Innovation Cell hosts eLoran Demonstration

  • Published
  • By Airman Keagan Lee
  • 366th Fighter Wing

The 366th Fighter Wing Innovation Cell STRIKE WERX hosted the eLoran Co-Primary Positioning, Navigation, and Timing Demonstration on Jan. 30-31, 2024.

“The eLoran system is a modern take on the long-range navigation system that was used in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and it is going to be used in conjunction with GPS to help mitigate spoofing operations in contested environments,” said Tech. Sgt. Steven Pyott, 366th FW Innovation Cell chief project officer.

In this case spoofing means to mess with, such as someone trying to jam the system.

The eLoran system works where GPS does not and has the potential to be faster and more accurate. MHAFB was the ideal test station because it offers all of the geographic features the companies involved were looking to test.

The original Loran system was established by the Coast Guard in the 1940s but was shut down and the system went stagnant. The aim is to use the existing terminal sites with modern upgrades to cover the entire continental U.S. with an eLoran system, using only three navigational towers. Work on the project began at MHAFB in August 2023.

Representatives from the Air Force Research Laboratory, Hellen Systems, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, Homeland Security, U.S. Coast Guard, L3Harris, Microchip and Cambridge University came to MHAFB to share data and view the eLoran receivers set up around the base.

During the demonstration, the group ran a test on one of the eLoran receivers while being submerged 10 feet underwater. The receiver had the capability to be reset and powered off, then turned back on and re-establish connection in less than 30 seconds. The same test done with GPS could take up to 30 minutes.

The eLoran system was also used in conjunction with a Solar Portable Power Cell in a long-term test. The goal is to eventually make the receivers vehicle-mountable for deployments.

The SPPC was designed by Pyott as an alternative power source that is cheaper and more efficient than a generator.

The 366th FW Innovation Cell has supported a number of projects, including the SPPC, a VR system using Oculus to work on aircraft systems, the Electronic Warfare Operations Kit and the VB Cordon used to measure where to cordon off areas on a map.

“The Gunfighter legacy is full of innovators,” said Col. Michael Alfaro, 366th Fighter Wing commander. “Challenging the status quo is a part of who we are. We are constantly looking for new and better ways to perform our jobs and complete the mission, and today’s idea could determine how we win tomorrow’s fight.”

The Gunfighter Innovation Cell is currently seeking interns and looking to expand their capabilities! If you have an idea you think can make a positive impact on your work center or the Air Force, reach out to them at any of the means below or drop your idea in their suggestion box.

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