Air Force to replicate ground-based GPS for next-gen tests

The Air Force will install a non-GPS-based positioning system (NGBPS) across a large portion of the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in New Mexico, which the service will use in conjunction with the satellite-based Global Positioning System to provide precise positioning to test its next generation of navigation and guidance systems.

The NGBPS fully replicates a GPS constellation on the ground, and is manufactured by an Australian company named Locata. It will be installed across WSMR by New Mexico-based TMC Design Corp.

The system will provide the Air Force’s 746th Test Squadron (746 TS) with accurate “truth data” to evaluate the operations of mobile and airborne position, navigation, and timing equipment in GPS-denied environments.

As the GPS Test Center of Expertise and DoD's lead test organization for evaluating GPS user equipment and GPS-based guidance and navigation systems, the 746 TS will employ the NGBPS as a critical component for the realization of the squadron’s new Ultra-High Accuracy Reference System for the test and evaluation of future navigation systems for the Department of Defense.

The operational installation of the NGBPS system will consist of both fixed and mobile command and control nodes, and a network of LocataLite transceivers deployed at WSMR. The Locata NGBPS system is capable of operating in combination with GPS, or completely independent of GPS, depending on 746 TS mission requirements.

Completion of the installation at WSMR is scheduled for the third quarter of this year.

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