Air Force Launches Phase 2 of Resilient-Embedded GPS/Inertial Development and Prototype Program - Inside GNSS - Global Navigation Satellite Systems Engineering, Policy, and Design

Air Force Launches Phase 2 of Resilient-Embedded GPS/Inertial Development and Prototype Program

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) recently awarded Integrated Solutions for Systems (IS4S) a $95M Phase 2 contract for the Resilient-Embedded GPS/Inertial Navigation System (R-EGI) development and prototype program.

IS4S successfully completed R-EGI Phase 1, pioneering a Continuous Competition Design Agent (CC-DA) approach that brought together industry representatives to develop a vendor-neutral open architecture for positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) solutions.  IS4S assembled a Core Team (IS4S & Booz Allen Hamilton), 4 Design Teams (Draper, General Dynamics Mission Systems, Honeywell, & Northrop Grumman), and 5 industry Review Teams (Collins Aerospace, General Electric Aviation, Kearfott, L3Harris, & Raytheon) to provide trans-industry participation in the design process.

With the CC-DA in place, IS4S will converge the best elements from Phase 1 candidate designs and government insights to produce the prototypes.

[Photo: The F-16 Fighting Falcon is the initial platform for the R-EGI, with several other platforms reportedly very interested. (Lockheed Martin)]

“We’re designing R-EGI to be more than a single system,” said IS4S vice president John Larson. “We’re defining an entire PNT ecosystem and creating a design process that AFLCMC will own. The Phase 2 team is using model-based systems engineering to develop a digital toolchain in an open design that is both modular and reusable across multiple platforms.”

“This approach widens the aperture and brings the technical baseline back into the government,” added Mikel Miller, IS4S vice president for PNT. “R-EGI gives the warfighter technology needed for tactical advantage, including the latest in alternate navigation and GPS receiver technology with M code. As threats change, so must our PNT capability. R-EGI enables us to outpace the threat.”

The R-EGI open architecture provides a clear framework to allow integration of new, adaptable technology and algorithms from across the DoD, industry, and academia. When this open architecture is coupled with the CC-DA R-EGI development process, rapid adjustments can be made while achieving significant sustainability benefits over traditional acquisition approaches.

The convergence of Phase 1 designs will produce a final Government Reference Architecture with unlimited data rights for the government. IS4S also aims to deliver a production-ready, government-owned technical data package suitable for full and open competition, as well as production representative prototypes that demonstrate completeness and manufacturing readiness.

The abstract for a paper on R-EGI scheduled as an alternate for the Joint Navigation Conference in August states that “In R-EGI, a resilient solution is defined by the following three attributes:
* Avoiding the threat through the use of alternative-PNT (alt-PNT) and improved GPS/Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Signal processing with technologies such as GPS Software Defined Radio
* Recovering from a new threat by rapid development and validation of capabilities, and
* Reconstitution of this capability through affordable integration into weapon systems.
There are many challenges to achieving these goals for airborne platforms including:
* efficient distributed collaborative development – and tools that work and are approved for DoD networks,
* insertion of capability while managing:
** airworthiness (both military & civilian,)
** cyber / authority to operate,
** and configuration management,
* appropriate ownership of intellectual property to enable resilience,
* balancing legacy vs. future needs (vs. requirements),
* operationally validating alternative PNT for specific missions,
* moving at the speed of relevance,
* and the acquisition approaches for the above.”

Integrated Solutions for Systems, Inc. (IS4S) is a small business headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama that provides a wide range of engineering and management solutions to government, military, and commercial customers. Founded in 2008, IS4S specializes in PNT, missile system engineering, energetic research and development, vehicle electronics, additive manufacturing, and other innovative technologies.