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US Army taps CACI to support Assured PNT development

A US Army solider with 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment inspects a MAPS Gen 1 component installed on a tactical vehicle. (US Army)

The US Army has tapped US information technology company CACI International to support the service's ongoing development work on advanced Assured Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (A-PNT) capabilities.

Company officials announced on 6 February they had finalised a five-year co-operative research and development agreement (CRADA) with the ground service to “further the development of advanced payload technologies [and] space sensor applications” to enable A-PNT capabilities for the US armed forces.

Specifically, officials from the service's Space and Missile Defense Command Technical Center will participate in a planned 2023 low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite launch by CACI to evaluate a new multimission satellite payload, according to the 6 February statement by CACI.

Programme officials plan to evaluate the performance of a pair of “software-defined technology applications” designed to enable “precise and resilient” A-PNT and provide a tactical signals intelligence (SIGINT) capability as part of that prototype payload, the statement added.

As planning for the 2023 LEO satellite launch continued within CACI, before the CRADA, army officials “expressed interest in participating in the programme to evaluate these technologies for military use”, according to company officials.

“These [prototype] payloads feature mission-proven, ground-based technologies that are tailored for the unique challenges of the contested space domain” in terms of resiliency and size, weight, and power (SWaP) requirements for software-defined applications, CACI president of National Security and Innovative Solutions Todd Probert said in the 6 February statement.

While the CRADA is primarily focused on A-PNT capability development at LEO, the agreement will also include research and development work on “laser communications, laser sensing, artificial intelligence, and secure communication technologies”, CACI officials said.

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