Joint Navigation Conference Abuzz About M-Code

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Joint Navigation Conference

At this month’s Joint Navigation Conference, military and industry experts on position, navigation, and timing (PNT) came together to discuss what comes next in the increasingly complicated world of PNT, “the foundation for military ops and homeland security,” what the warfighter needs of the next generation of PNT solutions, and what solutions industry is creating to answer those battlefield applications.

Because of the importance of the technical discussions that took place at the Joint Navigation Conference, The Modern Battlespace editorial team tracked down Mike Shepherd, Senior Account Manager for PNT Solutions at Collins Aerospace, to get the inside scoop on what the takeaways were from those briefings and discussions.

“M-Code,” the next generation GPS signal, “was certainly a central theme of the Joint Navigation Conference this year and last year and will continue to be so. That’s the big buzz,” Shepherd told us.  The military is transitioning to this signal, planning to go live in the fall of 2020, and will continue to complete the transition of nearly 700 platforms across the military—not to mention the supporting satellite constellations—over the next decade.

These advances will significantly help the warfighter’s ability to stay connected—in today’s GPS Denied and Challenged environments—to his or her PNT resources. The current, first increment of M-Code receivers has significantly enhanced anti-jamming and anti-spoofing capabilities compared to the GPS receiver in wide use across the military since the early 2000s (SAASM, or “Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module”).

Moreover, such advances are vital in light of how the military PNT landscape will change in the years to come. “The threats to PNT are going to increase,” Shepherd said, referring to the wide range of means that an adversary could use to disrupt the warfighter’s GPS capability. These threats range from the typical jamming or spoofing efforts along with temporary, regional outages or to a global outage, and the worst case scenario – an inability to access GPS assets or a complete destruction of GPS assets.

Shepherd assured us though, that while “there’s a general misunderstanding…that there aren’t solutions today to meet the PNT threats our warfighters face today,” the PNT Solutions group at Collins Aerospace noted there are PNT solutions available today that can augment GPS that will answer many of the PNT threats Warfighters face today

As it comes online and is steadily implemented across the military’s PNT platforms, M-Code’s enhanced anti-jam and anti-spoof capability will be a major factor in guaranteeing that resilience.

To learn more about Collins Aerospace’s M-Code receiver, click here.

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Justin Lee is a Writer for The Modern Battlespace and contributes news and events content to this site. He writes for a number of industry digital communities that focus on communications technology, including commercial satellites, cloud networking, and the latest in aerospace. Justin also shares his perspective from his past experience in the executive and legislative branches of government and the policy think tank world.