The most important thing a soldier must maintain on the battlefield is Situational Awareness: being able to identify and understand what is happening around you and how it pertains to the mission. Over the past few decades, Global Positioning System (or GPS navigation technology) has become an integral tool for helping US forces stay aware of their surroundings. Now, new Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) technology is helping to enhance traditional GPS timing in many ways. Time to explore further!
The U.S Department of Homeland Security considers 13 of the nation’s 16 critical infrastructure sectors to be ‘critically dependent’ on PNT technology. Also, a loss of PNT would cost the U.S an estimated $10 BILLION a day. Not only do many everyday consumers use PNT & GPS on a daily basis, it's also crucial for military and intelligence operations. Other industries that strongly rely on GPS based PNT include
- Radio communications
- Network synchronization
- Intelligence systems
- Information gathering
- Cruise missiles
- Weapons systems
- Electronic warfare
GPS Disciplined Oscillators (GPSDO) are one of today's most trusted and accurate sources of timing. These powerful devices (sometimes called GPS clocks) consist of a high-quality stable oscillator and a GPS receiver. The GPSDO works by disciplining (or steering) the oscillator output to a GPS device or GNSS satellite signal via a tracking loop.
Building resilience into Global Positioning System (GPS) timing and frequency receivers is crucial in the 21st century. Since the presidential directive on U.S Space-Based Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) and Critical Infrastructure Protection (PPD-21), federal agencies have been advancing their efforts when it comes to GPS and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) capabilities.
Electronic warfare (EW) is a continuous competition between electronic countermeasures (ECM) and electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM). Electronic warfare systems deploy millions of sensors worldwide on a wide range of platforms such as IR, Acoustic, Radio, and Optic systems, all in the coordinated effort to harness and control the RF (radio frequency) spectrum, the highly contested electronic battlespace.
Raytheon's Next Generation Jammer (NGJ) has been under development now since 2013. In 2016 the US Navy awarded the company a 1 billion dollar engineering and manufacturing development contract for the NGJ system slated to replace the ALQ-99 legacy systems used in the EA-18G electronic attack aircraft.
There is an old pearl of wisdom which claims that necessity is the mother of invention and nowhere is that truer than in the history of warfare, and especially electronic warfare. New military technology is always followed by innovative countermeasures developed specifically to defend against the new threat. In the case of electronic warfare, defensive measures quickly evolved into new offensive and intelligence gathering technologies.