Alternative Navigation System for Hypersonic Vehicles in Global Positioning System (GPS)-Degraded and GPS-Denied Environment

Navy SBIR 24.2 - Topic N242-075
NAVAIR - Naval Air Systems Command
Pre-release 4/17/24   Opened to accept proposals 5/15/24   Closes 6/12/24 12:00pm ET    [ View Q&A ]

N242-075 TITLE: Alternative Navigation System for Hypersonic Vehicles in Global Positioning System (GPS)-Degraded and GPS-Denied Environment

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Hypersonics; Integrated Sensing and Cyber;Microelectronics

OBJECTIVE: Develop a navigation system that can provide precise navigation for the entire flight trajectory of hypersonic vehicle operating under GPS-degraded/denied environments.

DESCRIPTION: Naval aerial platforms traditionally rely on GPS signal technology for positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) system application. When a hypersonic vehicle is traveling at hypersonic speed through the atmosphere, a plasma sheath envelops the aerial vehicle because of the ionization and dissociation of the atmosphere surrounding the vehicle [Refs 1-3]. The plasma sheath prevents radio communication, telemetry, and GPS signal reception for navigation [Ref 4]. This radio "blackout" period poses a serious challenge for GPS-enabled PNT for the hypersonic vehicle.

This SBIR topic seeks the development of non-GPS-based technology solutions for hypersonic vehicles that utilize systems taking advantage of alternate signals that enable precision navigation comparable to GPS, but without GPS in a GPS-denied environment. Such solutions include, but are not limited to magnetometer aided navigation [Ref 5], micro-electromechanical gyroscope for Inertial Navigation System (INS) [Ref 6], integrated optic inertial navigation system [Ref 7], Electro-Optical/Infra-Red (EO/IR) imaging sensors [Ref 8], and so forth. The proposed solution can be a single system solution or an integrated system with the fusion of two orthogonal signal systems for improved PNT.

The proposed system solution should have minimized size, weight, and power (SWaP) compatible with current and future SWaP-constrained hypersonic vehicles. It should also be able to be sufficiently ruggedized to withstand harsh hypersonic high-velocity and high-g environmental and operating conditions. The system technologies should produce accuracy for the vehicle’s entire flight trajectory comparable to, or better than, current GPS technologies. The hypersonic vehicle’s terminal navigation success metrics are: (a) a miss distance less than 5 m and a terminal speed of at least 1,700 m/s at the target; and (b) navigation path constraints are satisfied while performing divert and evasive maneuvers to the target. The hypersonic vehicle’s terminal phase begins at a distance of 200 km at an altitude of 25 km and a speed of 3,000 m/s.

The initial terminal hypersonic vehicle flight conditions are:

(a) Range (km) min 200, max 200,

(b) Azimuth min 10°, max 10°,

(c) Heading Error min 10°, max 10°,

(d) Altitude (km) min 24.8, max 25.2,

(e) Speed (m/s) min 2,900, max 3,100,

(f) Flight Path Angle min -5°, max 0°,

(g) Angle of Attack min 1°, max 3°,

(h) Bank Angle min 2°, max 2°,

(i) Sideslip Angle min 2°, max 2°,

(j) Crosswind Wind Speed (m/s) min 0, max 20,

(k) Longitudinal Wind Speed (m/s) min 0, max 10, and

(l) Atmospheric Density (kg/m³) min 1.293, max 1.210.

It is also required that the system should produce signals similar to GPS output codes. The system is also required to maintain compatibility with the DoD’s security, environmental, and other requirements for autonomous aviation navigation systems.

Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. owned and operated with no foreign influence as defined by 32 U.S.C. § 2004.20 et seq., National Industrial Security Program Executive Agent and Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures can and have been implemented and approved by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) formerly Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances. This will allow contractor personnel to perform on advanced phases of this project as set forth by DCSA and NAVAIR in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material during the advanced phases of this contract IAW the National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual (NISPOM), which can be found at Title 32, Part 2004.20 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

PHASE I: Develop PNT system concept solutions for use in hypersonic vehicles. Specify the signal systems for the proposed approach that will meet the specifications stated in the Description. Perform modeling and simulation and preliminary experimental demonstration to demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed design that will meet the required navigation success metrics in the Description in the hypersonic vehicle terminal phase. Simulations are to be run in three different scenarios to verify the effectiveness of the proposed navigation system. In Scenario I, the noise conforms to the Gaussian distribution. In Scenario II, the pseudo range and pseudo range rate measurement information are interfered by pulses. In Scenario III, the navigation information is interrupted intermittently. The Phase I final report will detail all methods studied plus evidence of their feasibility on an aerial platform. The final report will also include an initial prototype design to be implemented in Phase II. All hardware and software requirements should be defined.

PHASE II: Develop a prototype based on the design of Phase I and demonstrate a navigation system based on the proposed signal systems. Evaluate, test, and validate the system’s feasibility to meet the project objective. The final test and evaluation of the system should be carried out under relevant operation conditions as close to hypersonic flight conditions as possible.

Work in Phase II may become classified. Please see note in Description paragraph.

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Integrate and install the navigation system prototype onto a representative hypersonic vehicle for demonstration and evaluation in Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) events.

As a new type of high-speed, large-range, and fast-response aircraft, the Airbreathing Hypersonic Vehicle (AHV) must not only cruise at high speed in the atmosphere, but also travel through the atmosphere as a space transportation vehicle. It has a wide range of applications in the military and civilian fields.

In the military field, its advantages are embodied in large combat airspace, wide range, fast flight speed, high maneuverability, strong penetration ability, flexible deployment and launch methods, high mission execution efficiency, large flight kinetic energy. Because it flies in the near space above 20 km altitude, which has low atmospheric density and low aerodynamic drag, it can effectively and quickly strike various long-range targets around the world. Meanwhile, it can shorten the enemy’s radar detection time and defense system response time. The above mentioned advantages determine that the hypersonic vehicle can be used as a long-range assault weapon launch platform or a direct strike weapon to efficiently complete various military tasks such as surveillance, reconnaissance, and strike operations.

In the civil field, the hypersonic vehicle can be used as a new type of intercontinental passenger/cargo transportation vehicle to improve human lifestyle and living standards. Hypersonic cargo vehicle can easily realize the rapid and accurate remote delivery of high-value materials, improve transportation efficiency, and stimulate global economic growth. Hypersonic passenger vehicles can shorten passenger travel time to improve work efficiency.

Hypersonic flight is attracting attention beyond civil aviation. The space industry is eyeing the technology to build craft that can take off like a plane, a development that could reduce the need for expensive rocket launches.


  1. Chadwick, K.; Boyer, D. and Andre, S. "Plasma and flowfield induced effects on hypervelocity re-entry vehicles for L-band irradiation at near broadside aspect angles." 27th Plasma Dynamics and Lasers Conference 1996, p. 2322.
  2. Hartunian, R. A.; Stewart, G. E.; Fergason, S. D.; Curtiss, T. J. and Seibold, R. W. "Aerospace report no. ATR-2007(5309)-1: Causes and mitigation of radio frequency (RF) blackout during reentry of reusable launch vehicles." The Aerospace Corporation, 26 January 2007.
  3. Blottner, F. G. "Viscous shock layer at the stagnation point with nonequilibrium air chemistry." AIAA Journal, 7(12), 1969, pp. 2281-2288.
  4. Hartunian, R.; Stewart, G.; Curtiss, T.; Fergason, S.; Seibold, R. and Shome, P. "Implications and mitigation of radio frequency blackout during reentry of reusable launch vehicles." AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference and Exhibit, August 2007, p. 6633.
  5. Won, D.; Ahn, J.; Sung, S.; Heo, M.; Im, S. H. and Lee, Y. J. "Performance improvement of inertial navigation system by using magnetometer with vehicle dynamic constraints." Journal of Sensors, 2015.
  6. Kou, Z.; Liu, J.; Cao, H.; Feng, H.; Ren, J.; Kang, Q. and Shi, Y. "Design and fabrication of a novel MEMS vibrating ring gyroscope." 2017 IEEE 3rd Information Technology and Mechatronics Engineering Conference (ITOEC), October 2017, pp. 131-134.
  7. Dell'Olio, F.; Ciminelli, C.; Armenise, M. N.; Soares, F. M. and Rehbein, W. "Design, fabrication, and preliminary test results of a new InGaAsP/InP high-Q ring resonator for gyro applications." 2012 International Conference on Indium Phosphide and Related Materials, August 2012, pp. 124-127. IEEE.
  8. Wood, B.; Irvine, N.; Schacher, G. and Jensen, J. "Joint Multi-Mission Electro-Optic System (JMMES) report of military utility." Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, 2010.
  9. "National Industrial Security Program Executive Agent and Operating Manual (NISP), 32 U.S.C. § 2004.20 et seq." Code of Federal Regulations, 1993.

KEYWORDS: Hypersonic; missile; navigation; terminal; guidance; global position system (GPS)


The Navy Topic above is an "unofficial" copy from the Navy Topics in the DoD 24.2 SBIR BAA. Please see the official DoD Topic website at for any updates.

The DoD issued its Navy 24.2 SBIR Topics pre-release on April 17, 2024 which opens to receive proposals on May 15, 2024, and closes June 12, 2024 (12:00pm ET).

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Topic Q & A

05/19/24  Q. 1. INS that can deliver all the required performance for GPS denied operation are available, but maybe too large. As emphasized, the solicitation is looking for a system that complies with “current and future SWaP constrains”. It is therefore critical to understand these constraints in order to offer a viable solution. What are the maximum limits of the system size, weight and power?
2. The solicitation details the velocities but very little is said about the acceleration, vibration and shock, besides the requirement that “while performing divert and evasive maneuvers”. What are the environmental conditions that the proposed system will experience?
3. Based on a few of the references, a standalone IMU that complies with the SWaP constraints and delivers the necessary performance maybe an adequate solution. Please confirm; Can you expand on the required performance parameters (gyros and accelerometers bias and scale factor, dynamic range and bandwidth)?.
   A. 1. Currently there is no maximum limits of the system size, weight and power enabling SBIR N242-075 proposed solution to be either a single system solution or an integrated system with the fusion of two orthogonal signal systems or more for improved Position Navigation Timing (PNT). Your proposed system solution should have minimized size, weight, and power (SWaP) compatible with current and future SWaP-constrained hypersonic vehicles you choose in completing Phase 1 modeling and simulation task based on your hypersonic vehicle design, development, and integration knowledge and or expertise.

2. The harsh hypersonic high-velocity and high-g environmental and operating conditions are be derived from the provided initial terminal hypersonic vehicle flight conditions listed in SBIR N242-075. The hypersonic vehicle’s terminal phase begins at a distance of 200 km at an altitude of 25 km and a speed of 3,000 m/s. The initial terminal hypersonic vehicle flight conditions are listed in SBIR N242-075.

3. SBIR N242-075 desires accuracy of navigation similar to or better than current GPS technologies for the entirety of the flight trajectory, but this SBIR N242-075 vehicle navigation success metrics are focused on the terminal navigation success. Obviously, misdirection during midcourse flight could have negative effects on the success of meeting the terminal navigation success metrics, however less accurate navigation methodologies used during midcourse navigation could be corrected later in flight during the terminal navigation phase. SBIR N242-075 topic description will not be revised to list gyros and accelerometers bias and scale factor, dynamic range and bandwidth values.

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