The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract valued at £350,000, focusing on the development of navigation systems for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in environments where Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) are denied.

The notice was published as part of defence sector procurement through the Find a Tender service.

The contract aims to address the operational challenges faced by military UAS in scenarios where GNSS signals are unreliable due to potential jamming, spoofing, or disruption. Recognising the importance of robust and resilient navigation capabilities in such situations, the MoD seeks to “de-risk and help develop complete systems that can one day fill this void.”

The award has been divided between two suppliers: Blue Bear Systems Research, located in Bedford, and Syos Aerospace, based in Tauranga. Each supplier has been allocated £172,500 to contribute to this initiative. The competitive procurement process attracted a total of five offers.

The project’s objective is to create a system capable of functioning seamlessly “in all possible scenarios including over land, over sea, in night and day, and in poor visibility,” independent of GNSS services which are “likely to be jammed, spoofed or disrupted.”

Whilst the duration and specific delivery terms of the project were not detailed in the notice, the award reflects the MoD’s ongoing commitment to enhancing the technological capabilities and operational resilience of its UAS fleet in the face of evolving threats and challenges.

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Lisa has a degree in Media & Communication from Glasgow Caledonian University and works with industry news, sifting through press releases in addition to moderating website comments.
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farouk
farouk (@guest_783010)
4 months ago

Pretty sure I read something along these lines which has already been developed by a British company, I think it was for ships at sea.

farouk
farouk (@guest_783017)
4 months ago
Reply to  farouk

Further to my last:   Quantum sensor for a future navigation system tested aboard Royal Navy ship     A prototype quantum sensor built at Imperial, with potential application in GPS-free navigation, has been tested in collaboration with the Royal Navy. The test marks an important step in bringing new quantum technologies out of the lab and into real-world settings. Many navigation systems today rely on global navigation satellite systems (GNSS), such as GPS, which uses signals from satellites orbiting the Earth. However, GPS navigation is not always accessible, obstacles like tall buildings can easily block the satellite signals, and they… Read more »

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_783112)
4 months ago
Reply to  farouk

The Australians are testing a prototype too perhaps this is where AUKUS can be useful on a range of collaborative levels.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_783153)
4 months ago
Reply to  farouk

Read an article that stated that the initial deployment of the mature quantum sensor/’compass’ would be to SSNs and SSBNs. Apparently rational forecast, given paramount requirement for stealth. 🤔

Jim
Jim (@guest_783200)
4 months ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Makes the most sense, the current system is about the size of a small car as well so it’s only going on large expensive systems that need it. The next generation satellite LIDAR and SAR systems probably make it impossible for submarines to even go shallow much less break the surface to update a GPS signal without being detected.

Ian
Ian (@guest_783014)
4 months ago

Looking at the background of ‘Blue Bear Systems Research’, probably looking to integrate the same kind of terrain-following guidance that cruise missiles use.

There are some novel alternatives in development based on e.g. quantum dead reckoning or exploiting ‘signals of opportunity’, but this contract appears to be for the integration of already mature subsystems.

FieldLander
FieldLander (@guest_783027)
4 months ago
Reply to  Ian

Interesting to see how that works ‘over sea’.

Ian
Ian (@guest_783050)
4 months ago
Reply to  FieldLander

There’s a bit of info about the tender document on the web. The requirement seems to be for integration of multiple subsystems that presumably work in different ways for different circumstances. Inertial guidance without the ‘quantum’ probably.

simon alexander
simon alexander (@guest_783064)
4 months ago

impressive, i presume submarines are using older bulkier version ?

Jim
Jim (@guest_783210)
4 months ago

No they use inertial navigation based on gyroscopes

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_783088)
4 months ago

Can’t they just buy R2D2 a Map ?

Spyinthesky
Spyinthesky (@guest_783110)
4 months ago

Well if they check them out they will see that such systems are in the early stages of being used in Ukraine by Russia and soon by Ukraine. Quite a simple system whereby if the signal breaks down as long as it has already located the or a target it has visual sensors that lock on and track that target and guides the drone onto it despite the jamming. Clearly there is room for more complex solutions but the idea of kamikaze drones is to reduce cost for all but the most sophisticated so quantum sensors though a great idea… Read more »

lonpfrb
lonpfrb (@guest_783357)
4 months ago
Reply to  Spyinthesky

Automotive has already picked up the digital gyros and accelerometers available from mass smartphone technology into Inertial Measurement Units. These provide the sensor package for 4-D physics modelling and augmentation of vehicle control. For example 2015 Yamaha R1M IMU makes it possible to have 200bhp in a 200kg vehicle without the risk that 1bhp/kg suggests. Specifically the ECU & IMU are working on millisecond correction of the controls, similar to the Eurofighter Typhoon unstable control system but many orders of magnitude cheaper. Since smartphones are manufactured in high volume and resulting low unit cost, the memory, compute and sensor package… Read more »

lonpfrb
lonpfrb (@guest_783366)
4 months ago
Reply to  lonpfrb

The effect of inertial navigation is high. For example the Boeing 747-200 was able to cross the Atlantic from Heathrow to Newark using INS based on mechanical gyros and be only 10 metres out. That’s close enough for visual or IR seekers to acquire the target and complete the strike without GNSS.
Obviously tens or hundreds of kilometres range are much easier than an ocean..