Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic officially opened the Maritime Positioning, Navigation and Timing (M-PNT) Laboratory March 14 onboard Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Virginia.
The lab is the Navy’s new home for research, development, test, evaluation, integration and certification for both surface and submarine PNT systems.
The M-PNT laboratory will primarily support new technologies being developed and introduced into the fleet for operating in a Global Positioning System (GPS) or sensor denied environment. These technologies include enhancements to the inertial navigation systems, and alternative positioning system technologies to GPS, which are primarily in support of the Program Executive Office – Integrated Warfare Systems – 6 (PEO IWS 6).
“Today we at NIWC Atlantic are the forefront of our Navy’s information warfare efforts, and this laboratory enables us to expand our Sailors’ advantage at sea,” said Capt. Wesley Sanders, NIWC Atlantic commanding officer. “It was a team effort by many that has brought us to this moment, allowing us to leverage our technical expertise and capabilities.”
The laboratory will also facilitate research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) efforts for other Navy and Department of Defense customers, including the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in support of maritime geospatial intelligence technical standards, and exploitation by the fleet.
“The work done in this laboratory helps ensure the safety of navigation and the safety of our warfighters at sea,” said Sanders. “Accurate PNT is vital to our information warfare mission at NIWC Atlantic, and it is critical to the fleet’s ability to get to and fight the battle.”
Construction on the approximately $3 million laboratory began last May and is still in progress. Although the lab structure is complete, some minor work remains before the lab attains a fully functional status. A separate, but related project includes the construction of a fenced-in secure storage area for the mobile test lab outside the current laboratory.
“I am glad we are nearing completion. The team that works in the lab has been most patient and accommodating for the construction period so far,” said Robert Greer, PNT Engineering team lead. “We are all excited for some new projects that are starting this fiscal year in GPS denied navigation, and we are happy the lab will be able to support these RDT&E efforts.”
The laboratory also supports the navigation suite certification process being developed for the fleet, which tests the design, integration and interoperability of the entire PNT system of systems (architecture) in both surface ships and submarines. Initially the lab will support guided missile destroyer-class and Virginia-class architectures, then grow to be reconfigurable to support all fleet PNT system of systems architectures.
In-Service Engineering Agent support will be provided by the M-PNT Laboratory for the Navigation Sensor System Interface and GPS-based PNT Service systems sponsored by the Navy’s Communications and GPS Navigation Program Office.
“This new facility, the investment, the skills of the workforce, the technical knowledge of the workforce and the location are all important,” said Sanders. “We take great pride in this opening of the M-PNT Lab as another step to providing more information to protect our warfighters.”
As a part of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment and sustainment of interoperable C4ISR, cyber and information technology capabilities.