The Global Navigation Satellite System (Glonass) is competitive and must be commercialised to make it more effective, according to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Glonass is the Russian equivalent of the US global positioning system, which serves both civilian and military users to determine their positions to within a few metres.

The prime minister was quoted by Ria Novosti as saying the system will cover the entire globe and has an advantage over its European counterparts due to its larger network of satellites.

Glonass has 22 satellites in orbits; 16 of which are operational.

The Russian GPS needs 18 operational satellites for continuous navigation services, covering the entire territory of Russia, and at least 24 satellites to provide navigation services worldwide.

The satellite system is expected to start operating worldwide by the end of 2010 after six more satellites are launched.