New program looks to develop GPS-level capabilities – without GPS

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is continuing to seek solutions for a recurring problem: the military depends heavily on the Global Positioning System to guide troops, vehicles and munitions, but those signals can be easily jammed or spoofed.

DARPA will be hosting a proposers’ day to provide information for the forthcoming release of the Spatial, Temporal and Orientation Information in Contested Environments (STOIC) program’s Broad Agency Announcement, according to a posting on the Federal Business Opportunities website.

The STOIC program is intended to develop positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) systems that would provide GPS-quality timing and positioning performance without actually using GPS. The program is made up of three integrated parts that would ultimately provide global PNT in environments where GPS performance is unavailable or degraded. These parts are:

  • Long-range robust reference signals.
  • Ultra-stable tactical clocks.
  • Multifunctional systems that provide PNT information between cooperative users.

The proposers’ day will be held June 12 at the DARPA conference center, 675 North Randolf St., Arlington, Va., from 1 to 5 p.m. The purpose of the conference is to provide potential proposers a forum to explore teaming opportunities, address questions, and provide information and additional discussion regarding the STOIC program.

DARPA’s Micro-Technology for Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (MICRO-PNT) program and Adaptable Navigation Systems (ANS) program are two existing programs that also seek to develop GPS alternatives.

The MICRO-PNT program seeks to develop self-contained, chip-scale inertial navigation and precision guidance for both munitions and soldiers, focusing primarily on miniaturization and micro fabrication techniques.

Meanwhile, the ANS program includes DARPA’s All Source Positioning and Navigation (ASPN) effort, which would combine inertial measurement units with non-navigational signals of opportunity such as television, radio and satellites that would provide occasional location fixes for the units. Under the ANS program, DARPA is working toward an end-to-end system demonstration of GPS-independent PNT for fiscal year 2015.

Potential proposers will have to register for the STOIC Proposers’ Day no later than June 9 at this website. The event is limited to the first 100 registrants.

About the Author

Joey Cheng is an editorial fellow with Defense Systems.

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