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Can The U.S. Army Achieve A Next-generation Navigation System

Feb 07, 2019

The U.S. army is ready for the future.Key to this vision is the U.S. army's future command.The U.S. army command, overseen by a four-star general, is committed to using advanced technology for today's wars and tomorrow's (hopefully not yesterday's) wars.To this end, the U.S. government accountability office (GAO) has released a report on the modernization of the U.S. army to ensure that the U.S. army command is doing what it can.

Most of the technologies covered in the report are recent projects.These include the next generation of squad automatic rifles for 2022 and the next generation of fighting vehicles for 2026.The period from 2028 to 2050 will focus on quantum positioning and navigation.

The technology of quantum will be mentioned later.Ensuring location and navigation is part of the army's broader network of objectives.As the GAO report states, the network will be "a mobile system of hardware, software, and infrastructure that can be used for cohesive operations in any electromagnetic spectrum rejection or degradation environment."Now, the rejected environment is a consideration, but it is not the dominant factor in warfare (except, of course, in a passive rejected environment, where mountains or other obstacles interfere with radio and other signals).

Disappear when communication signals (such as GPS network are destroyed) or be rejected directly (e.g., countries like Russia issued strong electromagnetic interference), still can communicate the countermeasures of tools is to ensure that the United States army thought, strategy and created the modern age when electromagnetic spectrum tolerance is an important method of communication can adapt to the future.(this is also part of the push for autonomous systems, including weapons systems, that can operate in rejected environments.)

Quantum localization and navigation is a distant target in a series of new navigation tools.Most of the navigation sensors in these new navigation tools use a combination of inertial sensors and inspect external positioning systems.Imagine the accelerometer inside the phone and the external GPS signal it receives when giving driving instructions.In most cases, the data from the sensor matches the expected route from the previous checkpoint, but not always.The better the inertial sensor, the less frequently the navigation tool needs to check with external sources to determine its position.

The data goes back at least to 2014. DARPA's beyond GPS program includes a tool that attempts to use "quantum physics properties to create extremely precise inertial measurement devices" that allow navigation tools to run for long periods of time without identifying external locations.

The GAO and U.S. army estimate that quantum positioning and navigation technology will not be available until 2050, suggesting that it is unlikely to be available anytime soon, but could be available in more than 30 years.