Navy seeks to improve satellite electronics for navigation and guidance

Posted by John Keller

ARLINGTON, Va., 12 Nov. 2009. U.S. Navy researchers are asking industry for ways to shield the Global Positioning System (GPS) and other military navigation and guidance systems from enemy attempts to jam or disrupt their ability to guide U.S. fighting forces and smart munitions.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va., is issuing a broad agency announcement (ONR BAA 10-006) called Navigation and Timekeeping Technology, which seeks to improve electronic protection and electronic support of satellite electronics and military positioning, navigation and timing.

The GPS uses a low-power signal from the GPS satellite constellation that is susceptible to interference, ONR officials warn. To compensate for this weakness, ONR scientists are looking for affordable approaches to make military GPS and GPS receiver technology more reliable, ways to quantify threats to GPS performance, and affordable precision navigation and timing alternatives to military satellite GPS.

Available funding would be as much as $3 million per year from federal fiscal year 2011 to 2015. Federal fiscal year 2011 begins 1 Oct. 2010. Companies interested in this project must submit white papers to ONR by 28 Dec. 2009, and proposals by 15 April 2010.

Navy researchers, for this project, say they primarily are interested in electronic protection and electronic support, but are not interested in electronic attack.

Specifically, ONR officials are interested in new navigation and guidance technologies such as:

-- new kinds of GPS controlled radiation pattern antennas and antenna electronics, such as multi-element antenna control, beam-forming, null-steering, and signal processing techniques such as space-time adaptive processing (STAP) and space-frequency adaptive processing (SFAP);

-- cooperative threat geo-location algorithms, which may include combining remotely located GPS antennas for cooperative processing;
-- GPS anti-tamper approaches;
-- blending communications and GPS navigation;
-- new GPS equipment with electronic warfare (EW) situational awareness and electronic support measures (ESM);
-- the ability to handle situations where the U.S. military forces must deny GPS to non-military users;
-- advanced GPS-inertial measurement unit algorithms;
-- the ability to monitor all GPS channels to enhance jam and spoofer immunity;
-- satellite navigation receivers that use several global navigation satellite systems, such as GPS and the European Galileo system;
-- the ability to navigate in enclosed areas such as aircraft carriers and cargo ships;
-- applications of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-B (ADS-B) to naval platforms;
-- applications of atomic clocks to sensors like radars, sonars, and navigation devices to perform multi-static remote sensing;
-- atomic clocks smaller than 3 cubic centimeters that use less than 100 milliwatts;
-- sensitive quantum physics-based magnetometers and small quantum physics-based gravimeters and accelerometers for underwater navigation;
-- bathymetric underwater navigation devices by sonar and lidar;
-- the ability to use sonar, radar, and lidar to navigate underwater and on the surface in along coasts and inside harbors; and
-- dead-reckoning using tactical grade atomic clocks.

Companies that already have expressed interest in this project are Ronin IT Services LLC in Leesburg Va., and Navigation Technology Seminars Inc. in Springfield Va.

For technical questions on this project, contact Program Manager Dr. John C. Kim by e-mail at, or by post to One Liberty Center, 875 North Randolph St., Suite 1119, Arlington, Va. 22203-1995, Code: 312.

For business questions contact Sheila Richardson by e-mail at

More information is available online at


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