Russia’s own satellite navigation system - a new competitor to the US Global Positioning System (GPS) - is likely to get a competitive edge in its domestic market under a plan by prime minister Vladimir Putin to tax rival systems.

Putin also wants all new cars in Russia equipped with sat nav by 2012 to be using the GLONASS system, which was invented by the Russian military in the 1980s to compete with GPS and will, in the future face, also face competition from Europe's Galileo.

He said Russia is spending RUR1.7bn (US$58m) developing the system next year, adding to the RUR4.5bn (US$1.5bn) invested over the past two years.

Six new satellites are to be launched this year which will add to the network orbiting Earth and provide global navigation coverage.

Putin said: "I think that from 2012 all new cars could be sold with the system built in so as to raise the level of road security."

Deputy prime minister Serei Ivanov announced he would seek a 25% import tax on GPS systems from 2011, according to the Ria Novosti news agency.

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