CAPT Mark Glover is the program manager for the Navy's Communications and GPS Navigation Program Office (PMW/A-170), part of the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Communications and Intelligence (PEO C4I) at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in San Diego, California. Glover was previously the commanding officer of SPAWAR Systems Center Atlantic in North Charleston, South Carolina.
PMW/A-170 is the Navy's lead for
Top of mind for many people is how to conduct PNT in degraded GPS environments. Tell me about the work of PMW-170 in this area.
CAPT MARK GLOVER: From a GPS perspective, one of the key things we are focused on is GPS modernization. There is an increasing threat out there for GPS, and our enemies know that. We are working very hard to ensure that we deliver our GPS capabilities to our fleet faster. There are a lot of modernization efforts that are going on across the Navy today; we are working in 170 along with our stakeholders across the naval enterprise and our stakeholders at the Global Positioning Systems Directorate at Los Angeles Air Force Base [part of Air Force Space Command] to ensure that we deliver these new modernized capabilities to the fleet.
What are the greatest threats to GPS-enabled PNT today?
GLOVER: As you know, GPS is ubiquitous. There is an increasing reliance on GPS across all ranges of military operations, and, of course, we can't forget our critical civilian infrastructure as well. Additionally, GPS jammers have proliferated around the globe, from large and complex militarized jammers to cheap and inexpensive units you can buy online. That means that not only that our peer and near-peer potential adversaries are capable of impacting GPS, but we must be mindful of non-state actors, as well.
Furthermore, we are trying to predict other methods that might be employed against our systems, such as cyber threats. Because it is not just a threat against the radio frequency signal, it is a threat against the actual systems that control those. Over the past 20 years, GPS has been a force multiplier for our military. But we cannot assume that any longer. We have to be proactive in protecting this valuable resource.
What are the specific challenges associated with PNT in a GPS-degraded environment?
GLOVER: Let me put a little context on top of it. The GPS satellite signal at a user's antenna is very low power. To put that in perspective, a 100-watt bulb is [10 to the 18th power] more powerful than a GPS satellite signal at the receiver's antenna. A low-power jammer can disrupt GPS operations.
What are some of the alternative means of navigation you are developing, which you would rely upon in a degraded environment?
GLOVER: Some of the things we are looking at today include celestial navigation as a potential source, magnetometry and other signals of opportunity. In some of our newer systems, we tightly couple GPS navigation systems with inertial navigation systems. They have a symbiotic relationship where GPS can calibrate the inertial system. Correspondingly, the inertial system can compute positions during a GPS outage. They work in a dual fashion.
We are also working to use the next generation of GPS called M-code. M-code is a new DoD effort to modernize the GPS. It provides an additional level of protection for our GPS signal [through the combined use of high-gain directional antennas and wide-angle antennas to broadcast the M-code from next-generation GPS III satellites]. I have a team that is co-located in Los Angeles at the GPS Directorate, and they work on modernization issues such as M-code, as well as day-to-day efforts that we have with GPS across the naval enterprise. That is a new effort that we are going to pull out in the next few years across DoD.
You recently issued a request for information on assured PNT. What
What is the time frame for the next steps and possible RFPs?
GLOVER: As you probably noticed in the name of the program office, it is PMW/A-170. Not only am I PMW, but I am also PMA [Program Management Activity]. We work with Navair to integrate GPS-based solutions on different aircraft across the naval aviation enterprise.
One of the major efforts we have going on today is integrating an anti-jam antenna on our F/A-18E/F/G models at Navair. We also have integrated solutions on platforms such as an MV-22 Osprey, CH-53E, AV-8B and other platforms. We also provide subject matter expertise to the Navair platform program offices. One area of particular note: that our team is working on smaller form-factor, anti-jam antennas that can be used on size-constrained platforms, especially UAVs.