Air Force accelerates development of military GPS receivers

The Air Force has again upped the ante on getting more powerful GPS receivers into the field, awarding a $36.6 million contract modification for M-Code capable equipment.

The award follows two other contract modifications in January—an $8.3 modification to L-3 Communications and a $21.8 million deal to Rockwell Collins—in support of the Military GPS User Equipment, or MGUE, program, a joint program to develop M-Code receivers.

M-Code, which stands for Military Code, produces a high-powered signal that resists jamming and other interference. Developed in the late 1990s and first broadcast from a GPS satellite launched in late 2005, M-Code operates in a separate part of the electromagnetic spectrum from civilian signals and is intended to work when conventional receivers are disrupted. It features improved security, messaging formats and frequency modulation techniques.

It’s seen as key to allowing the armed forces to function in contested spectrum environments. Congress has mandated that the military buy only M-Code-capable equipment by fiscal 2018, prompting the Air Force to step up development and production.

Rockwell will enhance military GPS software code and deliver additional pre-prototype GPS receiver cards in order to support faster fielding of M-Code capable GPS receivers to the warfighter.

The latest contract modification to Rockwell Collins covers work on enhancing software code and delivering additional pre-prototype GPS receiver cards. The contract runs through February 2017. The Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base is handling the contract.

About the Author

Kevin McCaney is a former editor of Defense Systems and GCN.

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