PNT Technology for Military & Defense
Positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) is a combination of three different concepts:
- Determining location on the Earth with reference to a standard system
- Accurately adjusting course, orientation and speed to move from a current location to a desired one
- Maintaining accurate and precise time anywhere on Earth according to a standard
PNT is crucial for a wide range of military operations, including locating and positioning forces, aircraft and vehicle navigation, accurate targeting of missiles and weapons systems, and synchronization of activities such as C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance).
PNT capabilities are most commonly provided by GNSS systems such as GPS, Galileo or BeiDou, which broadcast satellite signals that can be picked up by GNSS receivers.
Assured Positioning Navigation & Timing
PNT can be threatened in a number of ways. GNSS signals can be jammed by broadcasting deliberate interference that can affect the ability of GNSS receivers to extract the desired information. GNSS signals can also be affected by spoofing, which involves broadcasting fake signals and tricking the receiver into accepting these false signals as genuine. GNSS spoofing is particularly dangerous as it could cause GNSS receivers on vehicles and weapons systems to “think” that they are somewhere else.
Dismounted Assured PNT Systems (DAPS) have and are being developed to enable dismounted units to effectively operate within GPS challenged environments. These SWaP optimised soldier-worn devices utilise body-worn sensors to provide assured PNT.
Resilient PNT Systems
Resilient PNT solutions use a number of technologies to combat threats such as GNSS jamming and spoofing, and maintain assured PNT. These include the use of error detection software, anti-jamming antennas, signal encryption, and multi-frequency receivers. Alternatives to GNSS can also be incorporated that will take over during periods of GPS denial, such as inertial navigation systems (INS) and timing oscillators based on atomic clocks.
Developers of resilient and assured PNT solutions for military applications need to thoroughly and efficiently test their products during the development cycle. This can be done using GNSS simulators, which allow developers to accurately model real-world conditions in a repeatable way without the use of live-sky signals.