Two technologies on the modern battlefield have emerged as critical elements to successful combat operations; rotorcraft and GPS. The current technology and benefits in providing GPS wirelessly to infantry and C4ISR equipment in the cargo hold of rotorcraft during combat operations cannot be denied. Recent conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa have reinforced the importance of airborne assets supporting combat operations. Helicopters played a vital role in Afghanistan, overcoming the poor quality and lack of roads, threats from mines and IEDs, and limited speed of ground transportation through mountainous terrain. Similar to rotorcraft technology, combat operations since 2001 have seen dramatic implementation and integration of GPS technology. GPS has permeated into nearly every device in the hands of our Soldiers, improving situation awareness. Read about GPS Retransmission and how it supports military helicopter operations.
The ability to work on the navigation equipment requiring GPS is NOT dependent on aircraft being outside or the hangar door being open if you have the right tools. One tool being offered is MRO Hangar. It was developed by GPS Source and was made specifically for an aircraft hangar. This tool will convey a live GPS signal inside an aircraft hangar, allowing maintenance personnel to test GPS/avionics equipment at any time. GPS Source gets countless calls from maintenance and repair operations who want to know how to get their GPS equipment to see a signal in their hangar, because they do not want to move all the planes in the hangar just to tow one outside for repair or testing. It is a cost effective tool, when you consider all the money in time and labor that can be saved when planes can stay in place. Read how this aircraft builder figured out how to save $100,000 a year with this one simple solution.
What does “Affordably Enabling Assured PNT” mean? The dictionary tells us that affordability means the conclusion drawn from the analysis of the life cycle cost of a proposed acquisition and that the purchase is in accord with the resources and long term requirements of the acquirer.
Let’s start with “Life Cycle Cost”. What is that and how does GLI-FLO-G fit in? Life Cycle Costs are the sum of all recurring and one-time costs over the full life span of a system are included in life cycle costs. GLI-FLO-G is an investment that supports legacy technology today AND future technology for use in ground vehicles. Investing in a centralized point for PNT distribution supports PLGR, DAGR, SINCGARS as well as future Anti-Jam Antenna, ISR terminals, and tactical communications. Platform life cycle costs are low with the use of GLI-FLO-G.
What about resources? GLI-FLO-G minimizes required engineering resources to keep C4ISR equipment relevant, while maximizing the ability to integrate future capabilities (including M-Code) into the vehicle architecture. This SWaP friendly device allows new technology and legacy technology to easily connect to one interface for secure PNT. Redundant cabling and hardware is removed. Resource costs are minimized.
Finally, the long term requirements of the Army mean that GLI-FLO-G supports the Army’s vision of System of Systems Architecture (SoSA) on ground vehicle platforms. It will enable the US Army to upgrade PNT capabilities without changing out the main PNT Hub (GLI-FLO-G). Users will be able to “update” their devices that use PNT, without having to “update” GLI-FLO-G to a newer device. It will meet the long term requirements of the US Army, including the move toward VICTORY requirements and Modular Computing Systems compatibility.
Affordably enabling Assured PNT means that the GLI-FLO-G, made by GPS Source, gives the Army the ability to consolidate all the GB-GRAMs inside a ground vehicle into one device. Read the white paper, Assured PNT Inside Military Ground Vehicles Using D3.
The US military depends on position, navigation, and timing (PNT) data for numerous military applications. Taken as a whole, the ability to synchronize operations, enable precise locations, and minimize collateral damage makes GPS essential. But dependence on GPS emphasizes the need for the military to protect PNT sources and guarantee unhindered access (i.e. Assured PNT). “Assured PNT” is now a strategy being designed by the US Army to focus on access to any source of PNT, not just GPS.
The Assured PNT strategy will allow access to all sources of PNT, not just GPS. It will be based upon three objectives: Reduce size, weight and power consumption through the systematic elimination of redundant systems; Increase protection to ensure PNT is available and trusted through improvements that keep pace with threats and are scalable; Develop ability to migrate M-code GPS informed and guided by the Assured PNT System of Systems Architecture (SoSA).
One challenge is that every subsystem within a ground vehicle that requires PNT data currently needs a DAGR (or other SAASM enabled device) to serve that data. There have been known cases of Stryker vehicles carrying 8 or 9 DAGRS to serve data to different subsystems inside the vehicle. For every DAGR, there is a requirement for a GPS Receive antenna, power supply and valuable space
D3 is a product that limits the need for DAGRs inside a ground vehicle. One D3 can serve PNT data to four different subsystems inside a ground vehicle. Each port on the D3 is independent, meaning that each system plugged into a port on the D3 has full control over that port. D3 has the ability to reduce size, weight and power consumption needed for PNT. It follows a “System of Systems” approach, with a single PNT solution for multiple systems on a single platform.
Once fielded, the D3 will serve as a key element in the support of Assured PNT for today’s military ground vehicle fleet. Contact GPS Source to learn more about how the D3 can help support Assured PNT.
The soldier has so much to carry, there is a constant need to find ways to make things smaller, lighter, more efficient. They may carry a DAGR, a laser range finder, a Rifleman Radio, etc. These tools all enable the soldier to use a secure GPS signal to effectively do their job. But all these items require their own antenna, batteries, possibly cabling and real estate on the soldier. Wouldn’t it be nice if the soldier could carry one device, especially one device that manages all their PNT (position, navigation and timing) needs? There are a few new products under development that will let the soldier do just that. Everything is moving toward the development of PNT technology that a soldier can access through one device. We suspect the next step will be a ruggedized smart phone for the soldier on the ground. This option will give them the best position, timing and navigation data available to complete their mission, while not being bogged down with weight and cabling and multiple antennas.
In the meantime, a tool called the D3 (DAGR Distributed Device) is available for the mounted platform. It is not made to work at the soldier level, but it does replace DAGRS that are being used inside vehicles or command centers. It has a similar interface to the DAGR and allows many devices that require an antenna, timing, and secure GPS data, to be connected through one multiple port device. So, Blue Force Tracking, Rifleman Radio, a DAGR or maybe a SINCGAR device could all be connected at once and use the same antenna and GB-GRAM. The D3 can provide specific PNT data that is unique to each port and the device connected to that port. This is very important where GB-GRAMS are concerned, because GB-GRAMs are expensive and this allows one device to have ownership of the GB-GRAM and share its capabilities with up to eight others, i.e. lowering overall costs and saving valuable space.
Kevin Coggins, product director for PNT in the Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors was recently quoted by Inside GNSS Magazine. He said “This is the first device capable of providing platform distribution on mounted platforms with true port independence…each system that is plugged into the D3 has full control over the port from the D3, as if the device had its own DAGR.” Currently, DAGRs are fulfilling the roll of supplying secure PNT data for devices on a mounted platform. But it is a one-to-one connection. One DAGR is needed for each PNT device right now. If the mounted platform has Blue Force Tracking, Rifleman Radio and a SINCGAR device, it will also need three DAGRs to get secure PNT data to those devices. The D3 will replace those three DAGRs on the platform, so that three soldiers on the ground can have DAGRs instead.
A little background…VICTORY is an acronym from the U.S. Army that stands for Vehicular Integration for C4ISR/EW Interoperability. VICTORY is not tied to any specific program or military platform. It is supposed to coordinate communication between government and industry. GPS Source is interested in VICTORY because a major component of the VICTORY standards addresses the distribution of GPS supplied information for position, heading, elevation, and timing.
GPS Source’s Defense Business Development Manager, Brian Paul, recently presented a paper at the 2013 NDIA Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium in Troy, Michigan. The paper covered GPS technology and how it was affected by the VICTORY standards being proposed by the U.S. Army. The paper said that the majority of subsystems on today’s military ground vehicles utilize GPS data in some form. Systems included fire control computers, navigation and blue force tracking equipment, ISR assets, electronic warfare devices, personal navigation equipment, laser range finders, command & control(C2) computers, UAV’s, etc. The objective of Mr. Paul’s paper was to discuss a cost effective vehicle electronics and architecture strategy that would lead to the adoption of VICTORY for major military ground vehicle programs. It also included a discussion of the short term technical issues related to efficient distribution of the GPS frequencies, including IS-GPS-153 message formats.
Mr. Paul said that GPS Source found one strategy to address the move towards VICTORY adoption. GPS Source developed a central vehicle “GPS hub” as a COTS product. This GPS Hub, also called D3 (DAGR Distributed Device), is designed with an embedded a GB-GRAM card. With a little software and a bit of ingenuity, GPS Source created a secure device to distribute GPS data to multiple systems on board a military ground vehicle. Although short of communicating GPS position, heading, or timing information onto a central vehicle Ethernet data bus, D3 seems to be an affordable investment approaching VICTORY-like goals. It eliminates multiple DAGR devices, antennas, and cabling (i.e. redundancy) from the vehicle architecture while providing a single point of GPS signal distribution.
Read the entire paper “GPS Signal Distribution Approaching VICTORY”.
GPS Source has a new line of GPS/GNSS splitters. They feature a design that connects two receive antennas (a primary and secondary) to an internal switching sensor. The switching sensor constantly monitors the health of the antennas. The signal from only one antenna is utilized, with the primary antenna being the default. If the primary antenna becomes suspect, the splitter will seamlessly switch to the secondary antenna.
GPS/GNSS splitters with this design will eliminate the need for multiple GPS antennas on the surface of a roof or other platform. Up to four RF output ports will allow the device to distribute (split) the signal to multiple devices. Redundancy is acquired through the monitoring and use of a primary and secondary antenna and having the ability to switch antennas allows all connected GPS devices to remain fully functional in the event of an antenna failure.
Check out the spec for this new GPS Splitter with Switch for Antenna Redundancy.
The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assesments has written a paper on the future of MILSATCOM. GPS Source is interested in information about future of our satellites , because key user groups to consider for the next-generation MILSATCOM architecture include groups that we support with GPS/PNT technology. Capabilities developed within this architecture will eventually affect what GPS Source develops to help this Warfighter.
The entire article can be read here.
GPS Source announced today that GLI-FLOTM has been granted Security Approval by the USAF Global Positioning Systems Directorate. GLI-FLO meets the stringent requirements for reliability and security by integrating a GPS Directorate-approved SAASM receiver (Selective Availability/Anti-Spoofing Module). SAASM is the security architecture selected by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) to provide current security functions for GPS authorized military users.
Robert Horton, CEO of GPS Source, said that “We understand the importance of reliable GPS/PNT Data for synchronizing military operations and the need to protect against jamming and/or spoofing. We further realize the importance of protecting our national assets by designing products that fully comply with all GP Directorate security requirements. This security approval makes it possible for our GLI-FLO to be deployed by military forces without reservation.” Mr. Horton commented further, “The GPS Directorate security approval provides GPS source the opportunity to supply our military end-users and prime contractors with what they need, a DAGR Distributed Device (D3) that meets the mandate for reliability and security.”
In addition to the SAASM compliance, other GLI-FLO features include the ability to serve ICD-GPS-153 PNT data simultaneously to multiple communications or weapon systems that require secure GPS information. It is a significant step for GPS Source toward VICTORY compliance in GPS Signal Distribution (Single PNT Distribution Point). With zero impact to subscriber application software/hardware, it removes the need to rely on multiple, expensive GB-GRAMS found in military platforms.
GPS Source has spent the past months designing and testing a GPS amplifier (the MA11M) that can pass the rigorous demands set forth by the military.
The MA11M is a military grade GPS amplifier used to strengthen the signal and reach of a GPS device. It allows longer cable lengths to be used between an active GPS antenna and the GPS receiver. It can give the GPS receiver a stronger signal and allow it to operate effectively. This amplifier is primarily for use by military applications (both Ground and Air) around the world.
The MA11M has been qualified for operation in the presence of explosive mixtures of air and jet fuel. It can handle temperatures ranging from -40 to 85°C and is completely waterproof. Tested for pressure, decompression, temperature shock, flammability and EMI, it is a perfect addition to the GPS Source military product line. Find more information on the MA11M GPS amplifier at the GPS Source website. Test summaries (MIL-STD-810 and EMI) are also available upon request.