Launch Stories provides warfighters, sponsors, partners, and taxpayers with an inside look at the technologies and research developed by small businesses working with the Air Force.
Sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), this new forum highlights the advanced tools and innovations that drive US competitiveness and make service members safer, better informed, and more efficient than ever. These are their stories.
(If you are interested in partnering with the Air Force to develop a new technology or explore new markets, you can find more information here.)
Congress established the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program in 1982 to strengthen the role of smaller businesses in federally-funded research and development. This program stimulates technological innovation, uses small businesses to meet Federal R&D needs, and increases private sector competition, productivity, and economic growth.
The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, a sister program to SBIR, was established by Congress in 1992 to encourage small business partnerships with Universities, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, and qualified non-profit research institutions.
The process for submitting a story is divided into a few easy steps. Estimated time to set aside to write, input, collect support materials and emailing your project information is about four hours.
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Imagine that you are a Pararescuemen conducting an on-foot rescue of a downed airman. You are using a commercial GPS to navigate but, for a second, your position appears to have been lost. After a few minutes, it returns and you continue on your way. Little do you know that a hostile source is now spoofing your device, feeding it incorrect information and leading you directly into an ambush. Prior training would have kept you from being the unwitting victim of this malicious spoofing attack.
In the field, service members often use GPS devices to find their position and navigate. But in an instant, the GPS signal can be blocked (jammed) or fed counterfeit information by a hostile source (spoofed). In either case, GPS users must know how to identify the attack, check its severity, and adjust to outsmart it. With proper training using the Space Kit 3, dangerous spoofing and jamming can be avoided. After completing the training, GPS users are able to not only understand the implications of spoofing, but can also identify the level of the threat and properly address it in order to proceed with their mission. A Pararescuemen using his GPS to navigate in the field would be able to identify jamming and spoofing and remove the threat by switching over to a different frequency, successfully proceeding with his mission.
User Interface of Space Kit 3
Space Kit 3 in Operational Configuration
Space Kit 3 configured for transport
The military needed a robust and efficient tool for training warfighters how to navigate in a GPS-degraded or denied environment. Without this training tool, users of military GPS user equipment would be ill-prepared to recognize a jamming or spoofing attack, making them vulnerable to malicious attacks in an operational environment, which could potentially put lives at risk. Prior to the adoption of Space Kit 3, equipment was not available to the military GPS end user for GPS jamming and spoofing training. With the increased recognition of the operational impact of jamming and spoofing on GPS receivers, the need for training tools has become a necessity.
NAVSYS leveraged its experience in GPS signal simulation, software and hardware development, and advanced anti-jam SDR positioning platforms to fill a need identified by the Army Space and Missile Defense Command to rapidly prototype and productize a solution.
"This solution addresses a gap in training for the warfighter and its adoption as a training tool will improve readiness in denied and degraded signals environments." — Jeff Seabaugh
Space Kit 3 is a user friendly, low-cost approach for the capture and playback of live sky signals between 60 MHz and 5 GHz in either a closed-loop or open air configuration. The user interface for Space Kit 3 was designed with the operator in mind and allows for easy configuration of up to four channels, while handling the complexities of time sync, playback, and software defined radio control in the background. In addition to record and playback capabilities, the system is able to playback simulated files to include complex simulations and varying types of interference. This lets trainees experience spoofing and jamming scenarios and practice solutions in a safe environment before they go into the field. An Android-based tablet is used to control the system with an easy to use and intuitive touch screen interface.
Service members will benefit from this training tool by being exposed to the effects and impact of GPS jamming and spoofing on military GPS user equipment. The training environment prepares them so they are able to identify threats and act accordingly when in an operational environment.
Space Kit 3 is an opportunity for NAVSYS to directly impact preparedness of our military community by introducing them to the threat GPS denial has to operations. Awareness of the reliance of critical systems to GPS will improve our service members’ capability to react to jamming and spoofing and benefit mission success.
The Space Kit 3 product addresses a niche demand in the commercial market for a cost effective multi-channel software defined radio. As a result, this effort positions NAVSYS for further growth into the commercial space.
This effort has allowed NAVSYS to continue to extend the capability of this SBIR-derived product and increases the commercial application for this highly cost competitive 4-channel software defined radio. In doing so, this effort has improved the ongoing success of NAVSYS Corporation as a contributor to the economy.
Colorado Springs, CO
NAVSYS Corporation is a leader in advanced GNSS research and development. Our products include precision GPS/Inertial Navigation Systems, GNSS Interference detection and localization, Signal Simulation hardware and software, and signal analysis.
Low-Power, Software Defined Global Positioning System (GPS) Receiver
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