BATTLESPACE Editor Julian Nettlefold met John Gallagher, Managing Director for Weapons & Sensors, Raytheon UK.
Defense News reported in July that Russian forces have been regularly jamming signals from the U.S. Global Positioning System as part of its war on Ukraine. These signals underlie many aspects of modern warfare, from navigating surveillance drones and targeting missiles to enabling mobile radios. The importance of GPS as a military tool was underscored by Kremlin media in November as troops were massing along the Ukraine border. Despite this, Russian interference with GPS in Ukraine has not been nearly as aggressive as many observers had expected. Experts within the GPS/positioning, navigation, and timing communities have proposed a number of possible reasons for this. All these factors have combined to see an increased demand for Raytheon UK’s suite of anti-jamming technologies, evidenced by the recent award of a 10-year indefinite-delivery contract with an estimated value of $250 million, with the U.S. Department of Defense, to provide advanced Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing systems to the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy.
Raytheon UK GPS Products
Raytheon UK has over 20 years’ experience in developing, producing and supplying a suite of anti-jamming products at its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Harlow, Glenrothes and Livingston, Scotland. They include the Advanced Digital Antenna Product, the GPS Anti-Jam System as well as the next-generation Landshield and Landshield Plus, a new and compact GPS anti-jam antenna system that protects its signal within the electromagnetic spectrum.
“GPS navigation is essential to today’s battlefield operations. It allows precise location of military assets in real time. So, if hostile forces attempt to shut down the military’s GPS navigation, it’s serious. Having an anti-jam solution is no longer restricted to high-value assets like naval ships and military aircraft. Future tech in this area will eventually take shape for a truly man-wearable system.” John Gallagher said.
“Could you give our readers an overview of your GPS capability.” The Editor asked.
“GPS is key to much of the UK’s critical national infrastructure. From financial systems to military applications, our reliance on the information that GPS provides has grown. And when military systems rely on the signals to complete their missions, defending GPS becomes crucial. This year, Raytheon UK achieved the milestone of having 15,000 anti-jamming systems supplied and in service around the world on air, sea and land platforms.
“Our family of receivers and antennas extend GPS capabilities by enhancing control over time and leveraging position and navigation in innovative ways. Able to stand alone or be integrated into a GPS receiver, our anti-jam technology secures GPS signals in dense electromagnetic environments and additionally rejects spoofed GPS signals. It is suitable for commercial, Y-Code, M-Code and alternative navigation products. Anti-jam capabilities are flexible in size, range and performance, allowing them to be optimized for any system, including weapons, avionics and ground systems. Our networked system-of-systems approach improves sensor-to-shooter capacity. We employ advanced methods that rely on precise time to help warfighters control the battle and successfully complete their missions.” John Gallagher said.
Raytheon UK offers a range of alternative signal solutions to enable reliable navigation in highly contested and GPS-denied environments. We use machine-learning advancements and enhanced algorithms to tighten up GPS signals.”
Landshield, Raytheon UK’s next-generation anti-jammer sees surge in demand
Raytheon UK has designed a new, compact, GPS anti-jam antenna system that protects its signal within the electromagnetic spectrum. The one-box system, called Landshield Plus, allows the GPS equipment to function against a wide range of jammers.
“Unfortunately, GPS signals are relatively easy to disrupt. This improved anti-jamming tech helps tackle a weak point in the modern battlefield.” John Gallagher said. “In unprotected systems, the power from a jammer can swamp satellite signals and antennas, resulting in a complete loss of GPS navigation. Landshield Plus nulls out the effect of the jammer by simply adjusting the antenna’s gain profile and re-connecting the GPS to the available satellites.”
Weighing just 2.9 kilograms, Landshield Plus is the newest member of the Landshield GPS Anti-Jam product family. It is a low-cost and low-power technology that can be used with standalone GPS receivers. The system also works within communication, inertial navigation, sighting, vehicle or weapon-aiming systems.
Landshield Plus not only shields GPS from electronic warfare attacks, it alerts the user to the presence of interfering signals. By locating the jamming source – down to both its direction and type– Landshield Plus can help fend off further jamming.
The user gets information about the jamming signal and its direction that can be fed back to commanders and operators in the battlefield, according to Gallagher. That data helps commanders make faster, more informed decisions. The system has been designed to fit existing and future military land-based vehicles, and is currently in trials around the world.
“Never before has having a fully secured GPS system been so integral to operational success. Our reliance on these systems is too high to not take maximum precautions in securing the data they’re providing, so we are stepping up to the important challenge of meeting this demand.” John Gallagher said. “Landshield is a low size, weight and power device that defends GPS systems and deters jamming and spoofing attempts. Although it has been designed to meet the primary function of nulling the effects of a full range of hostile jammers and spoofers, it also has the distinct advantage of alerting users to the location and type of interfering signals.”
Through locating these signals, Landshield provides critical information to the user allowing them to maintain an operational advantage in GPS-contested environments. It has also been designed with utility at its core. Being the size of a hockey puck and weighing only 1 kilogram, Landshield integrates easily on both a wide range of large platforms and small weapons systems.
“Given the general growth of the use of this technology, is Raytheon UK investing in new anti-jam technology?”
“Yes, we are continually looking at enhancing our existing technology to evade new and advanced jamming systems. Over the past decade, Raytheon UK has focused on small, form-factor GPS anti-jam antennae for land platforms. And as demand grows for GPS protection on smaller, lighter platforms, the tech could support unmanned aerial systems or soldier-worn systems. Research is underway to determine the correct balance between flexible, light-weight materials and radio frequency performance. Able to stand alone or be integrated into a GPS receiver, our anti-jam technology secures GPS signals in dense electromagnetic environments and additionally rejects spoofed GPS signals. It is suitable for commercial, Y-Code, M-Code and alternative navigation products. Anti-jam capabilities are flexible in size, range and performance, allowing them to be optimized for any system, including weapons, avionics and ground systems.
“We have always tried to anticipate rather than react to market needs. Even so, we are seeing a surge in demand for anti-jamming products as we better understand the capabilities of our adversaries. That has made us change our manufacturing process to reflect this new reality. We’ve taken a proactive stance and invested in our supply chain to ensure we can build on the success of Landshield and meet these urgent requests in a time-critical manner, we simply can’t rest on our laurels in such a rapidly evolving landscape.” John Gallagher said. “Although Landshield is currently the market leading anti-jam product, we know our adversaries won’t stop investing to counter it, and as such, we won’t stop innovating to stay one step ahead and keep our friends’ and allies’ signals safe. This includes investing in future developments for Raytheon UK’s anti-jamming technologies. There are many different types of GPS signals and whilst the Landshield family of products currently protect on L1 and L2 frequencies, which are the two GPS signals most commonly used, it will evolve to include a greater number of frequencies such as L5, GLONASS and E1. This will mean that it provides a capability that covers all of the different types of satellite-based positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) systems used globally. The team will also explore how to integrate alternative navigation technologies into Landshield.”
The MAGR2K brings M-Code GPS capability to maritime and avionics platforms, including the F/A-18, MV-22, CV-22 and MH-53E. The MAGR2K enhances GPS acquisition and performance and provides all-in-view GPS satellite tracking and GPS integrity. The open architecture and modular design allows for easy upgrades. We’ve delivered over 3,000 units to 20 different platforms to the U.S. Air Force, Navy and international partners.
Outfitted on Raytheon Missiles & Defense’s Stormbreaker® Smart Weapon, the Hammer Spear is an M-Code GPS receiver with leading anti-jam protection. Hammer Spear is a miniaturized and low-cost GPS receiver solution capable of supporting multiple weapons platforms. The high-precision positioning capabilities ensure weapons hit intended targets every time, no matter the environment.
MAGR 2000-S24 GPS
In January 2021 Raytheon Intelligence & Space delivered its 3,000th MAGR 2000-S24 GPS system to the U.S. Air Force. The MAGR2K is a secure, resilient GPS receiver that allows the warfighter to navigate the battlespace with protection against interference and jamming.
The MAGR2K is an upgrade to the legacy miniaturized airborne GPS receivers and is currently in service aboard 20 types of fixed-wing and rotary-wing platforms from Department of Defense and Foreign Military Sales customers.
Raytheon Intelligence & Space continues to upgrade the MAGR2K technology to stay current with the evolving battlespace. Development is underway for the MAGR-2K-M, which uses the company’s M-Code technology. The first production readiness units are currently undergoing platform integration on the U.S. Air Force’s B-2 platform.