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Military Applications

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Title Military Applications
Edited by GMV
Level Intermediate
Year of Publication 2011
Logo GMV.png

The first GNSS systems (GPS and GLONASS) were developed for military purposes and only later in the development of these systems it was decided to open then to civilian use. Still today the military applications are one of the drivers for these systems.

GPS makes available 2 services: the Precise Positioning Service and the Standard Positioning Service. The Precise Positioning Service is encrypted and is only available to the US military and its allies.

Overview of Military Applications

The military applications are considered safety critical applications and in the case of GPS the military use the Precise Positioning Service, which is a robust and encrypted signal with anti-jamming features.

The GPS satellites also incorporate a military service able to detect nuclear detonations worldwide. This service encompasses an optical sensor (Y-sensor), an X-ray sensor, a dosimeter, and an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) sensor (W-sensor), and is part of the U.S. Nuclear Detonation Detection System.[1]

Military Navigation

The satellite navigation is applied to military missions for navigation purposes in enemy territories, and are especially important in absence of light in night missions. The military forces rely on GNSS over conventional compasses, in order to obtain an accurate positioning of their own units, as well as the enemy's forces positions and the locations of enemy's facilities or installations. These positions coordinates can be acquired and distributed to other units, in order to enhance the ground awareness picture.

Satellite navigation is also used to plan and track the movements of convoys and in operations of search and rescue of injured soldiers, with considerable reduction of response time. Satellite navigation is used by military forces for ground navigation, aviation navigation and maritime navigation. Since military aviation navigation and maritime navigation are similar to their civilian counterparts this article will focus mostly on military ground navigation.

Detailed information about Military Navigation can be found here.

Target Acquisition

Satellite navigation has become very important for military target acquisition operations, reconnaissance, and weapon guidance systems.

Tracking of potential targets before they are declared hostile, is a requirement in modern military operations. A number of military systems use GNSS information to track the movement of these potential targets. This data is also collected to feed situation awareness systems and weapon systems.

Conventional weapon systems such as smart bombs and guided missiles use the acquired tracking information, enhanced by GNSS receivers information and other guidance systems.

Detailed information about Target Acquisition can be found here.