DVIDS – News – NIWC Atlantic sets the stage for Marine GPS test event at White Sands

WHITE SANDS, NM – The Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic wrapped up a month-long event in September to support the US Marine Corps testing of new GPS technology that will enhance the service’s offensive and defensive capabilities on the information war front.

The Field User Assessment (FUE) of the Military GPS User Equipment (MGUE) at the White Sands Rifle Range evaluated the performance of several receiver cards aboard the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).

Receiver cards, which are essential components of the MGUE, help decipher powerful and encrypted military GPS codes called “M-Codes”.

M-Code is part of several efforts to modernize US military GPS capabilities. It was designed to enhance Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) solutions in restricted access environments while mitigating threats to GPS such as jamming and identity theft.

The FUE, which began in mid-August, marked the first time the Marines had used the M-Code. During the test exercise, NIWC Atlantic took the lead in commissioning all key equipment and technologies for the Marines.

“Our main mission was to configure and integrate the receiver cards on the JLTV to not only provide Marines with access to the M-Code, but also to maximize data collection opportunities for post-performance evaluations,” said Jake Witmer, NIWC Atlantic Project Manager for MGUE.

Prior to the event, NIWC Atlantic spent over a year designing data collection methods, developing M-Code application training, performing regression testing on new software releases, and delivering manpower resources including technical resources for test requests and rapid field repairs.

To create the right conditions for FUE, Navy engineers have worked tirelessly to align equipment and capabilities across the range, according to Maj.Bob Schronski, GPS Operational Test Project Manager at Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation. Activity (MCOTEA).

“Every night these guys worked on getting the JLTVs up and running while setting up the monstrous amount of test material inside the vehicles,” he said.

The JLTVs used a 40 mile circuit, where jammers created a dynamic and stimulating environment for the operation of the receiving cards. Meanwhile, Marines at a makeshift command center were reporting exactly the information each map produced.

As a result, the 16 infantry and radio operators of the 5th Marine Regiment who participated in the FUE developed a very good assessment of the interference environment.

“It was important to understand what kind of situational awareness the cards provided,” Schronski said. “But ultimately, the main objective of the tests was to verify the accuracy and survivability of the maps under threat conditions.”

This was not the first time that NIWC Atlantic had been in the New Mexico desert to work with Marines and M-Code. Last year, the command integrated and tested the receiver boards on the JLTV, which enabled the US Space Force to certify the M-Code receivers from the MGUE Increment 1 program as ready for operational testing on the platform. – main form JLTV.

At the time, the NIWC Atlantic played a pivotal role in making the Marine Corps the first service to achieve certification as part of the Department of Defense’s efforts to provide a stronger and safer signal to joint forces.

Following this year’s FUE, data collected from each card’s performance will inform a future Marine Corps Systems Command down selection decision on tracking systems.

“We are proud to be a part of this pioneering work that will result in better defenses and assured flight crew capabilities for Marines,” said Captain Wesley S. Sanders, Commander NIWC Atlantic. “Accessing the M-Code in a contested environment will keep our fighters safe, keep them connected and keep them dominant.”

About NIWC Atlantic

As part of Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, NIWC Atlantic provides the engineering and procurement of systems to provide information warfare capabilities to naval, joint and national combatants through acquisition, development, integration , production, testing, deployment and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communications, computing, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities.

Date taken: 28.10.2021
Date posted: 28.10.2021 14:56
Story ID: 408247
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