Assured and accurate location information is one of the most critical requirements Soldiers demand in today’s saturated electronic battlefield, having confidence in that information is crucial.
Project Manager Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PM PNT) makes it their business to eliminate the uncertainty in navigation. Within the PM PNT team, the Product Manager Mounted Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PdM Mounted PNT) office focuses on accomplishing that mission for mechanized units and their vehicles.
During the past several months, the PdM Mounted PNT has reached two major milestones in providing support for current operations today as well as establishing the path to long term Assured PNT (A-PNT) solutions for maneuver forces.
Positioning is the ability to determine accurate and precise locations; Navigation is the ability to maneuver with accuracy and precision; and Timing is the ability to acquire and maintain accurate and precise time. A-PNT is secure, authenticated access to PNT information.
The PM’s solution to providing a more secure and available source of PNT for mounted Soldiers is the Mounted Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing System (MAPS).
“MAPS ensures access to modernized military GPS and fuses additional sources of PNT to include timing and alternate navigation technologies,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Johnston, Product Manager Mounted Assured PNT. “Assured PNT is a critical enabling capability to Multi Domain Operations and Army 2030, setting conditions for Soldiers to fight and win.”
The need for MAPS was originally identified as part of the US Army Europe (USAREUR) Operational Need Statement (ONS) to provide an Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing (A-PNT) capability to USAREUR units. PM PNT along with their partners from the Assured PNT/Space Cross Functional Team rapidly developed requitements and ultimately were able to deliver one of the first directed requirements out of the Army Futures Command into the filed.
PM PNT began equipping the MAPS Generation (GEN) I capability to units assigned and allocated to USAREUR in September 2019. The MAPS GEN I capability provided anti-jam protections along with time hold-over capabilities while using the selective availability anti-spoofing module-based GPS receivers.
Recently PM PNT trained Soldiers and provided systems to the 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division marking the last CONUS unit to be equipped with the MAPS GEN I. In addition to providing capability for use by Soldiers today, MAPS GEN I is providing lessons learned for the overall future of PNT.
Following up on the success of the quick reaction capability MAPS GEN I, the Army realized its second major accomplishment for Mounted PNT with a recent Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) production contact for MAPS GEN II.
“This contract award opens the product office to low-rate production and ultimately fielding to priority units. This will be the first time that the Army has a Military-code PNT solution that is officially a program of record,” said Johnston.
MAPS GEN II is the next generation capability. It provides enhanced anti-Jamming and anti-spoofing protections through use of an M-code capable receiver and sensor fusion combining input from alternate sensor sources to reduce reliance on GPS. It distributes PNT data to multiple systems directly and via the network under all conditions including when GPS is limited or denied.
A collaborative partnership between the CFT and PM office along with continuous feedback from Soldiers is key to ensuring the technology supports Soldier needs.
“The APNT/Space CFT is extremely proud to support our partners at PEO IEW&S on the Soldier-centric requirements within MAPS. We needed a strategy that delivered innovative and assured PNT to our Soldier in contested environments, and seeing the systems integrated proves the team-of-teams approach to delivering technology is working,” said Col. Jason Tussey, APNT/Space CFT Signature Effort Lead.
Soldier touch points and continuous feedback through the MAPS test-fix-test process were continuously utilized throughout the prototyping effort. It provided significant improvements to the usability aspect of the system and was used to inform the Capability Development Document requirements.
MAPS products will integrate with armored platforms to include Abrams, Bradley, and Paladin as well as lighter vehicles, such as Stryker, JLTV and HMMWV. MAPS will also integrate with the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, Maneuver-Short Range Air Defense, Indirect Fire Protection Capability and additional emerging platforms.
With an eye to pacing the threat, the PM office is already looking at future capabilities that may incorporate advanced receivers and other non-GPS PNT sensors. The organization instituted Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) compliance as a best practice for the next generation mounted solution to ensure a path to improved performance supporting the Future families of Army vehicles.