BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman to Develop Anti-Jam ‘NAVWAR Sensors’ for the U.S. Air Force


The U.S. is embarking on a development of a future Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver to better cope with hostile electronic attacks. Last week the Air Force awarded two contracts worth $47 million each to BAE Systems and Northrop grumman, for the development of ‘navigation warfare’ (NAVWAR) Sensor that could replace military GPS receivers used on aircraft and missiles. The system is developed under the Air Forces’ the Navigation Warfare Technology initiative, also known as The Navigation Trinity (TNT), designed to maintain Air Force the freedom of action under extreme GPS countermeasures.

Designed to replace traditional GPS elements in airborne GPS/INS systems the NAVWAR Sensor will be compatible with existing embedded GPS receivers, and offer 10 meter CEP location accuracy even under heavy jamming. In addition to providing consistent position, navigation and timing data it will help protect secure Blue Force tracking networks (Blue force Electronic Attack – BFEA) and datalinks, both considered critical infrastructures susceptible to enemy electronic attacks.

Designed to operate in hostile electronic environment, the future receiver will also offer situational awareness acting as a signals intelligence sensor, enabling GPS jammer detection, characterization, geolocation and reporting of GPS jammers. Networked NAVWAR sensors will also be able to exchange hostile jammer locations with other networked NAVWAR receivers, thus optimizing collective countermeasures against the threat. The system will integrate the multi-mode Y-Code, M-Code and C/A-code (YMCA) receiver to offer more advanced capabilities, compared with current military code anti-jam GPS receivers. It will possibly include advanced technologies such as inertial sensing, chip scale atomic clocks, anti-jam antenna electronics, direction finding and geolocation algorithms to achieve the high level of survivability the Air Force expects.