Air Force awards $ 23.9 million technology contract
Continued development to expose threats to communications systems
War fighters will soon have access to a better way to confidently assess the vulnerabilities of GPS receivers, thanks to an Ohio-based company working with support from the Air Force SBIR/STTR Program. (Air Force photo)
By Joe Cogliano Air Force SBIR/STTR Program


Asmall business located in Ohio received a$23.9 million Air Force contract for development of an automated platform that analyzes wireless communication systems.

Pre Talen LTD is in the midst of updating its Position Navigation and Time (PNT) Autonomous Negotiator Applying Cognitive Effects-Based Analysis system, known as PAN-ACEA. Pre Talen originally developed the PANACEA system with support from the Air Force Small Business Innovation Research/ Small Business Tech no logy Transfer Program.

Before PANACEA, testing of military GPS receivers required establishing a connection between the receiver and a GPS signal simulator, invoking logging software to record position outputs from the receiver, and using another software application to compare the logged results against the true positions generated by the simulator. Since each receiver had to be tested separately, the process was painstaking, labor intensive and prone to error.

The PANACEA system provides are search asset and algorithms to quickly, quantitatively and confidently assess the vulnerabilities of PNT systems. PNT systems combine three distinct capabilities: the ability to accurately and precisely determine one's location and orientation; the ability to determine current and desired position and to apply a course, orientation or speed to reach a position; and the ability to maintain accurate and precise time from a standard anywhere in the world.

By applying automation algorithms and cognitive analysis, PANACEA uncovers a PNT system's strengths and weaknesses.

By using commercial, off the-shelf simulators and coding the interfaces of the PNT systems, PANACEA is a deploy able asset used by military and commercial entities for evaluating their PNT systems. PANA-CEA includes a database for input, output and analysis data so users can easily query results from vast tables of test data to quickly compile sound conclusions.

As a result of the SBIR-funded work, the U.S.

Army adopted the PANA-CEA as its principal test asset supporting the Army's PNTS ystem of Systems Architecture( So SA) testing of GPS receivers in 2015. Pre-Talen was awarded a$6.6 million contract for the procurement and delivery of 14 PANACEA systems for use in the PNTS o SA test program. At that time, Pre-Talen increased production to meet the demand for the system.

As an element of the new, Air Force contract, Pre Talen will modify the PANACEA system to include a signals-based testing framework.

"We are excited to continue our work with the Air Force Research Laboratory in developing innovative cyber radio frequency solutions for the war fighter," said Bruce Hart, Pre Talen's chief technology officer. "Navigation and wireless systems are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber-based attacks. Working with the team at AFRL to develop solutions to these emerging threats will help ensure our military remains at the forefront of this battle space."

"This award leverages the extremely successful PANACEAS mall Business Innovative Research SBIR program, demonstrating the value in the SBIR program and creating greater than an order of magnitude in tax revenue than the original SBIR invested," he added. "More importantly, though, is the value to our war fighters and critical infrastructure that this technology is protecting and advancing."

Pre Talen is scheduled to complete the project by March 30,2023.