GNSS jam-proof test range ready for customer testing

A new dimension in real-world PNT testing has arrived. One of the most critical things to predict for chips, receivers and devices using alternative or back-up PNT technologies is how they will actually perform without GPS.

Filling this need, the U.S. Air Force 746th Test Squadron has declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) for its new truth reference, the Ultra High-Accuracy Reference System (UHARS) at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Even when GPS — or any other GNSS system — is being completely jammed, UHARS provides extremely accurate positioning, navigation and time (PNT) over the large area that the system was designed to cover.

“Initial testing shows that UHARS delivers accurate independent PNT as good as, or better than, the Air Force’s current Central Inertial and GPS Test Facility (CIGTF) Reference System (CRS), so it is perfectly able to support current customer requirements,” said Dr. Jim Brewer, Chief Scientist of the 746th Test Squadron. “However, more data are required to tune the UHARS filter and optimize its accuracy to meet even tighter PNT requirements, which is our objective. When this is achieved, UHARS will deliver truth accuracy for next-generation military capabilities, and we will declare UHARS Full Operational Capability.”

“UHARS is a rack-mounted, tightly integrated system of improved navigation sensors, a data acquisition system (DAS) and a new post-mission Kalman filter, all of which need to work together,” explained John Cao, Technical Director of the 746th Test Squadron. “It’s working very well, but once we completely measure and characterize the individual components and then tune and validate the filter, the complete system will provide a significantly more accurate reference solution for future airborne and land-based test vehicles in navigation warfare environments where modernized and legacy GPS signals are jammed from friendly or hostile systems.”

To achieve these accurate reference solutions, UHARS requires a core Non-GPS Based Positioning System (NGBPS) component capable of operating and providing sub-meter position accuracy in a GPS-denied (jamming) environment. The NGBPS subsystem of the UHARS program employs a network of ground-based LocataLite transceivers and test vehicle receivers manufactured by the Locata Corporation. The Locata network deliver centimeter-level positioning and navigation as well as nanosecond-level synchronization, which may be useful for military applications requiring precise time transfer in GPS-denied environments.

White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) is a United States Army rocket range of almost 3,200 sq mi (8,300 sq km) in parts of five counties in southern New Mexico. It is the largest military installation in the United States.

The importance and uniqueness of the WSMR as GPS test facility spring from the fact that it is illegal to jam GPS elsewhere without a special permit. Thus it is extremely difficult to create a real-world test scenario for various GPS and other PNT devices, to see how they perform under denied or restricted circumstances. This is of critical importance for flight testing (UAVs and other avionics) for which the UHARS was primarily designed and optimized.

The LocataNet truth reference system can also provide a 2D solution to support ground vehicle testing.  Reportedly, the 2D solution, while also very good, has not yet been fully characterized. Once the filter has been fully tuned in this respect, WSMR could serve as a test facility for autonomous driving. There are many miles of paved highway on the WSMR, possibly in the hundreds of miles.

History of UHARS Development. Based on successful results of the original technical demonstration at WSMR in a real-world end-to-end environment, the USAF proceeded to the NGBPS production and fielding phase in 2012. The Locata Corporation was contracted to provide production ground transceivers and receivers, navigation algorithms required for data analysis and subject matter expertise. The TMC Design Corporation, the integrating contractor for this program, was tasked to develop the production hardware to house the Locata hardware, develop the command and control hardware and software, and field the production hardware at WSMR. The Locata network was fielded in September 2014, and its NGBPS capability is now core to the UHARS that is replacing the CRS.

“Our team is thrilled to be part of this historic USAF capability,” said Nunzio Gambale, CEO and co-founder of Locata Corporation. “Locata products developed and fielded by important commercial partners like Hexagon and Perrone Robotics routinely prove our technology is a game-changer for positioning over industrial-sized areas. However, leveraging Locata technology as the core non-GPS-based PNT solution over a vast military area when GPS is jammed instantly elevates our achievements into a completely new league. Clearly, we are witnessing the arrival of one of the most important technology developments for the future of the entire PNT industry.”

Customers wishing to leverage UHARS into their test programs should contact the 746th Test Squadron at (575) 679-2123 or 746ts.info@us.af.mil for scheduling information.

TMC Design is the Future of Space and Colorado

TMC Design is the Future of Space and Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo -

Thousands of people are in Colorado Springs this week, and what they're talking about is straight out of outer space.

They're attending the 32nd annual Space Symposium.

Brandon Tripp is happy to show off the latest technology being used by his employer TMC Design Corporation.

"Electronic warfare systems, prototypes, satellite ground terminals, mobile ground systems, a wide range of (Department of Defense) operations," he said.

They're one of dozens of companies exhibiting at this week's Space Symposium, and it has a tie to Colorado Springs.  For TMC Design Corporation, having an office here is an easy choice.

"Other than (the fact that) Colorado Springs is beautiful, it's also a mecca for aerospace," said Tripp.

Space exploration is big business in Colorado, and it's only expected to get bigger in the years to come.

A lot of that business is going to be driven by companies that have a presence in Colorado Springs.

Andrew Merritt of the Regional Business Alliance said, "(We have) 240 plus companies locally that we know of doing business in that arena."

Jay Lindell of the Colorado Office of Economic Development said, "We're leading the industry sectors in both national security space development in Colorado and a very thriving and vibrant industry in commercial and civil space."

And because of that, industry leaders are looking for a few good men and women.

Tripp said, "We have a lot of job openings right now."

To keep that growth going, the city needs to take a few simple steps.

"Just making sure we maintain a business friendly environment," said Merritt.

Thanks to the military, that part of the space industry will continue to be strong.  But growth in the civilian sector is happening as well.

TMC gets down to business with SOG & US Border Patrol

TMC gets down to business with SOG & US Border Patrol

TMC Design sits down with Special Operations Group Border Patrol: BORSTAR- Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue & BORTAC - Border Patrol Tactical Unit to discuss GVIS-T and leverage TMC's NextGen capabilities to enhance the effectiveness and improve safety of Border Patrol Operations. #borderpatrol #BORTAC

 

TMC Design awarded $37M modernization contract for Electromagnetic Radiation Effects (EMRE) Test Complex on White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico!

The Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (PEO-STRI), Orlando, Florida, recently awarded TMC Design Corporation of Las Cruces, New Mexico, a $36,996,876 contract for the Electromagnetic Environmental Effects Systems Modernization Program at the Electromagnetic Radiation Effects (EMRE) test complex at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR), New Mexico, with an estimated completion date of March 30, 2020.

The EMRE Test Complex provides the Army with critical cutting-edge capabilities to test and evaluate survivability and vulnerability of operational systems for electromagnetic radiation and electromagnetic compatibility, electromagnetic interference and electromagnetic discharge, and electromagnetic radiation hazards.

TMC Design is the Prime Contractor for a six-member Industry Team with decades of experience, exceptional breadth of technical knowledge, and production capacity to efficiently and effectively accomplish EMRE modernization.  Under this contract, TMC Design will lead design, development, integration, installation, and delivery for multiple turn-key systems, ready for employment at the WSMR EMRE Test Complex.  This 5-year effort will include development and integration of state-of-the-art technology to upgrade and replace multiple signal transmitters, refurbish an anechoic test chamber, replace data acquisition equipment, and install a new turntable to support US Army developmental and operational electromagnetic Test and Evaluation (T&E) requirements.

As Prime, TMC Design will design, develop, and fabricate antenna and ground plane systems, perform anechoic chamber refurbishment, and lead integration of all high-power amplifiers on EMRE test complex.  Our teammates, Amplifier Research (AR) will develop the required high power amplifiers; HV Technologies (HVT) will support electro-static discharge and  electromagnetic interference systems; and Micronetixx Technologies will provide high-power combiners, filter, and transmission lines. Oakland University will validate system designs using RF, modeling, simulation, mapping, and measurement capabilities.  Finally, Systems Solutions Group (SSG) will provide expertise to secure the EMRE Test complex networks under the Cyber Security Risk Management Framework (RMF).

“At TMC Design, we fully understand the EMRE mission to test and evaluate vulnerability and survivability of the Army’s combat systems; this modernization effort will deliver unprecedented capability and ensure a technically superior test environment for the evaluation of combat systems in support of the warfighter” said Chris Ham, President and CEO for TMC Design Corporation.  “We are eager to lead Team TMC on the modernization effort to ensure the EMRE Test Complex may achieve their critical mission goals well into the next decade.”

As a seasoned prime, TMC Design develops synergies and rapport amongst our supporting teammates to bring the best elements of Team TMC to each challenge.  Team TMC looks forward to our partnership with PEO-STRI, WSMR as the EMRE Test Complex Combat Developer and user, and other Government stakeholders.

 

About TMC Design

TMC Design is a prototyping, engineering, and manufacturing company specializing in electromagnetic communications.  We fabricate, operate, and sustain SATCOM Earth terminals, ultra-heavy duty mobile SATCOM terminals, mobile C2 systems, Space Situational Awareness (SSA) tools, counter-space systems, and electronic warfare systems.  As a technology developer and industry partner of choice, we help our customers increase mission effectiveness through rapid innovation, design, and development of best-of-breed technology solutions and services.  TMC Design is an AS9100:B/ISO9001:2000 certified company.  Contact us at info@tmcdesign.com.