GPS, even when encrypted, is susceptible to spoofing and jamming and cannot be a single point of failure in critical PNT services such as military applications. Secure, resilient and assured PNT with six 9’s reliability is required, and is what ADVA and Brandywine Communications will provide through a new collaboration.
Brandywine will integrate its M-Code receiver with ADVA’s OSA 5422 grandmaster clock, combining the two technologies to create a solution that’s robust enough for military edge applications. The solution, expected to be announced later this year, will be built on Oscilloquartz’s timing technology with integrated M-Code capabilities. Like the OSA 5422, the technology will support 1Gbit/s and 10Gbit/s interfaces, provide GNSS assurance capabilities and backup through Oscilloquartz’s assured PNT (aPNT+™) technology.
“We wanted to provide an offering into the defense environment,” said Nino De Falcis, senior director of business development, Oscilloquartz, ADVA, “so we partnered with Brandywine to address the fact they didn’t have a grandmaster clock technology and we didn’t have the M-Code technology.”
M-Code, an encrypted GPS signal used by the U.S. military that’s resistant to jamming, is an export controlled receiver that will replace the legacy SAASM receivers, De Falcis said. With the recent launch of the last segment of GPS III satellites, the entire constellation is now ready to deploy M-Code. All the military’s infrastructure, tanks, hummers, weapons and missiles—basically everything that moves—must eventually be equipped with M-Code receivers as well as the timing capability the grandmaster clock provides once the signal is received and encrypted.
“Integrating their M-Code into our grandmaster clock provides a start-of-the art timing device that has a lot of intelligence,” De Falcis said. “The assured PNT inside the clock accommodates multiple sources, including M-Code, PTP and standalone GPS. We’re taking as many sources of opportunity as possible and verifying them. If any are jammed or spoofed or attacked, it can switch from one source to another.”
This includes sources of opportunity like LEO PNT, De Falcis said, as Adtran recently entered into a partnership with Satelles to add STL capabilities to its Oscilloquartz synchronization products.
The integrated solution developed with Brandywine will address applications in defense that require resilient and assured PNT, such as the Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (C5ISR), which supports the U.S. Army’s combat capabilities with real-time information to help inform tactile decisions. Then there’s the synchronized next generation Joint All-Domain Command & Control (JADC2). This AI-powered unified network, using 5G ORAN capabilities, will enable connected unmanned/autonomous weapons systems from all military branches across all domains.
“That network,” De Falcis said, “needs to be timed and protected in terms of PNT.”
What makes this solution different, De Falcis said, is everything is in one box rather than three or four. Other solutions have M-Code as a component and a grandmaster clock, but not the integration of multiple sources in one small device.
There’s also a management system that makes it possible to view the network through geolocation, De Falcis said, so users are aware when the source is switched because of jamming.
“One key feature of the OSA 5422 is its long holdover and PTP backup, which enables it to maintain accurate timing even in the event of M-Code disruption,” Brandywine Communications President Allen Ronk said, according to an announcement about the partnership. “This is critical for pressurized defense networks that need to operate in a variety of difficult environments. Our solution features multi-source backup capabilities to ensure that M-Code outages do not disrupt synchronization. It also provides sync assurance capabilities that continually monitor the performance of the timing system and take immediate corrective action when needed.”
Once the integrated technology is announced, which is expected by the middle of the year, the next step is to certify it for with the Department of Defense, which is part of Brandywine’s role in the partnership, De Falcis said.
There are hundreds of thousands of SAASM military receivers that must be upgraded to M-Code and a unified network that will connect multi-domain weapons, sensors and radars that needs to be protected in terms of PNT—representing a huge opportunity for M-Code solutions like the one ADVA and Brandywine are behind.
“What happens if we go to war and the entire GPS system goes down? Then what do you rely on? We have technology that not only incorporates M-Code but other sources of opportunity,” De Falcis said. “Users can switch from one source to another while comparing the sources in real time, so we have six 9’s reliability in compromised battlefields.”