The Rockwell Collins Athena® 111m Flight Control System and Real Time Kinematic (RTK) Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) technology solution for secure GPS receivers recently enabled successful shipboard flight tests of the U.S. Navy’s RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS). The U.S. Navy’s RQ-21A “Integrator” is manufactured by Insitu, a division of The Boeing Company and a customer of Rockwell Collins.
“With the launch of this first ever SAASM RTK solution, military operations that require centimeter-level GPS navigation accuracy can utilize a more secure alternative to commercial RTK GPS receivers,” said Dave Schreck, director of UAS and Control Technologies for Rockwell Collins. “Today, platforms such as Insitu’s RQ-21A can have that navigation accuracy for autonomous capture, landing, or other operations, while benefiting from the high-security features of the SAASM GPS receiver.”
High levels of security and precise navigation are critically important for naval shipboard operations. The Rockwell Collins solution enabled the RQ-21A STUAS to remain secure and stable during flight operations and recovery even in rapidly moving, high sea state situations.
Schreck added that the RTK SAASM technology also enables cost-effective, miniaturized solutions for many other applications including targeting and North-finding solutions.
The RQ-21A STUAS completed its first flight at sea in the Gulf of Mexico from the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19). The system completed three months of land-based trial flights at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, Calif., before launching from a LPD-class ship.
The Rockwell Collins SAASM device is a single, tamper-resistant multi-chip security module that can be combined with other components and software into a complete GPS receiver. RTK SAASM utilizes a miniature, low power SAASM GPS receiver. Rockwell Collins is the first in the industry to receive security approval for production of the SAASM GPS that incorporates a next-generation Precise Positioning Service (PPS) security module.