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Navy seeks protections and alternatives to GPS for precise ship and weapons time keeping

ARLINGTON, Va., 30 Oct. 2012. U.S. Navy researchers are asking for industry's help to find new and innovative navigation technologies that will provide accurate, reliable, maintainable, and affordable time keeping Navy surface ships, submarines, aircraft, and ground stations in the event that Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite signals are degraded or not available.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va., issued a broad agency announcement (ONRBAA13-002) Friday for the Navigation and Timekeeping Technology program, which seeks to enhance naval capability to keep and share accurate time with platforms and weapons at the highest level of accuracy and with the highest possible confidence at reasonable cost.

ONR is working together on the Navigation and Timekeeping Technology program with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Research and Engineering (ASD-R&E) and National Information Infrastructure (ASD-NII), concerning Navigation Warfare (NAVWAR).

The current effort centers on electronic protection (EP) and electronic support (ES), and does not concern electronic attack (EA), Navy researchers say.

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Precision navigation and timekeeping are essential for many modern naval and maritime systems, and it is essential that navigation and timekeeping services are available to ships, submarines, aircraft, and weapons affordably at the highest level of accuracy and with the highest possible confidence, Navy officials explain. Lack of precise navigation and timekeeping could jeopardize military operations.

Although the GPS, which provides accurate position and time information at low cost, has become the military's technology of choice for this, its satellite timing signals are low power and susceptible to interference, researchers say.

To compensate for this weakness in the GPS, ONR officials are asking industry for affordable approaches to make GPS more reliable and robust; ways to quantify threats to GPS performance; and reliable, affordable precision navigation and timing alternatives to GPS.

Companies interested should respond to ONR no later than 17 April 2013. For questions or concerns contact the ONR's John Kim by phone at 703-696-4214 or by e-mail at, or Stephen Pappert by phone at 703-696-5268 or by e-mail at

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