantic City (New Jersey), and Olathe (Kansas).

One of the primary benefits of LAAS is that a single installation at a major airport can be used for multiple precision approaches within the local area. For example, if Chicago O'Hare has 12 runway ends each with a separate ILS, all 12 ILS facilities can be replaced with a single LAAS system. This represents a significant cost savings in maintenance and upkeep of the existing ILS equipment. Another benefit is the potential for approaches that are not straight- in. Aircraft equipped with LAAS technology can utilize curved or complex approaches such that they could be flown on to avoid obstacles or to decrease noise levels in areas surrounding an airport.

The FAA also contends that only a single set of navigational equipment will be needed on an aircraft for both LAAS and WAAS capability. This lowers initial cost and maintenance per aircraft

Other GBAS implementations

GNSS Landing Systems using Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS) are currently being developed and deployed worldwide to improve air safety and increase airport efficiency.

A world map showing locations of GBAS facilities can be found in the website http://flygls.net/ . This page has been created to support the International GBAS Working Group.

In Norway, Northrop Grumman Park Air Systems developed and installed the ground-based elements for the first satellite-based landing system for precision approach and landing at Brønnøysund Airport, Norway, which was fully operational in October 2007. Special Category 1 (SCAT-1) airport approach systems are currently installed at Brønnøysund, Hammerfest, Vadsø, Namsos, Båtsfjord, and Svolvær airports and during 2011 will be installed at airports at Førde, Berlevåg, Hasvik, Vardø, Stokmarknes and Mosjøen.

The Honeywell’s SmartPath is the first GBAS solution to receive FAA System Design Approval, and has awarded FAA Research Program for Next-Generation Air Traffic Managament. Honeywell is also carrying out similar manufacturing and research projects for Europe’s future air traffic management program SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research). They are operating at early adopter airports across the globe, including Bremen (Germany), Malaga (Spain), Memphis (USA), Atlantic City (USA), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and Sidney (Australia).

In Russia, GBAS Activities are carried out by NPPF Spectr; they have developed a GBAS solution CAT-I called LCCS-A-2000. There have been several GBAS facilities deployed and test flights in several Russian airports (St Petersburg, Moscow, Samara, Krasnoyarsk,...). The trials and certification are in progress, and the decision of acceptance of LCCS-A-2000 in Civil Aviation Airport must be taken by the Russian Federation.

Also Thales has developed a CAT-I GBAS Facility, the DGRS 610/615, that has been tested in Toulouse airport.


The FAA’s National Airspace System (NAS) Enterprise Architecture is the blueprint for transforming the current NAS to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). The NAS Service Roadmaps lay out the strategic activities for service delivery to improve NAS operations and move towards the NextGen vision. They show the evolution of major FAA investments/programs in today's NAS services to meet the future demand. The GBAS Precision Approaches is one of the investment programs that provide solution to increase flexibility in the terminal environment in the NextGen Implementation Plan.

The FAA plans to replace legacy navigation systems with satellite based navigation technology. The FAA has determined that GBAS is the only cost effective alternative to the existing Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) by providing terminal, non-precision, and CAT I/II/III precision approach capabilities in the NAS. Some of these existing ILS systems will be phased out over time as GBAS are installed. A number of ILS facilities are expected to remain operational, to continue to provide precision approach service as a backup in the event of unavailability of GBAS services.

This plan has been also envisaged by Eurocontrol’s Single European Sky ATM Research Programme as a critical enabler for improving air traffic capacity. Eurocontrol's GBAS activities are managed by Eurocontrol GBAS Project.