Across the U.S. Air Force’s research arm, scientists are developing quantum information science capabilities in four key areas of interest to the service: timing; sensing; communications and networking; and computing. Experts at the Air Force Research Laboratory, known as AFRL, are also investigating the development of enabling technologies, which will springboard the use of quantum capabilities in the four areas.
The ability to provide deep sensing for long-range fires, confront improvised explosive devices, increase the survivability of aircraft, protect forces, and conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, all hinges on an advanced tactical network on the battlefield.
Over the next year, U.S. government officials intend to develop an initial conformance framework to ultimately improve resilience for systems that provide positioning, navigation and timing for a wide variety of users. That initial framework will focus on timing, and lessons learned will be used to develop more comprehensive versions.
WR Systems Ltd., Norfolk, Virginia, is awarded a $49,999,996 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, performance-based contract with provisions for cost-plus-fixed-fee and firm-fixed-price task orders. The contract is for the procurement of positioning, navigation and timing engineering and in-service engineering agency support services. The services required include design development, systems integration, acquisition and prototype engineering, technical documentation, and integrated logistic support in order to support the Integrated Product Team. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Virginia, and is expected to be completed by October 2020.
Leidos Inc., Reston, Virginia, was awarded a $9,805,063 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to complete the RQ-7Bv2 integration, testing, and qualification of the design developed under Phase III of the RQ-7B Shadow Assured Positioning, Navigation, and Timing program. Three bids were solicited with two bids received. Work will be performed in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of September 30, 2020. Fiscal year 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $5,272,644 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W911QY-18-F-0687).
Leidos Inc., Reston, Virginia, was awarded a $9,805,063 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to complete the integration, testing, and qualification of the design developed under Phase III of the RQ-7B Shadow Assured Positioning, Navigation, and Timing program. Three bids were solicited with two bids received. Work will be performed in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of September 30, 2020. Fiscal year 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $5,272,645 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity (W911QY-18-F-0687).
DOD announced that the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center Pacific had selected Riverside Engineering LLC, Vienna, Virginia ($14,419,476); Coherent Technical Services Inc., Lexington Park, Maryland ($12,068,259); Whitney, Bradley & Brown Inc., Reston, Virginia ($10,489,800); and Solute Inc., San Diego, California ($9,868,928) to provide emerging positioning, navigation and timing technologies for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance applications.
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., McLean, Virginia, been awarded a $23,608,513 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for research and development of the precise reference sensing for collaborative electronic warfare program. The purpose of the will be to perform on-site positioning, navigation and timing technology development; prototyping; integration; and modeling, simulation, wargaming and analysis. Work will be performed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and is expected to be completed by June 29, 2023. The award is the result of a competitive acquisition.
John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, has been awarded a $47,000,000 face value, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for computer software. The contract provides for research and development, to provide the Air Force Research Laboratory with the necessary research and development to maintain an essential engineering, research and development capability in the areas of space control; space communications and positioning, navigation and timing; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; space situational awareness; high-power electromagnetics, lasers and space electro-optics. Work will be performed in Laurel, Maryland, and is expected to be complete by June 13, 2023.
PreTalen LTD, Dayton, Ohio, has been awarded a $23,741,397 cost-plus-fixed-fee, completion contract for Operational Multi-Domain Enhanced Global Navigation Satellite System applications research and development. The contract will concentrate on extending position navigation and time autonomous negotiator applying cognitive effects-based analysis, to control multiple global navigation satellite systems (e.g. GLONASS, BeiDou, and Galileo), their host platforms and expand the capability to automate the analysis of these platforms dependent on these signals. Work will be performed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio; and Dayton, Ohio, and is expected to be complete by August 25, 2023.
The world’s most well-known navigation and positioning system is just so good, researchers are looking for alternatives.
Government scientists and industry partners are exploring miniaturized battery-powered atomic clocks, Earth-based satellites, jam-resistant antennas and cameras as navigational systems to reduce risk from overdependence on the Global Positioning System (GPS).
In one way or another, everyone depends on the Global Positioning System, or GPS, to smooth the way they live their daily lives. Already, the United States has more than 30 active GPS satellites that feed data to bolster the ubiquitous ecosystem of connected smartphones and other devices that facilitates comings and goings—whether circumnavigating traffic delays or directing users to the precise location for a steaming cup of coffee.
When it meets this summer, the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing likely will discuss reviving an enhanced version of a World War II timing system to augment signals from global navigation satellites. Portions of the nation’s critical infrastructure, including defense, transportation and finance sectors, depend on those signals, which are potentially vulnerable to a wide range of threats, including wartime adversaries, terrorists, hackers, natural phenomena and commercially available but illegal jammers.