bullet proof vest with GPS

People at Laipac Technology just came out with a bullet proof vest with GPS tracking technology. It is called S-911 and it targets (no pun intended) military, police, and law enforcement. It provides GPS tracking with position, date, time, speed and heading. It even can alert the base in case of impact, or man down situations. If the user doesn’t live to tell the story you’ll have the breadcrumb trail for post-mission analysis.

Some of the main features of the GPS embedded bullet proof vest include:

  • NIJ IIIA, III and IV options
  • Material Kevlar
  • GSM/GPRS Coverage
  • High Sensitivity GPS
  • Gyro Sensor Alert for Impact and Man-Down
  • Real Time Position and Status Report Based on Time Interval and Distance Travelled
  • Data Logger to Record Waypoints when out of GSM Coverage
  • Virtual Geo-Fences with In & Out Alert
  • Breadcrumb Trail for Mission Analysis
  • Battery Charger

North Korea jammed GPS signals; forced emergency landing of U.S. plane

According to a report just released North Korea jammed GPS signals using super powerful GPS jammers and caused a U.S. reconnaissance plane to make an emergency landing. This happened during the annual South Korea - U.S. military exercises back in March.

The plane was a RC-7B and it had to land 45 minutes after take off due to disruption of its GPS functions by jamming signals transmitted from Haeju and Kaesong in North Korea. The GPS interference was sent at 5 to 10 minute intervals.

At the same time coastal patrol boats and speed boats of the South Korean Navy were affected and lost GPS fix.

As we’ve already mentioned before North Korea owns and utilizes probably the most powerful GPS jammers in the world - with a range of up to 100km.

CoCom - or why you can’t use GPS to guide missiles

Did you know that any kind of GPS receiver is required to disable itself when it reaches speeds over 1200MPH at altitudes over 60K feet? The idea is that it could be used to guide an intercontinental ballistic missile. This is known is the CoCom Limits. CoCom is the acronym for Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls which was established after the second World War.

So if you’re interested in building a GPS guided missile make sure to slow it down to 1100MPH and stay below 60K feet.

Check it out on Wikipedia.

GAJT: single enclosure GPS anti-jam system

GAJT (pronounced “Gadget”), is world’s first single-enclosure GPS anti-jam system. Just announced by NovAtel and QinetiQ the device is designed specifically for military land vehicles and it nullifies GPS jammers, ensuring the satellite signals required to get a position fix will always be loud and clear. This GPS Anti-Jam system - GAJT works like a noise canceling headphones. It has six different antenna’s so it can null jamming signals from multiple sources.

It is designed for military use but GAJT is a commercial off the shelf product which means short order lead times. It will be ready third quarter of this year.

We wonder if you can use this to nullify the signals from LightSquared towers which are almost guaranteed to interfere with GPS signals.

GPS guided mortars

U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan received their first shipment of GPS guided 120mm mortars. The official name for this weapon is Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative cartridges - or just APMI. These rounds have a requirement of 10 meters CEP (circular error probable) - which means they have to hit within a ten meter radius of the target 50% of the time.

How does this GPS guided mortar (APMI XM395) work? It carries a GPS receiver and computer controlled fins to keep the round on its programmed path. It also has multi-functional fuse so it can be programmed to explode in the air or once it penetrates a surface. For all of this to happen of course the personnel is supposed to enter the autonomous flight path and fuse control via a control computer…

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how a Tomahawk finds its target

With ever expanding use of GPS jammers you may wonder how these long range cruise missiles like the Tomahawk find their targets from hundreds or thousands of miles away - just like the ones fired by U.S. on Libya just last week.

A 4-kilowatt GPS jammer recently marketed by a Russian company for example can block GPS signals for about 125 miles says MIT’s technology review. The bad news for the people using the GPS jammers is that Tomahawk cruise missiles use more than system to find their target:

Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM): Onboard radar gathers change in altitude and compares with pre-recorded contour map of the terrain.

Intertial Navigation System (INS):
Same as dead reckoning. If you know your starting position and keep track of your speed and direction then you’ll know exactly where you are at a given time.

Digital Scene Matching Area Correlation (DSMAC):
This method simply compares an image of the target area with an actual stored image of the target - and is found on more modern cruise missiles.

tiny gyroscopes that can track your position

Israeli military has designed what’s probably the smallest gyroscope to date, as small as a grain of rice. What makes this special is that they’re sensitive enough to track your position without a GPS signal - given they know where you started.

It is the same technology used in planes and boats where your physical changes are compared to each other, calculating a new position without the need for an external reference point. So it is like dead reckoning at a much smaller scale that can fit into your smartphone. This opens up a whole new wave of possibilities such as indoor navigation where GPS signals are weak or non-existant. Maybe soon enough you can send your precise location to a friend in a dark movie theater who you’ve been saving a seat for; so you don’t have to wave your bright screen at him…

At the core of the new device are extremely small semi-conductor lasers. As the devices start to rotate, the properties of the light produced by the lasers changes, including the light’s intensity and wavelength. Rotation rates can be determined by measuring these differences.

These lasers are a few tens-of-micrometers in diameter, as compared to the conventional gyroscope, which measures about 6 to 8 inches, says Prof. Scheuer. The device itself, when finished, will look like a small computer chip. Measuring a millimeter by a millimeter (0.04 inches by 0.04 inches), about the size of a grain of sand, the device can be built onto a larger chip that also contains other necessary electronics.

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North Korea has vehicle mounted GPS jammers

North Koreans are in possession of vehicle mounted GPS jamming devices that can have a range of 50 to 100 kilometers said South Korean defense minister last week (to their defense nobody asked Kim Jong Il if they could beam GPS signals on North Korea)

Apparently these GPS jamming devices were imported from Russia but no information was available on their numbers.

There’s also the potential issue of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) bombs that can detonate high above the atmosphere and release gamma rays that can destroy electronic devices and computers but it sounds like North Koreans haven’t had time to work on this just yet.

GPS enabled boots gets FARC commander killed

According to an article on digitaljournal, second in command of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Jorge Briceno, gave up his location after live GPS tracking device was secretly implanted in his boots. We call BS but we’ll come to that later.

Because of his condition (diabetes) FARC leader needed custom made boots. When guerrillas’ custom order request was intercepted by the Colombia Security Agency they intervened the delivery and embedded a GPS receiver in his boots. Apparently all of this was unnoticed and his location was transmitted back to the security agency for several days. Long story short 30 bombs were dropped on the area and the leader and 20 of his men were killed.

Now this makes for a great movie but is plausible?

Nah, not really.

You’re going to need a pretty big battery to keep that GPS receiver alive. Same problem when you leave Google Maps running on your phone for a long time. Not only that but to transmit location back to the base you’ll need a GSM/GPRS data module which also sucks battery.

Last but not least you’d need those boots to stay in ‘coverage’ area to tell you where they’ve been. We don’t know what kind of cell coverage they have in Colombia but we’re guessing the jungle where he was killed won’t have too many bars.

General Dynamics Itronix GD300

General Dynamics just announced Itronix’s GD300 rugged wearable computer based on the Android platform which provides GPS and situational awareness for the army.

GD300 is as light as commercial GPS receivers and allows you to refer to pre-loaded mission plans and access secure tactical networks while being worn on the arm- or chest. It only weighs less than 8 ounces and can interface with Rifleman Radio (AN/PRC-154) for secure access to the tactical networks. Its quadra-helix antenna helps it get a position fix in mountainous regions or urban environments.

GD300 can operate in two distinct modes:

  • stand-alone GPS device
  • tactical mission computer when connected to a tactical radio

It even supports military “apps” like the Tactical Ground Reporting (TIGR) System which is currently in use by the military.

GD300 has up to eight hours of battery life when in continuous operation; powered by standard lithium-ion batteries. GD300 has a sunlight readable display, 3.5″ touch-screen display, and meets MIL-STD 810G specifications for ruggedness.