IMPROVING TARGETING ACCURACY
By Julian Nettlefold
May 08. BATTLESPACE meets Phil Froom of Rockwell Collins to discuss the recent contract win for the UK MoD Improved Target Geolocating Accuracy system (ITGA)
“What gave Rockwell Collins the technological edge to win this Programme?” The Editor asked Phil Froom, Principal Account Manager, Europe, Rockwell Collins UK Limited.
“The use of Precision Guided Munitions (PGM) is increasing dramatically and these require accurate target geolocation systems particularly in urban scenarios or where the PGMs are being dropped ‘Danger Close’ to our own troops. I addition, featureless terrain such as the Afghan landscape proves a challenge to any Forward Observer relying on Indirect Targeting Systems. Thus absolute accuracy and precision targeting are the name of the game. It was therefore with the aim to meet these absolute targeting needs that we bid our solution for ITGA.
Rockwell Collins is an acknowledged world leader in the supply of GPS systems and by coupling this technology and targeting Augmentation Software with our Rosetta Joint Fires (RJF) capability already in service with US Forces; we formed the basis for our bid. We combined these capabilities with a system which would be able to correct the azimuth deviations of the LRFs caused by magnetic anomalies, to provide a GPS based azimuth augmentation for Forward Observers. We then formed partnerships with other companies such as Sagem who supplied the LRTV laser rangefinder, General Dynamics Itronix who supplied the rugged DuoTouch Tablet computer, Harris who supplied the PRC 152 radio, which has direct digital line of sight and satcom link capabilities and Instro Precision who supplied the goniometer integrated with our Augmentation Unit.
In addition we worked closely with B2K to provide an excellent Miniature Tactical Video Downlink Receiver (MTVDR) which forms a very important part of the system. This system receives images from Aircraft Targeting Pods, UAVs or other Battlefield video sources and provides them either to the Tablet PC for viewing or recording, or direct to the soldier through our SO-35 helmet mounted display (HMD) system.
Coupled to this, Rockwell Collins developed an Azimuth Augmentation Unit which utilises two GPS receivers – connected to two GPS antennas – one on the laser rangefinder and one situated up to 10 metres away from the unit to very accurately measure the position of the ITGA system and to provide a precise targeting azimuth which is used to calibrate and then correct direct targeting accuracy. This overcomes the inherent LRF inaccuracies caused by deviation of the internal Digital Magnetic Compass (DMC) and enabling accurate and precise delivery of modern GPS guided weapons. The Rockwell Collins Azimuth Augmentation solution derives its reference bearing by processing signals from two internal GPS receivers connected to external antennae separated by a short and variable base line. The enhanced azimuth accuracy together with the range and elevation from the LRF is then handed off to the Rosetta Joint Fires (RJF) targeting software. The Rockwell Collins system provides a fully fielded, combat proven solution for both air and ground targeting by coalition forces.”
“Was there a big competition for the Requirement?”
“Yes, initially there were around sixteen bidders of various capabilities which were reduced to four at the final Assessment Phase. I believe the final four were Rockwell Collins, Ultra Electronics, Selex and BAE Systems/Raytheon.”
“What is the current status of the contract?”
“After UK MoD digital Close Air Support (CAS) trials in the USA in September, the System was fully deployed on Active Service in November 2007 and we understand it will also be fielded by 16th Air Assault Brigade later this year for use by their Forward Air Controllers (FACs) and Forward Observation Officers (FOOs).”
“Could you tell us about your heritage in this type of techn