Northrop Grumman has secured a contract to support the US Air Force's (USAF) Global Positioning System (GPS) / inertial navigation system (INS) Pre-Phase I modernisation programme.
Under terms of the $4.8m cost-plus-fixed-fee contract, the company will assess the development of the Military GPS User Equipment (MGUE) programme and conduct trade studies.
In addition, it will evaluate the selective availability anti-spoofing module (SAASM), as well as determining the capability of M-Code-capable GPS receivers that have been mandated by Congress after 2017.
The company will also contribute to the architecture development for next-generation GPS.
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems navigation and positioning systems business unit vice-president Bob Mehltretter said: "We are honoured to help shape the next generation of navigation systems that will modernise the GPS infrastructure and keep our warfighters safer.
"We are committed to using our navigation systems expertise to develop a solution that offers dependable and accurate positioning, navigation and timing information."
The modernised system is expected to be available for platform integration in 2018.
The upgraded GPS is expected to comply with the Federal Aviation Administration's NextGen air traffic control requirement that mandates aircraft flying at higher altitudes be equipped with Automatic Dependence Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). The law is expected to come into effect by January 2020.
In 2013, Northrop secured a phase two inertial navigation system-related contract from the USAF Research Laboratory to provide improved GPS-challenged geo-registration services for positioning and pointing applications.
The company flight tested the integrated system and incorporated further enhancements including highly detailed 3D map generation in the algorithm.
Image: US Air Force (USAF) Senior Airman runs through a checklist during Global Positioning System satellite operations. Photo: courtesy of United States Air Force / by Airman 1st Class Mike Meares.