The US Navy has opened the Maritime Positioning, Navigation and Timing (M-PNT) Laboratory to enhance the safety of warfighters at sea.
The lab onboard Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Virginia, was opened by the Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic.
It will serve as the hub for research, development, test, evaluation, integration, and certification for both surface and submarine PNT systems.
The new M-PNT laboratory, which cost around $3m, is dedicated to supporting new technologies being implemented in the naval fleet for operating in a global positioning system (GPS) or sensor denied environment.
The technologies to be supported by the lab include improvements to the inertial navigation systems, and alternative positioning system technologies to GPS.
NIWC Atlantic commanding officer captain Wesley Sanders said: “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.”
The lab will also be used to support research, development, test, and evaluation (RDT&E) efforts for other customers of the US Navy and Department of Defense.
Sanders added: “The work done in this laboratory helps ensure the safety of navigation and the safety of our warfighters at sea. 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.”
The Navy commenced construction on the laboratory in May last year and has completed the lab structure. Minor construction work is in progress to ensure the lab attains a fully functional status.
A fenced-in secure storage area is also being built for the mobile test lab outside the current laboratory.
The laboratory will deliver support to the navigation suite certification process being developed for the fleet.
The certification process tests the design, integration and interoperability of the entire PNT system of systems in both surface ships and submarines.
The lab has been designed to initially support the Navy’s guided missile destroyer-class and Virginia-class architectures.
It is expected to be reconfigured in the future to accommodate all fleet PNT system of systems architectures.
According to NIWC Atlantic, the M-PNT Laboratory will deliver in-service engineering agent support for the navigation sensor system interface and GPS-based PNT Service systems.