By Kimberley PayneNovember 5, 2018
FORT SILL, Okla. -- The Army Assured Rapid Detection Validation Asymmetrical Resilient Kinetic, AARDVARK, was on display at the annual MFIX (Maneuver and Fires Integration Experiment), Oct. 30, at Fort Sill. The AARDVARK is a device placed on any military vehicle that detects Global Positioning System (GPS) signals of interest that can provide tactically relevant information to Soldiers operating in theater. The device is fairly simple in looks, and only takes up an area the size of a CB radio. The technology is not new to the Army but what the AARDVARK can provide is the ability to identify and characterize GPS jamming devices, and also reinforces the PNT (positioning, navigation, and timing) situational awareness.
"With this technology embedded into a military unit it can then carry on with the mission at hand down range, "said Val Dirladeanu, a representative from Lockheed Martin.
Lockheed Martin and TMC Designs have partnered on this new technology. They bring a new aspect to the table, which is the ability to display the power sources. They have improved already existing technology and have developed the ability to locate where the GPS jammers are originating.
"This technology allows the Soldiers to send the information to the powers that be and they can do what they need to do to support the mission," said Dirladeanu.
MFIX is an event that allows different companies to showcase their equipment and how the Army can benefit in tactical and electronic warfare. This is the first year for the AARDVARK to showcase itself in the event.
"This is our first year at MFIX but we feel we have a great product to aid the Army in its efforts against our enemies," said Dirladeanu.
The set-up is very simple although the technology is advanced. There are three to four sensors placed on the vehicle as well as an antennae placed on the top of the vehicle.
The sensors can characterize and geo-locate GPS interference. There is also a device mounted in the cab of the military vehicle that is as small as a CB radio. The equipment is measured by technology readiness levels or TRL's and the AARDVARK is rated a TRL6. The technology is examined by program concepts and technology requirements to determine its level. They are then assigned a number from 1 to 9, 9 being the highest number used. The AARDVARK being a TRL6 means it is technologically advanced.
The system for communication uses RF or radio frequencies, but uses the MUOS (Mobile User Objective System) interface, which is a narrow band military communications satellite system. Another objective is to evaluate the AARDVARK interfaces with the current military systems like MAFIA (maneuver aviation fires integrated application), AFATDS (advanced field artillery tactical data system), and EWPMT (electronic warfare planning and management tool). This will allow multiple systems to talk to each other as well as aid in electronic and tactical warfare.