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Saturday, May 30, 2015
Device Can Track Soldier Movements With or Without GPS
As reported by Defense Systems: Army researchers are developing a pocket-size device that will give soldiers precise geolocation information even when GPS signals are unavailable.
The Warfighter Integrated Navigation System (WINS), being developed at the Communications Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center, uses a variety of sensors to track a soldier’s movement from a last known location, recording footsteps, speed, time, altitude and other factors to show the soldier’s location on a map.
"It's got a number of inertial sensors, such as a pedometer and an accelerometer, things you will find on your cell phone but of a higher quality," Osie David, a CERDEC researcher, said in a news release. "Even if the enemy is denying you GPS or the terrain is, you can still get known location on here so it will show up on your Nett Warrior device or your command and control system."
Finding alternatives to GPS is a focus for the Defense Department precisely for those times when Global Positioning Systems signals don’t get through, whether because of terrain such as dense forests or jungles, or enemy interference. GPS signals can be jammed even with low-powered devices or spoofed by stronger signals.
Or both. In 2011, it is thought that Iranian engineers jammed the GPS signal for an U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone, then spoofed its coordinates to make it land in Iran instead of its base in Afghanistan. University of Texas students also have demonstrated using spoofing to take control of unmanned aircraft and even an 80-foot yacht.
The military doesn’t expect that it ever will do without GPS—it’s still the most accurate and far-reaching geolocation system ever created and likely will remain so for the foreseeable future. But in addition to hardening GPS signals against jamming and other electronic warfare attacks, researchers are working on alternatives for those times when GPS service is blocked.