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RF Radio Communications Module for Secure GPS/GNSS-based Communications Navigations Applications


OBJECTIVE: Develop a low size, weight, power, and cost radio frequency module for a GPS / GNSS receiver to provide the capability of passing secure navigation and voice data among a localized network of users to find position in a degraded environment. DESCRIPTION: Significant interest and research in recent years has been devoted to developing techniques for collaborative navigation based on a network of users operating together to maintain position awareness and navigation in situations where Global Positioning System / Global Navigation Satellite System (GPS/GNSS) signals are degraded due to environmental (i.e., terrain, foliage, multipath) and man-made factors (i.e., jamming, interference, urban canyon). The backbone of these approaches is the integration of GPS/GNSS receiver functions and possibly embedded sensors (e.g., accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, magnetometer) with a radio frequency (RF) communications module. One of the objectives of the Military GPS User Equipment (MGUE) program is to integrate a low size, weight, power, and cost (SWAP-C) M-code capable GPS receiver with the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Handheld, Manpack, and Small Form Fit (HMS) radios. It is envisioned that these Comm-Nav receivers will leverage net-centricity to enhance the operational robustness and efficiency of warfighter positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) capability and situational awareness. However, as a result of the growing demand by military users for both low cost and more user friendly GPS/GNSS receivers, there is greater emphasis on the use of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) GPS/GNSS receivers or military GPS receivers that do not require costly security protection features. To overcome some of the vulnerabilities and information integrity issues associated with these approaches, collaborative navigation among users using a communications network are being researched. While there are existing commercial solutions that provide a comm-nav capability to establish these types of networks, these have been shown to have significant security related issues which can be detrimental under battlefield conditions. Innovative designs and / or research activities are solicited to support development and testing of a low SWAP-C RF radio communications module and associated antenna. The proposed concept or design should interface to the commercial GPS receiver serial NMEA data port and military receiver serial Instrumentation Port (IP) to transmit and receive specific navigation data. It should allow for localized secure networked communications of GPS/GNSS data and voice using AES 256 encryption between up to 30 users located within a 10 mile diameter circle that can be obstructed by terrain, foliage, or man-made structures. The system should provide a path for direct integration within a military or commercial GPS/GNSS receiver. Design goals should include limiting the module size to 1 sq-inch, module power consumption of less than 0.5 W, and equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP) with antenna of 2 W. The system should transmit and receive the JTRS Soldier Radio Waveform (SRW). Proposed concepts should consider design issues including frequency band, digital modulation, data input/output method, data transmission rate, antenna characteristics and interface, error and data link processing protocols, and data/voice security. PHASE I: Develop performance requirements and detailed design of the secure RF communications module and associated antenna. Provide simulations, analyses of proposed techniques, and recommended designs for implementation in a prototype system. PHASE II: Build a prototype RF module to demonstrate the ability to network multiple GPS receivers and provide secure data and voice communication. The prototype module can interface to a commercial GPS receiver. Demonstrate the prototype in laboratory and field test trials with an ad hoc network of users to include real world effects like interference, multipath, and shadowing. PHASE III: The ability to mitigate the effects of GPS signal degradation using collaborative navigation among networked users is a technique being used and considered for both civilian (e.g., disaster relief) and military (e.g., dismounted soldiers in urban environment) applications. REFERENCES: 1. Agarwal, V., Arya, H., and Bhaktavatsala, S.,"Design and Development of a Real-time DSP and FPGA-based Integrated GPS-INS System for Compact and Low Power Applications,"IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems, Vol. 45, No. 2, Apr 2009. 2. Serra, A., Nepa, P., Manara, G., and Massini, R.,"A Low Profile Linearly Polarized 3D PIFA for Handheld GPS Terminals,"IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, Vol. 58, No. 4, Apr 2010.
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