The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Robins Air Force Base is working on the next generation aircraft navigation system.
The Resilient Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation System program, or R-EGI for short, is one of the AFLCMC’s solutions to building resiliency into aircraft navigation systems.
“We are modernizing GPS navigation systems,” said Jamey Sillence, Electronic Warfare and Avionics deputy senior materiel leader. “In the spirit of (Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr.’s) ‘Accelerate, Change or Lose’, we are bringing modernization to Robins AFB and the whole Air Force.”
The evolution of electronic warfare is in the works via a prototype that can be used on weapons systems - like the F-15 EX, F-16 Fighting Falcon and MC-130J Commando II — offering an alternative precision, navigation and timing capabilities when GPS is not available.
“Our mission is to make sure the United States military and those of our allies can navigate anywhere around the globe whenever they need to,” said Lt. Col. Robinson Hughes, AFLCMC Position, Navigation Timing Office materiel leader. “We all are reliant on U.S. GPS, and adversaries are developing capabilities with the potential to disrupt our way of life. Plus, there are natural events that can disrupt satellites. What happens if we don’t have access to GPS?
“Civil governments around the world are exploring solutions to introduce resilience into their infrastructures and minimize the impact of this situation. R-EGI is the solution for our military aviation fleet,” Hughes said.
The R/EGI Navigation System prototype is still in development and is scheduled to enter the flight-testing phase in 2024.
“My team keeps U.S. military PNT receivers operating for our customers. We are now developing the next generation of user equipment,” Hughes continued. “The system going forward will have an incredible amount of agility built into it where we can improve capability much more quickly than today.”
Maintaining an edge over adversaries is the goal and the Department of Defense is developing alternative PNT capabilities as back up options.
“By branching out to other sources of PNT, like using other global navigation systems and nontraditional sources like celestial navigation, we increase the probability that our aircraft can navigate anywhere they really need to be,” Hughes said. “There is no doubt the AFLCMC PNT Office is taking General Brown’s action order seriously. They are leading the way to accelerate changes and defining the future of PNT systems.”