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Northrop Grumman integrating M-Code into precision artillery

Several US Army conventional 155 mm artillery projectiles outfitted with Northrop Grumman's Precision Guidance Kit. (US Army/Northrop Grumman)

US defence company Northrop Grumman will begin integrating Military Code (M-Code) global positioning system (GPS) capability into the company's precision guidance systems for medium- and long-range artillery systems.

CAES, a Northern Virginia-based company specialising in advanced radio frequency (RF) technologies, will carry out the M-Code GPS integration work into Northrop Grumman's Precision Guidance Kit (PGK), according to a 23 January statement by the RF technology firm.

Valued at USD24 million, the integration deal will see CAES-developed GPS antennas designed to send and receive signals across the M-Code band combined into PGKs slated for the US Army. The company will produce roughly 80,000 M-Code-enabled GPS antennas for PGK integration, the 23 January statement said.

β€œM-Code GPS antennas help improve security and anti-jamming of military navigation. Implementing this technology will make PGK one of the largest programmes within the US DoD integrating this critical capability,” CAES officials said in the statement.

A majority of GPS capabilities for assured positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) aboard the US armed forces' weapon systems are based on Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM)-enabled GPS PNT. At its core, SAASM capabilities consist of an enhanced security architecture for GPS signal transmission, which is designed to encrypt and decipher signals via β€˜over-the-air' rekeying of signal receivers.

M-Code, on the other hand, is a military-only GPS signal located in the L1 and L2 GPS bands that utilises a higher power signal, advanced message encryption formats, and signal modulation techniques to improve transmissions, while hardening the signal against electronic warfare (EW) or signals intelligence (SIGINT) threats.

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