CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 955511 DWS

Ms. Irene Rogers
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
P.O. Box 2206
Savannah, GA 31402-2206

RE: Navigation Unit; Explanatory Note 90.14(C); HQ's 953462 and 087979; Section XVI, Note 4; 8526.91.00

Dear Ms. Rogers:

This is in response to your letter of July 1, 1993, to the District Director of Customs, Savannah, Georgia, concerning the classification of a navigation unit under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). Your letter has been referred to this office for a response.


The merchandise consists of a Litton navigation unit (model no. LTN-72RL), manufactured in Canada. The unit is an inertial based area navigation system for use in an aircraft, and it manages flight direction which is set by the pilot or crew automatically. The system is comprised of an inertial navigation unit, an inertial platform, a mode selector unit, and an Alpha-numeric entry and display unit. It does not receive or transmit radio signals. The system does contain a gyroscope, which enables a user to check on heading, altitude, etc. The self-contained data base provides instant access to several thousand pre-stored geographical locations which may be used for assembling the flight plan. The data can be changed on an "as required" basis by using an external cassette loader.

The subheadings under consideration is as follows:

8526.91.00: [r]adio navigational aid apparatus.

The general, column one rate of duty for goods classifiable under this provision is 4.9 percent ad valorem.

9014.20.60: [i]nstruments and appliances for aeronautical or space navigation (other than compasses): [o]ther: [o]ther: [e]lectrical.

The general, column one rate of duty for goods classifiable under this provision is 4.9 percent ad valorem.


Whether the navigation unit is classifiable under subheading 8526.91.00, HTSUS, as a radio navigational aid apparatus, or under subheading 9014.20.60, HTSUS, as an other electrical instrument for aeronautical navigation.


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). In part, Explanatory Note 90.14(C) (p. 1481) states that:

[t]his group includes:

(A) - (B) xxx

(C) Special instruments for air navigation, such as:

(1) Altimeters. . .

(2) Air speed indicators. . .

(3) Climbing or diving speed indicators. . .

(4) Artificial horizons or gyro-horizons and turning and banking indicators. . .

(5) Mach-meters. . .

(6) Accelerometors. . .

(7) Automatic Pilots. . .

In HQ 953462, dated April 21, 1993, we stated that:

[u]nder heading 9014, the common meaning of the terms navigate and navigation connotes the science or art of conducting aircraft from one place to another; especially, the method of determining position, course and distance travelled over the surface of the earth by the principles of geometry and astronomy, and by reference to instruments used as aids. The [Explanatory Notes], at p. 1481, (C)(1) through (7), list various meters and indicators which measure or determine aerodynamic variables and provide the pilot with information from which he can activate apparatus that maintains or alters the plane's course.

See also HQ 087979, dated February 3, 1992.

Section XVI, note 4, HTSUS, states that:

[w]here a machine (including a combination of machines) consists of individual components (whether separate or interconnected by piping, by transmission devices, by electric cables or by other devices) intended to contribute together to a clearly defined function covered by one of the headings in chapter 84 or chapter 85, then the whole falls to be classified in the heading appropriate to that function.

It is our position that the system components contribute together to the clearly defined function of flight direction management, which is performed by the instruments of heading 9014, HTSUS. Therefore, based upon the definition of "navigation" in HQ 953462 and the exemplars given in Explanatory Note 90.14(C), the subject navigation unit is specifically classifiable under subheading 9014.20.60, HTSUS.

It has been suggested that the navigation unit is classifiable under subheading 8526.91.00, HTSUS. However, because the unit neither transmits nor receives radio signals, it is not described under subheading 8526.91.00, HTSUS, and is precluded from classification under that provision.


The navigation unit is classifiable under subheading 9014.20.60, HTSUS, as an other electrical instrument for aeronautical navigation.

Goods classifiable under subheading 9014.20.60, HTSUS, upon compliance with section 10.183, Customs Regulations (19 CFR 10.183), receive duty-free treatment under the Civil Aircraft Agreement.


John Durant, Director