Exelis has handed over additional enhanced ground encryptors to Raytheon for use with the US Air Force’s (USAF) Global Positioning System III satellite’s next-generation operational control system (GPS OCX).
With the size similar to that of a stereo amplifier, the encryptors are expected to be used by USAF to protect information sent between OCX and navigation payloads on board legacy and next-generation GPS satellites.
In particular, the encryptors will play a central role in the management of cryptographic keys used throughout the ground system.
The six new encryptors are in addition to the eight baseline encryptors supplied by the company to Raytheon in 2013.
Exelis’ positioning, navigation and timing vice-president and general manager Joe Rambala said: "The enhanced encryptors support M-code, the modernised military signal, which is an integral part of the GPS modernisation programme and important for the Department of Defense because it provides a separate signal with high jam-and spoof-resistance strictly for military use versus civilian.
"Some of today’s GPS satellites can broadcast M-code signals, but unlike GPS OCX, the current control segment cannot bring M-code online.
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"The encryptors will be enablers for M-code processing to improve the overall GPS programme and its security."
After integration into the OCX system, the encryptors will help ensure that the next generation of GPS satellites will be ready for launch, and provide advanced capabilities and security to both military and civilian users.
Apart from encryptors, the company is also manufacturing high-precision receivers for use in OCX ground monitoring stations and satellite signal simulators for testing purposes.
The company is also supplying critical elements of software in the OCX navigation processing subsystem that will help controllers to better understand the exact position of GPS satellites.
In addition to this, Exelis is under contract with Lockheed Martin to deliver payloads for GPS III family of next-generation satellites designed to replace USAF’s existing GPS constellation, which provides location and time information in all weather conditions.
The satellites will deliver three times better accuracy, provide up to eight times improved anti-jamming capabilities, and will feature a new L1C civil signal for interoperability with other international global navigation satellite systems.