GPS and PNT
Global positioning system (GPS) technology uses satellites around the earth to reliably calculate the position of a GPS receiver. As long as four of the 30 satellites currently in orbit by the US Government have an unobstructed line of sight to the receiver, the GPS device can retrieve system position, navigation and timing (PNT) data in all weather conditions. Today GPS plays a crucial role on the battlefield and is used for everything from UAV reconnaissance to launch coordinates. For the warfighter, reliable GPS is absolutely critical and a lack of, or incorrect information can be deadly.
This dependence on GPS can be a weakness when subject to poor satellite conditions as a result of operation in difficult environments including dense vegetation, built-up urban and mountainous terrain, subterranean and underwater operations, and in the presence of electromagnetic interference or enemy jamming and spoofing of the GPS. Additionally, traditional military combat system modernization involves “bolt-on” electronic systems that result in stove-piped communications, limiting interoperability with other systems as well as impacting the on-board SWaP and due to numerous independent GPS, antenna and human machine interface (HMI) peripherals. As a result, the U.S. Army is developing “Assured PNT” (A-PNT); a family of solutions which includes four products (mounted, dismounted, anti-jam antenna, and Pseudolite) that provide soldiers with trusted PNT information while operating in conditions with potentially limited, impeded or denied GPS.
A Mounted Assured PNT (MAPS) device is scalable and upgradable system for mounting within a platform. MAPS devices include a military SAASM and M-Code Ground Based GPS Receiver Application Module (GRAM), a Chip Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC), and Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) used to provide A-PNT to system via the network. The US Army’s VICTORY (Vehicle Integration for C4ISR/EW Interoperability) initiative is an effort to ensure this network architecture allows platforms to more easily share information while reducing SWaP and system complexity. In a ground vehicle environment, this means providing a single PNT distribution solution to multiple devices on the platform.
Enabling MAPS on SWaP constrained vehicles
Curtiss-Wrights SWaP optimized DuraDBH-672 Digital Beachhead is a network switch and processor unit that can serve as a VICTORY infrastructure switch and shared processing unit for the in-vehicle network (IVN) architecture adopted by the VICTORY initiative. With optionally integrated A-PNT components, including a military GRAM, a CSAC, and IMU, this highly-capable system can enable cost-effective, accurate MAPS functionality and affordable PNT hub capabilities using non-GPS augmentation for mounted platforms. As result Curtiss-Wrights Digital Beachhead will support maximizing the mission on vehicles supporting the VICTORY architecture and improve its operational efficiency.
Digital Beachhead Product Family
The comprehensive line of VICTORY-enabled Digital Beachhead modules and systems includes both fully integrated rugged systems and open standards-based modules:
- DBH-670 – first generation Digital Beachhead VICTORY services and switching unit
- DuraDBH-672 – second-generation Digital Beachhead optimized for high-volume platforms
- VPX3-671 – line replaceable VICTORY switch and processor module for 3U VPX systems