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UK explores GNSS mid-course alternatives for weapon systems

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has set out plans to explore alternatives to Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) for guided weapon system mid-course navigation.

Managed under the MoD's Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) on behalf of Defence Equipment and Support, the activity is seeking to develop an understanding of commercially available positioning and navigation technologies. A follow-on DASA competition is expected to culminate in a test and trials phase.

GNSS services – such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) and Galileo – have proliferated in commercial and military positioning and navigation over the last two decades, and are today widely exploited by medium-range and long-range missiles as a means to accurately navigate to the target vicinity. However, while these satellite constellations offer reliable and accurate worldwide coverage, they are increasingly vulnerable to jamming and spoofing.

Released last month, the DASA market exploration – titled Alternative Navigation for Weapon Systems – is intended to identify viable alternatives to the military-grade GNSS-based navigation used in complex weapons. The principal area of interest is in understanding the availability of technologies and techniques at technology readiness level 4 or above, that are able to support mid-course in-flight navigation to an accuracy of Β±5 m. The technology to guide to final target (terminal phase) is not in scope.

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