Assured Positioning: Avoiding GPS Threats To Sustain Military Effectiveness


Today the Global Positioning System (GPS) is so pervasive that many people take it for granted as a given basic, fact-of-life service. A widely proliferated offering that is now under significant threat of attack for both its space constellation as well as receiver elements. For receivers, this attack is evident today in real-world conflicts like the unfortunate War in Ukraine. The national security and global commercial implications of GPS attacks, if left unmitigated, cannot be understated. GPS is vital to provide precision navigation data and guidance. We’re avoiding today’s threats against GPS receivers with a highly innovative, Assured Positioning System.

GPS Background

Originating from Cold War research as U.S. scientists were able to track early Soviet satellites like Sputnik and detect its “Doppler Effect” shift of frequency as it emerged over the horizon and transited across the skies, the evolved technology we know today called GPS eventually became a springboard for multiple military applications across naval, land and air platform and weapon operations. The United States held confident dominance in this technology for a nice period; before, eventually, other nation-states created their own similar “GPS” satellite constellations (e.g., GALILEO for the Europeans, GLONASS for the Russians).

In the latter stages of the Cold War and even the post-Cold War period, GPS-like technology was the unambiguous key to decisive U.S. military advantage. Over time, the wildly compounding successes of GPS application became so widely used that it has become prevalent in almost any military system or platform today. So successful that it’s now well beyond the military domain, having spread incredibly wide across the commercial market for almost any daily application. Hence where we are today.

Threats to GPS

As with any technology lifecycle, there becomes a point where emerging tech either synergizes upon previous technology to make it even better, compliments to offshoot into new directions, or adversely becomes threats to the original technology’s capability. Unfortunately, that’s where the GPS system is today, under potential attack. Potential attack on the space constellation literally in the physical realm with anti-satellite weapons or even non-kinetically via electronic warfare and cyber-attack. The GPS receivers are now subject to jamming and spoofing, rendering them useless.

Our Solution to This Dilemma

Simply put: Our technology negates GPS receiver attacks by negating GPS reliance. Assured Positioning System (APS) provides positioning, navigation, and timing information in environments where GPS is unavailable. APS derives location information from ordinary communications signals transmitted from Non-Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals. These signals-of-opportunity (SoOP) are not unique position/navigation signals and are not subject to jamming or spoofing. For dismount applications, SoOP technology can be combined with platform-based IMU and barometric sensor inputs. In addition, APS is provided as a plug-in to the Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK) residing on a user’s smartphone, thus becoming easily adaptive to multiple platforms like ground and naval systems. Positioned for accuracy, unaffected by attacks on the GPS constellation, APS can be used in mounted or dismounted, man-portable scenarios to sustain military operational effectiveness. Our company innovated by thinking outside the box; we created the capability to avoid the threat by avoiding the attacked system – all in a very unique, LOW-COST way.

To learn more about Parsons’ Assured Positioning System visit: parsons.com/products/aps.

About The Author

James Lackey is a Senior Vice President, Missions Solutions for Parsons Federal within the Defense & Intelligence business unit. He has a Master of Science in engineering management from Florida Tech and a Bachelor of Science in aerospace and ocean engineering from Virginia Tech. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. In addition, James has 35 years of weapon systems prototype development, production, and fielding experience in support of a variety of Department of Defense (DoD) and other national security customers.

Be the first to receive updates about Parsons news, events, and innovations. Subscribe Today!

Back to top
facebook-pixel linkedin-pixel linkedin pixel focused image