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Collins Aerospace NavHub, a robust navigation solution for military platforms of today and tomorrow By Phil Froom Collins Aerospace

 

Collins Aerospace has recently received an order from a further NATO customer for their integrated navigation solution, known as NavHub, which has recently been released. The NavHub vehicle navigator, provides a protected and assured GPS/GNSS navigation solution for a variety of military applications, including both land and maritime platforms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NavHub has been designed to reduce or remove the need to conduct regular time consuming and costly navigation system upgrades, involving the removal of obsolete hardware, and replacement of vehicle infrastructure, cables and interfaces – often requiring the platform to be taken out of service for long periods of time. This especially in light of the significant updates and changes to be seen across military satellite based navigation over the next few years. New GNSS constellations will become operational, and military GPS users will begin to transition from the current encrypted SAASM based GPS system to the next-generation M-Code system. Integration and upgrade to meet these updates will see significant changes to host platforms, most of which are mounting single stand-alone GPS receivers mounted on the fascia or GPS receivers mounted in host systems such as radios. Upgrade to encompass the variety of next-generation systems; GPS or GNSS will necessitate a flexible, protected, open-service host-system within which to mount the new generation receivers.

NavHub offers an upgradeable and integrated navigation solution, based upon open standards, which – depending upon the variant installed – will provide a blended navigation and timing solution, providing multi-constellation open service GNSS, military encrypted (SAASM) GPS, or GPS M-Code, an integrated IMU, precise timing, and odometer feeds.

NavHub has been designed to provide a navigation solution for the lifetime of the platform, allowing the operator to simply replace and upgrade the GNSS receivers inside, as technology moves forward (GPS SAASM to GPS M-Code for example). Collins Aerospace receivers are all backward compatible, so GPS C/A Code, SAASM and M-Code receivers are all interchangeable, allowing users to fit doctrine or mission specific receivers to their NavHub’s as necessary, with no infrastructure or host system changes.

Collins is already producing a next-generation NavHub system – currently under development trials – to offer an internal Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), advanced timing solutions, odometer feed and Anti-Jamming (AJ) antenna integration. Providing a tightly coupled Military GPS/GNSS/Inertial navigation solution with Kalman filtering, which also provides advanced timing to all platform systems (radios, ECM, BMS). This ensures that systems dependent upon critical timing are provided with a stable and accurate timing solution during any loss of GPS/GNSS time.

This further enhances the navigation solution in GPS denied situations, and provides users with a compact, cost effective integrated vehicle navigator, which can be installed across an entire vehicle fleet in its various configurations – from Open Service GNSS, to tightly coupled GPS M-Code with advanced AJ.  The internal IMU is integrated with NavHub via a conformal expansion unit which allows existing GNSS based NavHubs to be easily upgraded with an internal IMU at any time in the future. Planning for this upgrade is already under way for a number of current and new NavHub customers within NATO, who will upgrade to NavHub as part of a scheduled future fleet upgrade programme.

With the increase of GPS Spoofing and Jamming seen globally, NavHub offers an integrated and tightly coupled navigation solution, with varying levels of protection, dependent upon platform needs. All new GPS/GNSS constellations and capabilities are to be provided as options (M-Code and Galileo PRS included) and advanced timing and AJ will ensure that NavHub provides the highest levels of Assured Position Navigation and Timing (A-PNT) available, meeting the growing threats of today and tomorrow.

Collins Aerospace Launches New M-Code GPS receivers.

 

 

 

 

The new U.S. M-Code GPS system will ultimately replace the current SAASM system in the provision of highly protected and encrypted GPS for military and Government users. In June this year, Collins Aerospace – a unit of United Technologies Corp. UTX, created in 2018 by bringing together UTC Aerospace Systems and Rockwell Collins – announced that it has received security accreditation for its new MPE-M, M-Code GPS receiver.

The new MPE-M is the latest in the highly successful Miniature PLGR Engine (MPE) family of GB-GRAM Type II form factor GPS receivers provided Collins Aerospace. The MPE-M is ideal for lightweight, ground-based applications such as tactical radios, SATCOM systems, blue force trackers, targeting devices, vehicle LRU’s, Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUV), Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) and Unmanned Aerial Systems  (UAS).

The MPE-M has the same Type-II small form factor as the current SAASM based MPE-S receiver, and is designed to be fully backwards compatible and easily integrated into platforms that utilise the MPE-S today. According to independent testing, the MPE-M is the smallest size, weight, and power (SWaP) small Type II form factor ground receiver available today, and incorporates Collins Aerospace’s recently certified Common GPS Module (CGM).

Available now, the MPE-M is authorised for export to U.S. allies through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) programme and is already seeing significant interest from both existing MPE-S users and future integrators. Collins Aerospace expects to release full-rate production pricing later this year in preparation for responding to international requests for proposals by early 2020 with expected deliveries to begin by the end of that year.

The company already has received multiple requests for MPE-M prototypes for lab use from the U.S. Department of Defense, in preparation for M-Code migrations before the U.S. SAASM waiver expires and the M-Code mandate takes effect.

Although Collins Aerospace is currently delivering a number of M-Code form-factors to U.S. DoD, it also remains the only remaining producer of SAASM based GPS receivers, and is projected to do so through 2035. With a huge installed base of SAASM based GPS receivers globally, Collins intends to continue to support this user community into the foreseeable future…

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