10,000th GPS Embeddable Receiver delivered to joint warfighters
By , SMC Public Affairs
/ Published November 13, 2006
Los Angeles Air Force Base -- The Global Positioning Systems Wing Commander, Col. Al Ballenger; the U.S. Army Project Manager Navigation Systems, Col. Philip LoSchiavo; the U.S. Army Product Manager GPS, Mr. Dave Williamson; and the Rockwell Collins teammates achieved a major milestone with the delivery of the 10,000th Ground Based GPS Receiver Applications Module to the U.S. Army last month.
GB-GRAM is a lightweight, low-cost, standardized, embeddable GPS receiver designed to use GPS system capabilities that are exclusive to military users. GB-GRAM is embedded into over 50 ground-based platforms across the Department of Defense, from the Army's M1A2 main battle tank to the lightweight handheld mortar ballistic computer plus a growing number of unmanned aerial vehicles, such as the U.S. Army Raven.
"GB-GRAMS are basically for low dynamics applications so it's not flight certified," said Capt. Veornica Harris, GB-GRAM program manager at SMC Global Positioning Systems Wing. "But on the hand-thrown UAV, it would float around and send back vital information."
Since the inception of this $30M+ contract which was awarded to Rockwell Collins June 30, 2003, GB-GRAM has rapidly become the standard-embeddable military "GPS engine of choice" procured by all branches of the U.S. military and seven foreign militaries.
Mr. Dave Williamson, Army Product Manager for GPS here at Los Angeles Air Force Base said, "The GB-GRAM receiver has leaped to the forefront of GPS application technologies in the Department of Defense due to the unsurpassed precision and signal protection capabilities it provides our warfighters in the ever-changing Iraqi and Afghan areas of operations."
Although GB-GRAM is embedded and not visible to the average user, it provides precise position, navigation and timing information. These exclusive military capabilities provide our warfighters a "priceless" battlefield advantage and this "military edge" helps our soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen win this country's battles and come home safely.
"I'm a retired Army officer, so I used to be out there in the field with these guys," said Mr. Williamson. "When you go out into the desert in Iraq, there are no roads, there are no mountains, there are no streams ... there is no way to navigate unless you've got something like GPS. The soldiers wanted it so much, if they couldn't get enough military GPS, they went out and bought the commercial ones which weren't as good."
The DoD has now required every vehicle on the battlefield be equipped with GPS. According to Mr. Williamson, the military GPS is designed to counter enemy threats by denying GPS jamming.
"In the battlefield, there are enemies trying to disrupt GPS," said Mr. Williamson. "If they were able to jam the signals, we would have more difficulties moving around their countries ... land which we are not familiar with."
The GPS inside weapons directs bombs to accurately hit the targets. The GB-GRAM prevents the enemy from jamming the signal and guides the bomb where to go.
"Smart munitions," said Mr. Williamson.
"GPS capabilities are integrated into nearly all facets of U.S. military operations. This technology has proven exceptionally effective as our warfighters face an enemy embedded in urban and remote environments," said Ron Hornish, vice president and general manager of Sensor Systems for Rockwell Collins. "Rockwell's ability to deliver this technology to the military on time and on budget reinforces our reputation as a trusted provider."
Activities such as targeting, navigation, mapping, situation awareness, rendezvous, geodetic surveying, and search and rescue have all greatly benefited from the accuracy provided by military GPS and especially in the GB-GRAM. GB-GRAM-equipped UAVs have been used extensively in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and have provided an unprecedented reconnaissance and surveillance capability. This has significantly contributed to an improved military capability while providing for efficient deployment of force into hostile environments and ultimately keeping our warfighters safer.