The U.S. Army recently conducted trials on new navigation technology resistant to electronic jamming. These devices are mounted on U.S. Army vehicles and will assist soldier utility and navigation by providing environmental and situational context. According to the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester, the Mounted Assured Positioning, Navigation, and Timing System provide what has been coined “improved situational awareness.” The Office of the Director of Operational Test and Evaluation said the technology could also facilitate casualty-evacuation and [mock] reconnaissance missions, even–and, perhaps, especially–when GPS is compromised.
Also known as MAPS GEN II, the new technology combines spoofing capabilities with anti-jamming functions using data collected from alternate sensors. This is what reduces reliance on GPS. The tech will be equipped on various armored vehicles and other platforms. This could include heavy Paladin artillery and Abrams tanks. It could also include lighter machines like Stryker combat vehicles or even Humvees.
These successful tests concluded only months after the Army’s Program Executive Office for Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors (PEO IEW&S) awarded the contract to Collins Aerospace. Collins is a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, the second-largest global defense contractor by revenue (approximately $42 billion in 2021). This contract is worth $583 million and comes on the heels of a 2020 contract in which the Army tasked Collins with preliminary integration and maturation of what eventually became the MAPS prototype.
The development of MAPS comes as the United States prepares for possible armed conflict with China and/or Russia. In either case, that conflict will likely include furtive electronic interference and a bevy of signal-interrupting or disabling obstacles. This can include non-mechanical strategies like thick vegetation or urban development. On its website, Collins has said that the MAPS suite provides “the highest level of protection against the most severe and evolving” threats.
While the initial–and limited–testing was conducted in September of 2021, another classified report was released soon after. Following that report, secondary evaluations were conducted–between May and June 2022–at the Army’s Fort Huachuca, AZ, Electronic Proving Ground facility. The Pentagon has also confided they have scheduled another study for fiscal Q4 at another classified, but conditionally adequate, location.