Garmin Archives - Inside GNSS
March 13, 2020

U2: BeiDou Is My Co-pilot

According to a statement by the head of U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command, pilots of the elite U-2 spy plane wear watches that receive foreign GNSS signals and provide backup navigation when GPS is jammed.

“My U-2 guys fly with a watch now that ties into GPS, but also BeiDou and the Russian [GLONASS] system and the European [Galileo] system so that if somebody jams GPS, they still get the others,” said Gen. James “Mike” Holmes on March 4 at the McAleese Defense Programs Conference in Washington.

The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed “Dragon Lady,” is a single-jet engine, ultra-high altitude (70,000 feet, 21,300 meters) reconnaissance aircraft. It gathers intelligence with a variety of sensors. The U-2 is one of very few aircraft that have served the Air Force for more than 50 years, a select group that also includes the B-52 long-range bomber. The latest model, the U-2S, had a technical upgrade in 2012. [Dragon Lady photo above, courtesy Lockheed.]

Gen. Holmes did not name the watch manufacturer.

In February 2018, Garmin announced that its D2 Charlie aviator watch had been selected by the Air Force  for use by the pilots of the Lockheed U-2 aircraft. “The high-sensitivity WAAS GPS-enabled D2 Charlie aviator watch incorporates global navigation capability, rich and colorful moving maps and more, providing pilots in the USAF with an exclusive, back-up navigation timepiece in the cockpit. . . . The D2 Charlie aviator watch will be an integral and functional part of the U-2 pilot’s toolkit.”

According to the press release, Garmin expected the United States Air Force to take delivery of more than 100 D2 Charlies.

Among the sensors mentioned on Garmin’s spec sheet for the watch are GPS, GLONASS, a heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, compass, accelerometer and thermometer. BeiDou is not listed.

However, in an annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company stated: “Garmin utilizes a variety of other global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) including, but not limited to . . . .The BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS), a Chinese satellite navigation system that is expected to have 35 operating satellites in orbit by 2020 and will provide global coverage.”

Charlie
Garmin’s D2 Charlie watch, shown here with Weather radar overlay feature. Photo: Garmin

D2 Charlie has a sapphire scratch-resistant crystal lens and a diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated titanium bezel. A sunlight-readable, high-resolution color display with LED backlight on the watch face allows pilots to view data in most lighting conditions in the cockpit. It offers up to 20 hours of battery life in GPS mode and up to 12 days in smartwatch mode. It comes with a leather wristband and a sporty silicone band.

By Inside GNSS
February 18, 2019

GPSIA Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Garmin GPS 155’s FAA Certification

WASHINGTON – The GPS Innovation Alliance (GPSIA) issued the following statement, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) certification of the Garmin GPS 155, a device that for the first time enabled pilots to use Global Positioning System as their primary navigation source across all phases of flight — including approach to landing in poor weather conditions. Members of the public may view the prototype, as part of the Time and Navigation exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum.

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By Inside GNSS
November 13, 2018

Garmin Refreshes Popular Handheld GPSMAP Series

Garmin International recently announced two additions to its popular outdoor GPS handheld series – the GPSMAP 66s and the GPSMAP 66st. The GPSMAP 66 handhelds can log raw measurements in RINEX form. These updated premium handhelds bring expanded wireless connectivity, direct-to-device access to BirdsEye Satellite imagery and a larger 3-inch sunlight-readable color display. The GPSMAP 66st offers preloaded topographic maps for the United States and Canada.

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By Inside GNSS
November 12, 2018

Garmin’s Instinct GPS Watch Features Multi-GNSS Support

Garmin International, Inc., has launched Instinct, a strong and durable GPS watch with built-in 3-axis compass and barometric altimeter plus multiple global navigation satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS and Galileo) support and wrist-based heart rate. In addition to key GPS data, ABC and heart rate sensors, Instinct includes built-in sports apps, smart connectivity and wellness data.

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By Inside GNSS