The European Defence Agency (EDA) has recently kicked off a new R&T project which aims to improve the testing of military Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) equipment in Europe through enhanced cooperation and information-sharing.
The cat B. “Resilient PNT Testing for Defence (RIPTIDE)” project officially started on 16 May 2022 with the kick-off meeting in Rome (Italy), at the Secretariat General of Defence and National Armaments Directorate premises. The following EDA Member States are participating in the RIPTIDE project: Italy (lead), Austria, France, Germany, and Spain. Norway, which has signed an Administrative Arrangement with the Agency, is also participating.
Defence systems, platforms and personnel engaged in military operations heavily rely on PNT information to support mobility, command and control (C2) as well as situational awareness. It is therefore key for military forces to have reliable and resilient PNT at their disposal. However, PNT sources and services can be hampered at any time by different hazards or even become totally unavailable in particularly adverse operational environments, for example subsurface. To be able to anticipate such situations, Armed Forces must evaluate the performance of PNT services available to them during an operation, as well as the potential threats which may arise and jeopardise those services. This allows them to assess the risks in advance and to take mitigating actions to avoid PNT failure.
Against this backdrop, several EDA Member States have been performing or are planning to perform PNT tests in different operational conditions and threat scenarios. To date, such tests are primarily done at a national level, with limited interaction of information-sharing between the different Ministries of Defence.
Increasing the joint knowledge
The purpose of the new EDA R&T project is to improve the PNT testing procedures through more cooperation, information-sharing and joint experiments. In concrete terms, it is notably foreseen that participating Member States define, organise and conduct common events (tests, demonstrations, exercises, etc.) in the field of PNT superiority testing and awareness for defence users, by making different test ranges, test equipment, and test platforms available to other participating countries. The objective is also to develop a common forum for the dissemination and awareness of PNT threats and PNT superiority related tests. The project provides the participating industry consortium with an opportunity to consolidate PNT testing tools which could be used in the RIPTIDE events.
The main rationale behind this project is that a coordinated and cooperative organisation of PNT superiority testing activities will help Member States to acquire and increase their respective knowledge about PNT threats and their impact on operations, but also about PNT technologies, tactics and procedures at EU level. The improved expertise and know-how could also be used in the future to verify and, if necessary, improve countermeasures and develop new doctrines, methods and technologies for the advancement and implementation of PNT superiority at national and EU level.
The RIPTIDE project is one of several R&T activities under the CapTech ‘Guidance, Navigation and Control’, which is the agency’s forum for a vast number of international experts discussing technological challenges in PNT. It also interlinks with the Agency’s Defence Test and Evaluation Base (DTEB) and the Project Team PNT.