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Rockwell Touts RQ-21A Avionics

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Rockwell Collins RTK SAASM and Autopilot Pivotal In Ship-Based Recovery of U.S. Navy RQ-21A UAS

(Source: Rockwell Collins; issued June 24, 2013)


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa --- The Rockwell Collins Athena 111m Flight Control System and Real Time Kinematic (RTK) Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) technology solution for secure GPS receivers recently enabled successful shipboard flight tests of the U.S. Navy’s RQ-21A Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (STUAS). The U.S. Navy’s RQ-21A “Integrator” is manufactured by Insitu, a division of The Boeing Company and a customer of Rockwell Collins.

“With the launch of this first ever SAASM RTK solution, military operations that require centimeter-level GPS navigation accuracy can utilize a more secure alternative to commercial RTK GPS receivers,” said Dave Schreck, director of UAS and Control Technologies for Rockwell Collins. “Today, platforms such as Insitu’s RQ-21A can have that navigation accuracy for autonomous capture, landing, or other operations, while benefiting from the high-security features of the SAASM GPS receiver.”

High levels of security and precise navigation are critically important for naval shipboard operations. The Rockwell Collins solution enabled the RQ-21A STUAS to remain secure and stable during flight operations and recovery even in rapidly moving, high sea state situations.

Schreck added that the RTK SAASM technology also enables cost-effective, miniaturized solutions for many other applications including targeting and North-finding solutions.

The RQ-21A STUAS completed its first flight at sea in the Gulf of Mexico from the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19). The system completed three months of land-based trial flights at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division in China Lake, Calif., before launching from a LPD-class ship.

The Rockwell Collins SAASM device is a single, tamper-resistant multi-chip security module that can be combined with other components and software into a complete GPS receiver. RTK SAASM utilizes a miniature, low power SAASM GPS receiver. Rockwell Collins is the first in the industry to receive security approval for production of the SAASM GPS that incorporates a next-generation Precise Positioning Service (PPS) security module.


Rockwell Collins is a pioneer in the development and deployment of innovative communication and aviation electronic solutions for both commercial and government applications. Our expertise in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications, information management, and simulation and training is delivered by 19,000 employees, and a global service and support network that crosses 27 countries.

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