Defense takes center stage at 2018 GPS World Leadership Awards Ceremony

October 10, 2018  - By

An Air Force professor was honored for years of work exploring every PNT technology imaginable in conjunction with GPS; Rockwell Collins launched a new MicroSTRIKE multi-GNSS chip for military and professional applications, available globally on a non-ITAR basis; and Spirent Federal previewed its SimMNSA, a new M-code simulation option delivering to authorized customers by the end of the year.

Defense takes center stage at Leadership Awards. John Raquet, AFIT, accepts 2018 Leadership Award for Services from Justin Eldredge, Spirent Federal. (Melanie Beus photo)

John Raquet, AFIT, accepts 2018 Leadership Award for Services from Justin Eldredge, Spirent Federal. (Photo: Melanie Beus)

John Raquet, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology, received the 2018 Leadership Award for Services. Raquet was recognized for work he and his team at the Autonomy & Navigation Technology (ANT) Center developed on PNT sensors and systems utilizing almost every available source, including GPS, GNSS, inertial, vision, lidar, magnetic field, pseudolites, radar, terrain mapping, signals of opportunity, star trackers, radio ranging, 3D audio, X-ray pulsars, clocks, and more.

Raquet has co-authored many defense-oriented technical papers over the past three decades. See the list at the end of this article for some of the most recent ones.

His articles in GPS World magazine include “Correlator beamforming for low-cost multipath mitigation,” January 2017; “Chip Transition-Edge Based Signal Tracking for Ultra-Precise GNSS Monitoring Applications,” August 2015; and “A Vision-Aided Integrity Monitor for Precision Relative Navigation Systems,” July 2015.


Justin Eldredge from Spirent Federal introduced Raquet and bestowed the award, after updating the audience on Spirent’s most recent advance: “This year we maintain our position of being first to market with new signals, with the launch of SimMNSA. We’re currently in the final test phase of this new M-code option and it will delivering to several authorized customers by the end of the year. If M-code signals aren’t in the spectrum of testing for you, we offer products that simulate all other GNSS signals, plus a variety of other sensors.”

SimMNSA was demo’d at the Spirent Federal Systems booth at the neighboring ION GNSS+ conference. A video presentation of SimMNSA (for Modernized Navstar Security Algorithm) is available here. Spirent’s new software will support M-code using MNSA. M-code is an updated GPS military signal that is being rolled out as part of the modernization of the current GPS constellation. Until now, AES and SDS have been the only methods authorized to be used within a GNSS simulator to produce M-code. As the long-awaited MNSA M-code signals become available, Spirent Federal Systems will make this capability available to authorized users on the GSS9000 series simulator.


After receiving the 2018 Leadership Award, Raquet spoke about his work at theAutonomy & Navigation Technology Center. “Sometimes I called the ANT the Crazy Idea Factory. We’ve tried lots and lots of things. I think I have the best job in the world, because I get to experiment with many, many things, and work with amazing people.”

John Raquet, U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology (Melanie Beus photo).

John Raquet, U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology (Photo: Melanie Beus)

“This is not the kind of community where you build something once and you’re done, you put it away. This is a growing worldwide enterprise that takes new talent to come in and fill the spots that many of the people in this room have occupied. I’m privileged to see some of the students that we’ve worked with to then go on and fill some of the gaps, really do some amazing things.”

MicroSTRIKE, a non-ITAR GPS chip

Two awards prior to Raquet’s Services award, Phil Froom from Rockwell Collins, UK, spoke about an innovative venture from Rockwell and partners QinetiQ UK as he bestowed the Satellites award.

“For many years most of you here this evening will have known Rockwell Collins as a reliable partner in the delivery of Secure (encrypted) GPS receiver, and indeed, we are still the largest producer of encrypted military GPS solutions in the world. Our partners QinetiQ also have great expertise in the design and delivery of high assurance low SWAP GPS receivers, bringing together many years of expertise of our two companies in this new venture.

Defense takes center stage. Phil Froom, business development lead for Rockwell Collins, Europe, Middle East and Asia (Melanie Beus photo).

Phil Froom, business development lead for Rockwell Collins, Europe, Middle East and Asia (Photo: Melanie Beus)

“However, over the past few years we have seen our military and professional (government) users looking to greater flexibility in their use of GNSS, as new capabilities and constellations come on line. But with that flexibility, a retention of assurance and where possible, mitigation of threats. For this reason, last May, Rockwell Collins and QinetiQ signed an Alliance Agreement in London, to produce a new family of high-assurance, multi-constellation GNSS receivers for professional and military use.

“This new family of receivers is aimed to be complementary to the current encrypted family of Rockwell Collins receivers in service across the globe, but allow the customer to select his level of capability and protection based upon his operational, political or even financial needs. The new “MICRO” family of GNSS receivers will offer a multi-constellation open service (MCOS) GNSS capability, which will initially provide two receivers; the first, to be known as the Q40-MicroPNT, will address dismounted low dynamics requirements, and the second, the Q40-MicroSTRIKE, will be a gun hard, high dynamics receiver.

“You will note I said they are MCOS receivers. Therefore, they will not include an encryption device, will be Non-ITAR and will actually be produced in Europe, under the control of Rockwell Collins UK. QinetiQ are today working on the Q40 ASIC and, once available, this will be incorporated into these first two Micro Family receivers.

“These receivers will be of a common format to our existing and highly successful SAASM based MicroGRAM receivers and will offer users and OEMs the ability to select an MCOS receiver, or a SAASM (or ultimately M-Code) receiver, of a common form – factor, to meet their mission or platform needs. Thus allowing OEMs to reduce costs in integrating different form-factors, and to allow users to hold common hardware, but mounting mission specific receivers.

“We are of course extremely excited about this Alliance with QinetiQ and equally by the prospect of what it will bring to our existing and future users as we all move forward into this new era of GNSS capability.”

Check out videos from the event below. Click on the icon in the top left hand corner to choose which video you’d like to watch.

Recent technical papers co-authored by John Raquet.
• “Magnetic field navigation in an indoor environment,” Ubiquitous Positioning Indoor Navigation and Location Based Service, (Aiding an inertial navigation system when GNSS signals are not available, by taking advantage of the uniqueness of magnetic field variations);
• “Comparison of two image and inertial sensor fusion techniques for navigation in unmapped environments,” IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, (navigation of miniature aerial vehicles (MAVs) couplimng information from an IMU with visual information from an electro-optical camera);
• “Real-time UWB-OFDM radar-based navigation in unknown terrain,” IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems (a signal processing algorithm and simulation study for aerial navigation with an ultrawideband orthogonal frequency division multiplexed (UWB-OFDM) radar in GPS-denied environments;
• “Navigation in GPS denied environments: Feature-aided inertial systems,” Air Force Research Lab, Eglin AFB FL Munitions Directorate (latest alt-nav trends for navigating in difficult urban, indoor, and underground environments where typical GPS receivers do not function;
• “Coded aperture aided navigation and geolocation systems,” US Patent office #8577539 (A micro air vehicle having a navigation system with a single camera to determine position and attitude of the vehicle using changes the direction to the observed features);
• “Multisensor navigation systems: A remedy for GNSS vulnerabilities?” Proceedings of the IEEE (A multisensor navigation approach to GNSS-challenged environments using inertial measurement units (IMUs), barometers, magnetometers, odometers, and digital compasses);
• “Large scale image aided navigation,” IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems (images from an airborne camera match features against a reference image to compute global position);
• and many more.

About the Author: Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron is the former editor-at-large of GPS World magazine.