Boeing Awarded Contract for GPS Enhancement Demonstration

August 6, 2008  - By
Image: GPS World

The Boeing Company has been awarded a $153.5 million U.S. Naval Research Laboratory contract to demonstrate High Integrity Global Positioning System (GPS) technology concepts. The contract is expected to run through 2010.

The High Integrity GPS effort combines satellite signals from the Iridium Low Earth Orbit telecommunications system and GPS Mid Earth Orbit navigational satellites to enhance navigation availability, integrity, accuracy, and jam-resistant capabilities for warfighters.

“High Integrity GPS is an effective near-term tool that will augment GPS satellites to provide critical new capabilities, including aggressive levels of additional anti-jam protection,” said David Whelan, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems chief scientist and vice president/deputy general manager, Advanced Systems. “Our research concluded that significant low-cost improvements to GPS can be achieved by using existing signal platforms and systems such as the Iridium constellation.”

The need to provide a more capable GPS for warfighters stems from the increasing sophistication of hostile jamming capabilities, according to Boeing. GPS supports numerous military and civil applications, so the ability to jam the system presents a grave threat, the company said.

“Boeing has been working over the years to find new ways to maximize the effectiveness of the GPS constellation,” said Alex Lopez, vice president, Advanced Network and Space Systems. “With this integrated approach, we can increase the value of the current system by improving its operational mission-assurance capabilities.”

Based on its years of experience supporting the operation of the Iridium system, Boeing is able to integrate the system with GPS in a manner to create the first such combined navigation and communication “system-of-systems,” the company claimed.

The High Integrity GPS team includes Boeing Advanced Systems and Phantom Works, Iridium LLC, Rockwell Collins, Coherent Navigation, and experts from academia.

Iridium Satellite LLC, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., operates the Iridium constellation to provide worldwide voice and data satellite communications services for the private sector and the U.S. government. Boeing has provided Iridium with systems engineering and constellation management functions since the system became operational in 2000.

Phantom Works is the advanced research and development unit of Boeing. Its charter is to provide innovative technology solutions that reduce cycle time and cost of aerospace products and services while improving their quality and performance.

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