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Space and Missile Systems Center Public Affairs (March 2, 2006): GPS helps warfighters track 'bad guys'.

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE Los Angeles Air Force Base is a United States Air Force Base located in El Segundo, California. Los Angeles Air Force Base houses and supports the headquarters of the Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC). , Calif. (AFPN AFPN Air Force Print News
AFPN American Forces Philippines Network (former AFRTS network in the Philippine Islands
) -- When U.S. forces get to Iraq and Afghanistan, they're finding dry, featureless terrain with no real landmarks or points of reference to use when they travel across these wide-open and often dangerous landscapes.

In the past, maps and a compass were the decisive tools used by servicemembers to track down the enemy and find their exact location in theater.

That's no longer the case. Warfighters are now turning to a 12-channel device known as the Defense Advanced Global Positioning System Global Positioning System: see navigation satellite.
Global Positioning System (GPS)

Precise satellite-based navigation and location system originally developed for U.S. military use.
 Receiver, or DAGR DAGR Defense Advanced GPS Receiver
DAGR Direct Attack Guided Rocket
, to get vital information. A screen about the size of a square yellow sticky note transmits invaluable maps, satellite sky view information, and situational awareness Situation awareness or situational awareness [1] (SA) is the mental representation and understanding of objects, events, people, system states, interactions, environmental conditions, and other situation-specific factors affecting human performance in  so that fielded forces can determine their position and then go back to a map to plot where the enemy sits, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 Army Col. Philip LoSchiavo, a program manager for GPS user equipment here.

"GPS has become a vital part of what the military does today, and its use will increase over time," said Dave Williamson, deputy product manager. "All units that are currently going over to Iraq are equipped with DAGR before they get there."

The Navstar GPS Joint Program Office developed and continually enhances this device, which replaces the last generation of equipment known as Precision Lightweight GPS Receivers.

Since 2004, more than 33,000 DAGRs have been fielded to the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and foreign military forces, said Army Capt. Kurt Threat, another program manager.

The Air Force has tested 941 units while the Army has fielded 31,000 devices. The initial $490 million contract for the DAGR will run for eight years with two versions continually being updated with new software and hardware.

The DAGR weighs less than a pound and is small enough to fit easily into the palm of the hand, but it packs a huge punch. Forces can stand in a desolate location and receive real-time position, velocity, navigation, and timing info, Threat said.


"We get rave reviews from the soldier," Williamson said. "It is a quantum improvement over the previous GPS receiver, the PLGR PLGR Precision Lightweight GPS Receiver (US DoD)
PLGR Plunger
, because it's lighter in weight, smaller, uses fewer batteries, picks up the satellites more quickly, and it's more user-friendly."

The DAGR, which costs $1,832 per unit, is also less vulnerable to enemy actions, Threat said. It's built to be much more difficult for unfriendly forces to jam signals and transmit false information or "spoof" our warfighters.

Forces can "utilize it better in a more hostile jamming environment," LoSchiavo said. The capability "allows use of electronic unclassified un·clas·si·fied  
1. Not placed or included in a class or category: unclassified mail.

 crypto keys."

Although it's primarily for land users, DAGR can also be used in water-borne vehicles and can be mounted or hand-held.

Future plans call for buying more than 34,000 DAGRs and developing the next line of receiver equipment that will eventually follow the DAGR, LoSchiavo said.

Jackson is with Space and Missile Systems Center Based out of Los Angeles Air Force Base in California, the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) is a part of Air Force Space Command of the United States Air Force. Its mission is to conduct research and development of U.S. military outer space and missile systems.  Public Affairs.

Maj. April Jackson, USAF
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Title Annotation:In the News
Author:Jackson, April
Publication:Defense AT & L
Date:Jul 1, 2006
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