Navigation Warfare: Testing the World’s Most Advanced Military-Grade GPS System

July 24, 2023


DRDC tested the most-advanced military GPS technology to date - a system that has the potential to improve mission effectiveness, reduce risks to personnel, and enhance operational efficiency. This research could revolutionize the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) navigation and communication capabilities.

A person setting up white antennas outside beside three yellow tents.

DRDC setting up for the tests. The yellow tents contain equipment that run the antennas being installed.

Canada was the first U.S. ally to receive the latest military GPS technology, giving DRDC access to the next generation M-code enabled GPS receiver cards for laboratory and field testing. M-code is a new GPS signal designed for military applications. This signal enhances GPS capabilities with improved defense against jamming (interference to prevent the GPS from working), spoofing (false information sent to the GPS), and unauthorized access. The M-code will also be faster and more accurate than previously used GPS signals. Designed to thwart any interference, the new M-code signal will ensure uninterrupted GPS navigation and timing signals for the CAF.

Three people sitting in front of four green GPS receivers attached to many wires.

The military m-code receivers under test, as a DRDC researcher records data and CAF members from 3 Cdn Space Division observe and participate in the trial.

To test this new technology, DRDC researchers and a member from 3 Canadian Space Division conducted open-air GPS field trials, called GooseJam 23, at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa. The trials, which took place over the course of two weeks, had the goal of measuring the effectiveness of the M-code signal. Researchers were able to demonstrate the accuracy and reliability of the GPS system in real-world scenarios. They also validated the M-code’s resilience, challenging the GPS receivers under a variety of electronic threats.

A person kneeling beside yellow tents at sunset.

DRDC checking the test equipment

The promising results from the trials open a path for future breakthroughs in GPS technology and its military applications. With enhanced navigation, communication, and electronic warfare capabilities, the CAF and its allies are poised to enter a new era of coalition operations - bolstering our readiness, capabilities, and interoperability in today’s ever more complex, contested, and evolving theatre of operations.

Related links: