Defense Advanced Research Projects AgencyTagged Content List

Position, Navigation and Timing

Technologies relating to precision geolocation, time-keeping and synchronization

Showing 46 results for PNT RSS
Since its inception in 1991, DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) has helped create and prevent strategic surprise through investments in compact microelectronic components such as microprocessors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and photonic devices. MTO’s revolutionary work applying advanced capabilities in areas such as wide-band gap materials, phased array radars, high-energy lasers, and infrared imaging has helped the United States establish and maintain technological superiority for more than two decades.
05/18/2015
Since its inception in 1991, DARPA’s Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) has been working to create and prevent strategic surprise through investments in compact microelectronic components such as microprocessors, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and photonic devices. MTO-derived innovations and advanced capabilities in areas such as wide-band gap materials, phased-array radars, high-energy lasers, and infrared imaging have helped the United States establish and maintain technological superiority for more than two decades.
05/18/2015
DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office (STO) is focused on technologies that enable fighting as a network to increase military effectiveness, cost leverage, and adaptability. STO's areas of interest include: Battle Management, Command and Control; Communications and Networks; Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance; Electronic Warfare; Positioning, Navigation, and Timing; and Foundational Strategic Technologies and Systems.
01/01/2005
The Chip-Scale Atomic Clock (CSAC) program created ultra-miniaturized, low-power, atomic time and frequency reference units. The development of CSAC enabled ultra-miniaturized and ultra-low power atomic clocks for high-security Ultra High Frequency (UHF) communication and jam-resistant GPS receivers.
| History | PNT |
01/01/1983

With roots extending to the DARPA-supported Transit program—a Navy submarine-geopositioning system originating in the earliest years of the Space Age at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory—what became today’s world-changing GPS technology began to take modern form in 1973. That is when the Department of Defense called for the creation of a joint program office to develop the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System.

In the early 1980s, as this network of dozens of satellites and ground stations became ever more operational, Soldiers on the ground had to heft around bulky and heavy PSN-8 Manpack GPS receivers. In 1983, in response to a Marine Corps Required Operational Capability to lighten warfighters’ loads, DARPA re-emerged in the GPS-development landscape, focusing on miniaturizing GPS receivers. That effort created a context in which an industry participant in the development process, Rockwell Collins, took the baton to produce a gallium arsenide hybrid chip that allowed for combined analog and digital functionality and the first “all-digital” GPS receivers.

Miniaturized GPS technology has significantly improved the U.S. military’s ability to attack and eliminate difficult targets and to do so from greater distances—fundamentally and progressively changing strategy and enabling successes during the Cold War, the Gulf War, and in more recent conflicts in which the United States has had to contend with dispersed and elusive foes. It also has had transformative effects throughout society. Perhaps most emblematic of this ongoing technology revolution is that soothing voice saying, “Turn right at the next corner,” from your smart phone’s navigation application (and the arguably less soothing declaration, “Recalculating”).