Even the military depends on GPS.
GPS navigation is essential to today's battlefield operations. It allows precise location of military assets in real time. So if hostile forces attempt to shut down the military's GPS navigation, it’s serious.
Raytheon UK has designed a new, compact, GPS anti-jam antenna system that protects its signal within the electromagnetic spectrum. The one-box system, called Landshield Plus, allows the GPS equipment to function against a wide range of jammers.
“Unfortunately, GPS signals are relatively easy to disrupt,” said Alex Rose-Parfitt, director of engineering at Raytheon UK. “This improved anti-jamming tech helps tackle a weak point in the modern battlefield.”
Weighing just 2.9 kilograms, Landshield Plus is the newest member of the Landshield GPS Anti-Jam product family. It is a low-cost and low-power technology that can be used with standalone GPS receivers. The system also works within communication, inertial navigation, sighting, vehicle or weapon-aiming systems.
Landshield Plus not only shields GPS from electronic warfare attacks, it alerts the user to the presence of interfering signals. By locating the jamming source – down to its direction, type and number – Landshield Plus can help fend off further jamming.
“In unprotected systems, the power from a jammer can swamp satellite signals and antennas, resulting in a complete loss of GPS navigation,” said Ian Wallis, a programme engineering manager at Raytheon UK. “Landshield Plus nulls out the effect of the jammer by simply adjusting the antenna’s gain profile and re-connecting the GPS to the available satellites.”
The user gets information about the jamming signal and its direction that can be fed back to commanders and operators in the battlefield, according to Wallis. That data helps commanders make faster, more informed decisions.
The system has been designed to fit existing and future military land-based vehicles, and is currently in trials around the world.
Over the past decade, Raytheon UK has focused on small, form-factor GPS anti-jam antennae for land platforms. And as demand grows for GPS protection on smaller, lighter platforms, the tech could support unmanned aerial systems or soldier-worn systems. Research is underway to determine the correct balance between flexible, light-weight materials and radio frequency performance, said Roland Wright, business development manager for Raytheon UK's Global Sensors.
“Having an anti-jam solution is no longer restricted to high-value assets like naval ships and military aircraft,” he said. "Future tech in this area will eventually take shape for a truly man-wearable system."