Russia's GPS system hit by technical problems

Russia's bid to create a rival to the US global positioning system, or GPS, has been delayed by equipment flaws and other technical problems, a senior Cabinet official, quoted by an Associated Press report, said.

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov acknowledged that Russia's Global Navigation Satellite System, or GLONASS, failed to become fully operational at the year's start as the government had planned, the Associated Press report said.

Ivanov said the system is still short of the required number of satellites and produces a poor precision.

He warned a meeting of space officials that those responsible for the failures will be held accountable.

GLONASS, which serves both military and civilian purposes, was conceived during the Soviet era as an answer to GPS and is supposed to have 24 satellites, the Associated Press report said.

Their number dwindled after the 1991 Soviet collapse, but the government has earmarked funds to revive the system to its full strength thanks to Russia's windfall oil revenues, the report further said.