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Combat Avionics Division demonstrates successful third-party PNT tech insertion

  • Published
  • By Capt Bernard Mutz, R-EGI Program Manager, AFLCMC WNX/PNT PO

As part of the Agile Combat Support Directorate’s continuing efforts to field technology needed for the high-end fight on relevant timelines, the Resilient Embedded GPS/INS (R-EGI) Program—a robust and flexible government-owned, modular open architecture for Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) systems for military aircraft—leveraged their open Government Reference Architecture (GRA) and digital engineering tools to successfully demonstrate rapid insertion of upgraded PNT technology. 

Integrated Solutions for Systems (IS4S), the R-EGI Design Agent in collaboration with Kearfott Inc., digitally integrated Kearfott’s new, state-of-the-art, safety critical inertial navigation hardware and software components within the R-EGI GRA. This digital-first approach significantly reduces the time required for integration of new and alternative capabilities, while reducing human error. This rapid technology insertion was made possible by R-EGI’s Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA). A successful demonstration with representative off-the-shelf components took place at the Kearfott factory in Pine Brook, NJ, in October 2023. Lab and ground test data confirmed that Kearfott’s Next Generation Inertial Measurement Unit—NxIMU—and their safety critical PNT processor and software could easily be integrated into the R-EGI product family. Kearfott’s use of the Future Airborne Capability Approach (FACE) aligned with the R-EGI architecture’s use of the FACE Transport Services Segment, highlighting the advantage of using open standards. 

Air Force Research Laboratory’s Senior Scientist for PNT, Dr. Jeffrey Hebert and Air Force Lt Col Robinson Hughes, PNT Program Office Materiel Leader, attended the demonstration and spoke positively about R-EGI's ability to rapidly incorporate new PNT technology through the GRA. Lt Col Hughes acknowledged “The Kearfott team did a great job of showcasing their commitment to the R-EGI mission with various demonstrations of their INS solution. Their engineers were quick to answer questions and enthusiastic to begin work with their IS4S partners.” 

“This is a major paradigm shift in defense-focused PNT,” said Dr. Mikel Miller, Vice President for PNT at IS4S. “This demo further confirms that our R-EGI open, agile, and digital design agent approach enables Kearfott and other third-party tech providers the opportunity to easily integrate PNT sensor and algorithm plugins within the R-EGI ecosystem.”