Air Force asks three U.S. contractors to develop miniature ASIC technology for next-gen GPS receivers

Nov. 10, 2020
The project will develop small low-power-consumption GPS enabling technologies to include a next-generation ASIC for secure GPS land navigation.

LOS ANGELES AFB, Calif. – U.S. Air Force navigation and guidance experts are choosing three U.S. defense contractors to develop and build enabling technologies for M-Code capable handheld and vehicle-mount Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite navigation receivers.

Officials of the Space and Missile Systems Center of the Air Force Space Command at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., announced contracts collectively worth $552.6 million on Friday for the Military GPS Users Equipment Miniature Serial Interface Increment 2 Application Specific Integrated Circuit (MGUE Inc 2 MSI ASIC) project.

The MGUE increment 2 MSI ASIC project is to be a small-size and -power consumption form factor to include a next-generation application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) for secure GPS land navigation.

The three contracts are going to the Raytheon Technologies Corp. Intelligence & Space segment in El Segundo, Calif.; the L3Harris Technologies Interstate Electronics segment in Anaheim, Calif.; and the Raytheon Technologies Collins Aerospace segment in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Related: IEC lends precision guidance to artillery shells with satellite navigation

The three companies will develop ASICs for the MGUE MSI GPS receiver card to accommodate low size, weight, and power consumption (SWaP) for ground embedded users, aviation, and precision-guided munitions, Air Force officials say.

The next-gen ASIC should provide significant performance improvements and extend production life over its predecessors, negate obsolescence issues of the current 90-nanometer and 45-nanometers increment 1 ASICs. The three companies chosen will complete receiver development, including formal qualification testing, verification, and security approval.

The joint-service MGUE program developed an updated set of military GPS receivers that provide accurate and reliable positioning, navigation, and timing service where previous receiver performance was compromised or unavailable.

Related: Air Force asks Raytheon to provide trusted computing to GPS with secure ASIC components

The program addressed the increasing threat of enemy electronic warfare jamming of U.S. and allied GPS signals, as well as to deny the enemy the use of U.S. GPS signals. Orbiting GPS IIR-M and IIF satellites are part of the MGUE program, as are GPS III satellites that are in development.

Prototype GPS receiver electronic circuit cards built for the MGUE helped add new features into GPS receiver designs. The MGUE also developed M-Code signals, which are transmitted from modernized GPS satellites. These signals retain all legacy GPS receiver capabilities, yet offers high-power signals with the ability to resist jamming and interference.

M-Code signals also add security features to prevent their use by the enemy, and offer improved message formats and signal modulation for faster and more accurate performance.

Related: Air Force accelerates program to provide M-Code GPS receivers to warfighters worldwide

Raytheon Intelligence & Space (formerly Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems), Collins Aerospace, and L3Harris Interstate Electronics were involved in the MGUE increment MSI program.

On this contract the three companies will do the work in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Anaheim, Calif., and El Segundo, Calif., and should be finished by September 2025.

For more information contact Raytheon Intelligence & Space online at, L3Harris Interstate Electronics at, or Raytheon Collins Aerospace at

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