According to China News Service, on December 27, China’s second generation of the Beidou satellite navigation system became operational with coverage of China and its neighboring regions. The Beidou system, currently operating as a free trial, offers positioning accuracy to within 25 m (82 ft). Plans include improving accuracy to within 10 m (33ft) next year, at which time six more satellites will be put into orbit and the system will offer services to customers in the Asia-Pacific region. The global system should be finished by 2020 and consist of 35 satellites.
The report said the Beidou system has a very significant military value. With its completion, the PLA will rid itself of its reliance on the U.S. GPS (Global Positioning System). China’s military strength will be greatly enhanced. The report claims that Beidou even outperforms the GPS in certain military functions. For example, Beidou’s short message capability allows the “group call” function that enables accurate commands and coordination. The military commanders can use the Beidou system to control the position of troops at any time and pass relevant orders.
Jin Yinan, a director at China’s National Defense University, said that letting the Beidou system be put into use as early as possible will play a huge role in enhancing national security. It is more significant than manned space flight and the Chang’e lunar exploration program.
Source: China News Service, December 28, 2011