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Military Advancements using GPS Technology by Lt. Col. Savickas

Military Advancements using GPS Technology by Lt. Col. Savickas


♪ [Music Playing] ♪♪ >>Lt. Col. Eric Savickas:
Good afternoon, and as Dr. Wahby said, my name is Lt.
Col. Eric Savickas and I am an army officer. I’ve been in the army for a
little over twenty years now, and today I’m going to talk
about GPS technology and its applications in the military. Now, I’m not an expert on GPS
technology, and I don’t claim to know the science behind how the
satellites all in orbit and how everything pieces together. But what I do have by way of
knowledge and experience is through my time in the military
I’ve seen a progression of the technology of how GPS has been
used in different applications from the time I
started until now. And even here at the University,
and how we use it, which I’ll get into in a little bit. When I talk about GPS technology
to my students here you know they seem to give the impression
like well, it’s not big deal. It’s what I’ve been, or what
they’ve been seeing all along. They grew up with GPS
technology, whether it be in a GPS device that was in their
family’s car, or their car now, or nowadays, everyone pretty
much has some sort of a smart phone that has GPS
technology built into it. When I was coming up in the
military, and not that it was so long ago, but when I was coming
up, it was all about maps, it was all about compasses to
figure out how to get from one point to another, or how to
determine where your current location is, and do the
general basic navigation stuff. So, when GPS came on the
scene, it was shocking. Not necessarily shocking, but
it was a huge benefit; a huge increase in the ability for us
to do what we needed to do in training or on the battlefield. Certainly we still teach and
train on how to navigate with a compass and a map, and we do
that here at the university now with the cadets in the ROTC
program as well, but at some point we’ve moved beyond the map
and the compass to the current technologies and we’ve
embraced them in the military. And we’ll continue to embrace
the GPS technology as we go. You can see here some of the
points I want to cover during the brief this afternoon. I want to talk briefly about the
history of GPS technology, and how we got to where we are now. I want to talk about something
called selective availability as it applies to the military and
civilian uses of GPS technology, and then I will get in to
a little bit more military specific applications of GPS
technology and how we use it on a daily basis. First by way of overview,
the Department of Defense, the Department of Defense
and the United States Air Force developed GPS
technology back in the 1960s. Originally, in actuality,
it was the launch of the Sputnik satellite that allowed
scientists to determine that hey, wait a second, if we are
used to navigating off the stars and other celestial bodies now,
and we know how that whole math formula works, well, what’s the
difference between that you know celestial body and a
manmade celestial body, that is traveling in a geosynchronous
orbit around the earth, and you can do the same math calculation
and they determined if you can do it off of one satellite,
then the technology is there to increase once you increase other
satellites, to have that whole, the whole earth covered in a
blanket, essentially where we are at the point now where you
can be standing on any point on the earth and there’s always
four satellites or more visible to calculate your accurate
position and time is another factor that the GPS calculates. So we went from the 1960s
and started developing what is called Navistar, which is
what the military refers to and scientists refer to as
our current GPS technology. Owned and operated by the United
States Government, and free to charge to the public, free of
charge to the public, so which is interesting to me, because
you know cell phone usage isn’t free of charge, satellite
television isn’t free of charge, even electricity
isn’t free of charge. But this multi-billion dollar
capability designed by the United States and Department of
Defense is free to anybody out there not only in
the United States. but all around the world. And even we’ve codified that in
law, saying that the department of defense has to maintain the
system so that it’s available on a world-wide basis. And we not only have to maintain
the system, but we have to protect the system so that
if there is any threats or adversities out there that want
to do harm to the system, we have to defend it so
that it remains available for civilian use. GPS consists of
three components, pretty straightforward. There’s the satellites
that operate in space, the geosynchronous orbit, that
we talked about, there’s the control systems, there’s
monitoring stations, antennas, and just a command and control
system that is in Colorado. And you can see on the screen
there where some of those are located. And then the user using a GPS
device whether it is the one in your automobile, or in your
phone, that gets the signal and determines your location or
whatever other means you are using GPS for. Back to the history again, for a
second, I already mentioned the 1960s how scientists would
determining the usage and the technology behind GPS and then
it went from there, the Navy started using it, using the
first satellites that were put into orbit to determine
location of ships at sea. And you could only do that at
certain times during the day when those
satellites were available. It went from there to another
system to determine that you could determine time accurately
through these satellite systems. And then the Navistar, which is
our current system, the first elements of that system started
going in to orbit in 1989 and then the 24th one
was launched in 1994. Now, it’s interesting,
originally the entire intent of GPS was for military use. And that’s what the
technology was designed for. But Ronald Reagan determined
back in 1983 after a Korean passenger jet was shot down
over the Soviet Union, after it strayed into its protected
airspace, that wait a second, we have this technology here,
so we need to open it up for civilian use. Because it just benefits society
as a whole if folks know where they are, and in this case, an
airliner would have known where it was, and wouldn’t have
strayed into soviet airspace. The Gulf War came in 1990-1991
time frame, and we now had an actual real world military use
for GPS, and at the time there were only sixteen satellites in
orbit, and you could only have accurate location data
for nineteen hours a day. Now, since then, we’ve achieved
initial operational capability which meant 24 satellites
were in orbit, and then full operational capability after
that, in 1995, which is where we are today. Ok, there’s something called
selective availability and I’m not sure if anyone is familiar
or not, but originally when the capability was designed, it was
designed for military uses, like I mentioned, and so because
it was for military uses, the United States put a system in
place where we degraded the location accuracy
for civilian use. So, if you bought a GPS device
at the store at the time, you would be able to get within
one hundred meters accuracy. So, from this room, if I was
standing here, and I had a GPS at the time, it would tell
me I was somewhere around the building, or even
outside the building. That was the level of accuracy
that the government was willing to give for civilian use. The military retained a
ten-meter accuracy at the time, and to get that, all the
military GPS devices had a cryptologic fill that had to
go into the devices so that we could use it with
that kind of accuracy. Now, President Clinton in, he
actually, back in the late 90s but not until midnight on May 1,
2000 was the determination made to change that availability
so that everybody, not only military could get the ten-meter
accuracy, but everybody could. Now, the reason for that was
because not only was technology improving, we were also
improving in our ability to prevent adversaries from
impacting our systems. And that was really one of the
main reasons that we had that precise capability retained by
the military so that if somebody else out there had a jamming
capability, we could still operate our systems. And now, even though it says
ten meters, we are probably with technology nowadays,
at a one-meter accuracy. Now, that switch, if it is
indeed a switch, in Colorado, at the control station, can be
turned at any time if the United States determines that its our
best national security interests or what have you to make it so
that the civilian population is degraded again
for satellite uses. Now even though this is a US
system, and it’s a worldwide system and people use GPS around
the world, other countries have developed similar technologies,
the Soviet Union, or Russia now, has something called Glosnas,
they have not nearly the same number of satellites available,
so they have a limited capability with that. The European Union has another
system as well, but this still is the gold standard for
location technology, GPS technology around the world. Ok, as far as military uses,
this is what we started with back in the early 1990s. This is what, and although I
didn’t deploy to the Gulf War, I was in ROTC at the time, this is
what the soldiers deployed with. Now this system, there, I should
have put something that shows the relative size. It’s probably about this wide,
and this tall, and it was either mounted on the dashboard of the
vehicle, like a Humvee, or it was man portable,
with batteries. Now, the batteries themselves
that went into this probably weigh you know, about three, no,
I want to say two pounds, three pounds, maybe. They are pretty heavy, and they
didn’t last very long, and so that was actually something that
made this system not as capable. It made it so that soldiers even
though they got the technology they wanted to find
a location from it. It made it hard to use.>>[Unclear dialogue]>>Eric Savickas: Oh, on this? This had a, it was a digital
readout, and it just, it showed numbers, basically on a map,
what the military does on a map, is they use a military grid
reference system, it’s basically similar to latitude
and longitude, and you can determine through numbers,
either four, six, or eight or ten digits, exactly where
you are on the earth at any given time. And you could do that with a map
and what this system did here, was it read that number, out
on the screen, and then if you could put weigh points in there,
like you can in GPSs now, if you want to go from Point A to Point
B, it read the direction out on there. On the backside, or actually
over here, is where you’d put that cryptofil in, and made it
so that the system was capable for military use. Bulky, and not the
best technology. Shortly thereafter, 1993 came
out, this was called the, even though it is called SLGR, it was
referred to as the Slugger, this is the Plugger here, the
Precision Lightweight GPS, it now operates on a secure
fill for the military use only. And you can see here by way of
size, you would put your hand in here, and you’d be able to use
your thumb to push the buttons and do what you needed to do and
this is the antennae, and that turned up and you could see the
relative size of that piece of equipment there. And just like we talked about
on the other one, it gave your location digitally
on the screen. That system there is still in
use in the military, largely. It came in in 1993, it’s a
ruggedized piece of equipment, so it is not going to break, and
you can still use it in a lot of units today. That one was replaced by the
dagger, so we went Slugger, Plugger, now Dagger. And now the Dagger is smaller,
more capable, more lightweight, and easily carried. You know, the battery on this is
about the length of this whole system. It goes in that big cap in
the top, and comes down to about here. Now this is a normal, probably
uses lithium batteries and that’s more capable and you can
see instead of just a digital readout with numbers and
letters, you know, instead of alpha-numeric you know
have a map screen on there. That came in 2004, and again,
between the plugger and the dagger, that’s what
we use currently. In the last couple years, the
military and defense contractors have been designing the micro
GPS device, which is smaller, it’s got a touch screen
now, and it is full color. So, it gets to the capability
now that we had from commercial off the shelf technologies with
touch screens, or even hand held GPS devices. Now the interesting thing
though, about all of these is while the military does a great
job in the defense industries do a great job of coming up with
new technologies, and developing those technologies into
practical uses, in my experience at least, we are very slow
and not responsive in our acquisition procedures to get
the technologies to the force. So, as a result, we are
generally years behind in the technology by the time it gets
in the hands of the soldiers. So most soldiers that I know
carry some sort of a civilian GPS because remember I mentioned
back in 2000, when they said that we were going to turn off
the selective availability this has the same accuracy as that. So, there is no difference now,
so most soldier I know carry something that is commercial
off-the-shelf technology that they can go to the BestBuy and
pick up and carry it in their gear with them. Now, if the Department of
Defense every flipped that selective availability switch
again, then those would be out of luck again, and we’d have to
rely on what we get through the military, and I’m not saying the
military equipment is bad, I’m just saying that sometimes your
unit may only have one per squad of nine people, and you may want
one in case you get separated, you have that, or whatever
various other reasons.>>Dr. Wahby: [Unclear dialogue]>>Eric Savickas: Yes, what
they, the official policy is, at least in terms of GPS devices,
is the government and the department of defense recognizes
that many soldiers out there have their own GPSs and they are
authorized for use to determine your own personal location. But when it comes to determining
location for precision-guided munitions and other things
where it is whole units that are impacted and the ability for
us to deliver munitions on a target, an enemy target, then we
have to use the ones that have the higher technology in
them, and that are improved. Yes. Yes. So, as we’ve gone through the
years, we’ve gone past the point where we just use the GPS
to determine location, or weigh-points for navigation, but
we use the GPS technology now for lots of
different applications. Just like in the civilian
sector, there are tons of applications for GPS technology,
and these are just a few here. We talk about positioning,
we talk about navigation, but precision munitions. My background in my career field
is as a field artillery officer. Field artillery are the cannons,
like this one up here, that shoot high explosive projectiles
normally on a ballistic trajectory onto a target ten,
fifteen, twenty, thirty, up to fifty kilometers away. Now, when I was coming up, we
had to study the math and all the ballistics to determine what
angle you would raise the tube to shoot, what the charge was to
shoot it, and to get it to that target that you wanted to. Now, we have systems where the
projectile has a GPS in it, and it guides it to the target. And what I’m going to show you,
we use the system now with the artillery called the Excalibur,
and I’m going to show you a quick video here of just, it
shows the accuracy that we are talking now with the Excalibur. [No dialogue] Ok, maybe it’s not. One second. [No dialogue] [Video plays] [Music plays] So that was from twelve
kilometers away. [Music plays] Almost twenty kilometers. [Music plays] All right, so you get
the idea that there. Now just, that was probably
at Aberdeen proving grounds or somewhere where they were
testing the system, now, in terms of actual usage, I was
deployed to Iraq in 2009 in one of my deployments, and just in
its actual real-world use, my unit had the
Excalibur fielded to us. We saw through an unmanned
aerial vehicle, that was flying out over in an area that we
wanted to look at there was a suspicious looking vehicle. It was a pickup truck, and it
was probably I would say twelve kilometers away. Suspicious looking pickup
truck, two individuals they were getting out of the truck and
they were doing digging around a road. Now, at the time, that
meant that there were these improvised, probably improvised
explosive devices that they were putting in the road, they were
causing a lot of harm to our soldiers there. So we had enough evidence
through that unmanned aerial vehicle to engage it and we
chose to use the Excalibur round with an artillery system, fired
it, and we watched over the video that was in the unmanned
aerial vehicle that that round went right into the window
of the truck, the driver side window of the truck, and a
very similar reaction to that.>>Dr. Wahby: [Unclear dialogue]>>Eric Savickas: It’s
in the round itself. So, I don’t have the price off
the top of my head, but each round is pretty expensive, but
if it prevents more casualties then you now for the
greater good, it is worth it.>>Dr. Wahby: [Unclear dialogue]>>Eric Savickas: No, it,
there’s a small device that before we put it in the cannon,
it’s a little handheld computer that you enter the location
the eight digit or ten digit location in there, you touch it
to the fuse on the round, and it transmits the data, and
then that round itself, the projectile knows where it is
gong, and as soon as you fire it.>>Dr. Wahby: Unclear dialogue]>>Eric Savickas: No,
it directs itself. You just shoot it in the
direction and it will course correct as it goes. The other thing that the
military has been doing with GPS technology, it’s not just for,
not just for precision guided munitions, and destruction, we
use it for humanitarian aid and assistance, and even
resupplies for our own forces. I’d like to show you a quick
clip here of how we use the technology in airdropping cargo. Ok. Apparently my technology of
computers isn’t as strong. Give it another shot here.>>Video: US forces completed a
high altitude delivery mission, [unclear dialogue] in
the eastern mountains of Afghanistan. [unclear dialogue] joint
precision air drop sytems or JPADs. JPAD systems is designed to
basically get into smaller areas. This particular model has
terrain avoidance, it’s a mapping system 10-digit
grid coordinate. Say the Air Force is in flight
and they get communication from the ground force that
there is hostiles in the area, the Airforce would change the
coordinates to get them to a different DZ that’s
more secure. [unclear dialogue] [unclear dialogue} use the same
global positioning system or GPS guidance that enables
precision strikes from smart bombs. Now it steers
airdropped cargo directly to the drop zone. This mission’s a little more
complicated with the fact that we’ve got it GPS guided. It helps us be safer, and also
it’s more accurate for the guys on the ground. It’s a good system, it allows
the air crew and aircraft to use standoff capability. They’re able to deliver our
combat coordinates to our men and women on the front
lines, basically put it right on their doorstep. The JPADs accurately directed
cargo contain 18,000 pounds of fuel to the troops down below. I was very impressed that they
were able to drop those bubbles from 17,000 feet, and be able
to hit their mark that way. Seeing it first hand was
quite and experience in itself. So, overall I’d
say it went well. You know, it was probably one
of the main reasons we are all [unclear dialogue] I think it worked
out really well. As soon as the bubbles started
dropping, we were able to get in our vehicles and head down
to the drop zone, and we got all of the items recovered. The ability to be able to drop
in the fuel like this, it’s definitely going to keep us
operational through the winter. For Asset News, I’m Staff
Sergeant Jimsy Anderson.>>Eric Savickas: Now, I
personally don’t really know the technology it uses to course
correct and to steer it into the drop zone, but that technology
is there, and you can see how at least now in the, now in 2013,
and a couple years before, we were using this stuff, to
increase the efficiency of the troops and the survivability
of the troops in th field, in order to accomplish
the mission. Now, to bring it full circle, we
had the global war on terrorism, and now back here at Eastern
Illinois University, I just want to kind of conclude with how we
are using technology here for our group of cadets in ROTC. We still teach map and compass
navigation to the cadets. And we send them out on a land
navigation course where they have to apply their knowledge of
map and compass navigation in a practical environment. And so, what I’ve determined
as their primary instructor was it’s hard for them if they make
a mistake on the course and they get off course, or they don’t
find the way points that they need to find, it’s hard for them
to go back, and think about well what did I do wrong? And so I knew the technology
existed out there through GPS to help use it as
a training tool. So, we contacted Garmin, the
Garmin Company and they helped us get for the University
here, some GPS tracking devices. We take this GPS antennae, or
tracker, and we put it in their gear, with the antennae. And then we track on a hand
held device or in real time on a laptop, where the
cadets are at all times. Now this does two things for us. Number one, it’s a
safety mechanism. If we get a cadet out there on
the course, and they get lost, and they don’t find their way,
and then darkness starts coming, or like today, it’s cold
outside, we can go on the handheld or go on the computer
and determine exactly where that cadet is. And prevent an even worse
situation from happening. But it’s also a training tool. I can go back for every cadet
that comes back in from the land navigation course on the
computer, I can hit rewind, and show them what I guess they
call it a snail trail, it shows exactly where that cadet went. So if that cadet is using his
compass, or her compass, and they are drifting left every
time, I can show that on the computer screen and we can
use it as a training tool. Now the interesting thing about
this technology is now we are just testing this right now. But when we contacted Garmin,
they said that the best thing to use, now this is actually a
hunting dog device, these go on dog collars, and this is to make
sure that your dog doesn’t get lost. And you know we took them off
the collars, obviously but if you look out in the market for
other commercial applications, most of them you’d have to pay
a monthly fee for, or use a SIM card, from a cell phone,
or something like that. So this was the most efficient
and cheapest method we could get with the money that we had
available to implement a GPS technology into our training. And so far it has
worked fantastic. And you know, the cadets don’t
mind that it’s made for dogs. They just see it as a
great training tool. So, at this point, the
references are listed there, on the copy of the slides if you
want to go back, but that’s pretty much it. ♪ [Music Playing] ♪♪


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