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Spirent Federal launches alternative RF navigation simulator

August 24, 2021  - By
Photo: Spirent

Photo: Spirent

Spirent Federal has launched an alternative RF navigation simulator. As GPS jamming and spoofing continue to rise, interest in complementary sources of positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) data has likewise increased.

Recent government directives recommend a layered, multi-source approach, with much of the attention focused on non-GNSS radio frequency signals. These RF signals, coined alternative RF navigation, offer unique PNT capability in GPS-degraded or denied environments. The signals are secure and resilient and can act as an effective complement to GPS signals.

Spirent Federal’s product can simulate resilient alternative RF navigation signals on its own or concurrently with GNSS signals. Testing can be static or dynamic, with stationary, pedestrian and ground vehicle trajectories available.

“As a result of our extensive research and development incorporating a variety of assured PNT technologies, we’re pleased to be the first to provide this capability to our customers,” said Roger Hart, director of engineering. “Our product enables developers to test early and often, from the first stages of R&D to integration and field testing. Solutions can be tested with edge cases, hardened against interference, and deployed faster with greater confidence they will work for our warfighters.”

Spirent is actively engaged with several alternative RF navigation technologies and technology providers to incorporate signal simulation capability. To learn more, contact Spirent Federal to discuss fielded configurations.

A U.S. Marine Corps radio operator grounds an during long-range HF radio training in Kuwait Oct. 7, 2020. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps/Capt. Joshua Hays)

A U.S. Marine Corps radio operator grounds an during long-range HF radio training in Kuwait Oct. 7, 2020. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps/Capt. Joshua Hays)

Collaboration with Xona Space Systems

Spirent Federal Systems also announced that it is collaborating with Xona Space Systems to develop simulation and test capabilities for Xona signals produced by small satellites (smallsats) operating in low Earth orbit (LEO). Xona is a San Mateo-based startup developing a smallsat constellation for a dedicated PNT service.

Xona’s patent-pending approach using small satellites in LEO is intended to improve global PNT resilience and accuracy by both enhancing GNSS and operating as an independent system. Xona’s high-power signals utilize advanced signal structure and security techniques, improving jamming and spoofing resistance as well as multipath mitigation.

“We do all we can to protect, toughen, and augment PNT and are eager to work with emerging companies like Xona who are developing a next-gen navigation and timing architecture,” said Jennifer Smith, senior director of Business Development at Spirent Federal. “Our simulators provide critical support to developers and integrators by enabling testing and validation before the product deploys.”

The space and defense sectors also benefit from Spirent Federal’s expertise in generating high fidelity RF signals using quadrature (I/Q) data. Spirent test tools allow the full customization of I/Q data. Customers can generate unique I/Q data corresponding to experimental modulation schemes and use Spirent Federal’s signal generation capabilities to create the corresponding RF.  Such rapid prototyping allows for quick turnaround times and shorter iteration cycles.

Alternatively, scenarios created using Spirent Federal’s proprietary SimGEN software can be saved as I/Q data which can be processed by software-implemented receivers.

“Building a new generation of satellite navigation and timing services goes far beyond just the satellites,” said Brian Manning, CEO of Xona Space Systems. “It requires building an entire ecosystem from ground stations to chipset manufacturers to end users and systems integrators. Having reliable and trusted simulation capabilities is critical to support all of these areas which is why we are thrilled to be working with Spirent to provide a robust solution to our partners.” 

About the Author:


Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.

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