Raytheon technology improves GPS navigation for increased air travel safety

Raytheon´s newest payload, a technology package that improves the availability and accuracy of global positioning system (GPS) signals for aviation, has launched into orbit for a 12-year mission, the company said.

The Raytheon-developed system is a key element of the Federal Aviation Administration´s wide area augmentation system (WAAS), which offers commercial airline and general aviation pilots more direct flight paths, greater runway capability, precision approaches to airports and remote landing sites without dependence on local ground-based landing systems.

WAAS covers nearly all the national airspace, significantly improving GPS accuracy from 10 meters to about two meters. Raytheon has partnered with the FAA to improve continually its service area, availability and reliability. The newest payload, WAAS GEO 5, replaces a current payload reaching the end of its service life. Following orbit raising, ground system integration and testing tasks, the WAAS GEO 5 payload will enter its 10-year service phase in 2018.

The WAAS GEO 5 payload is hosted on the geostationary satellite EUTELSAT 117 West B. The satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle on June 15. The launch was managed by RGNext, a joint venture of Raytheon and General Dynamics´ information technology business.

Raytheon Company, with 2015 sales of USD23 billion and 61,000 employees, is a technology provider specializing in defense, civil government and cyber security solutions. Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, C5I products and services, sensing, effects, and mission support for customers in more than 80 countries.