The leader of the Army’s team dedicated to ensuring forces have reliable location data on future battlefields said the service now has a requirement for a mounted device that would provide positioning, navigation and timing.
“That’s a big deal,” said Willie Nelson, the director of the Army’s Assured-Position, Navigation and Timing (A-PNT) cross functional team, because for the first time the service will ensure vehicles have an alternate source for their location, navigation and timing.
Nelson also noted that the Army, awaiting the impending signature of its top acquisition officer, has a new system architecture for PNT that would determine how the service would work without GPS. Alternate PNT systems are used when traditional GPS satellite signals are not available or have been jammed.
On the heels of the mounted A-PNT requirement, the Army is also nearing a dismounted PNT requirement, Nelson said. He added that the service is on track to have that on the books by the end of April.
In addition, the Army is establishing a modeling and simulation effort at Aberdeen Proving Ground because to better predict how weapons systems will act without position, navigation and timing capabilities.
“In many cases we model GPSs on or GPSs off. How do you model that in a more realistic way?,” Nelson asked. “Maybe not every system out there needs every exquisite platform but who needs them? Who’s in the fight, who’s in the contact with the threats that can affect them the most? It helps makes us informed, data driven decision instead of emotional decisions.”
Nelson also highlighted an event in August, scheduled to take place in White Sands, New Mexico, that will establish a testing effort at a range and allow users to disrupt PNT for military systems and commercial systems.
Nelson assured industry that this isn’t an assessment in the traditional sense, but the Army wants to create the conditions for industry to bring their equipment to test it.
“Hopefully the intent is to make it better, help you energize your testing in a more realistic environment, helps you get there faster, which ultimately helps us get there faster,” he said.
In addition,, Nelson said the Army will hold an A-PNT symposium industry day in Huntsville May 7 and host an A-PNT symposium focused primarily on academia May 9 in Austin, Texas.