The Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and the
Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement to
transition ARPA-developed GPS guidance technology into military aircraft.
The agreement governs the continued development of the Global Positioning
System Guidance Package (GGP), plans for its insertion into Naval aircraft for
testing and then eventual production.
GGP is a high-precision, low-cost guidance, navigation and control system that
will support a wide range of DoD platforms and applications, including
high-performance aircraft and stand-off weapons. In GGP phase one, ARPA has
developed and is now testing a small, lightweight (20 pound) unit consisting of
a miniature GPS receiver, a navigation-grade miniature inertial measurement
unit, and a navigation microcomputer. The objective of GGP phase two will be
to develop a smaller production unit (seven pounds) while improving the
performance and meeting more stringent environmental requirements. The system
can be retrofitted into existing aircraft, gaining increased capability without
additional space and weight requirements. Future aircraft will be able to
integrate the GGP's functions efficiently into their overall flight control
system. In addition, the projected size, weight, performance characteristics,
and low unit cost of the production GGP opens up the possibility of using this
technology to increase the capabilities of smart weapons.
In signing the agreement, Director of ARPA Gary L. Denman, noted, "This is a
prime example of how ARPA technology can directly improve the capabilities of
our military systems. The GGP is an ARPA success story -- I hope it will be a
Navy success story as well. We look forward to a productive relationship with
NAVAIR as we transition the GGP to our military warfighters."
The Commander of NAVAIR, Vice Admiral William C. Bowes, stated that NAVAIR is
aggressively pursuing opportunities to work with ARPA on this and other
emerging technologies for Naval aviation applications.
Under the agreement, ARPA will demonstrate the compact, affordable packaging of
components into a form compatible with a large range of unmanned and manned
platforms. The GGP phase two program will be jointly funded, with ARPA
providing overall management responsibility and the Navy assisting. NAVAIR
will assure that GGP is compatible with a variety of Naval aircraft and
weapons, and will test advanced units on Naval aircraft, and will then
transition GGP phase two into production as the next-generation, embedded
"The GGP is a core system in our future strategy for navigation and precision
strike," maintains Navy's Air Combat Electronics Program Manager, Captain
Frederick G. Schobert, USN.