The United States Agency for Advanced Defense Research Projects (DARPA) announcements the H6 program to develop GPS-independent watches that can maintain accurate time to improve mission success.

Some military systems depend on time updates from the Global Positioning System (GPS).

GPS capabilities may deteriorate underground or underwater and may also become inaccessible due to jamming by enemies. This, in turn, could jeopardize the success of the mission.

The H6 program seeks to address this problem and aims to support the development of ultra-small, low-power, field-operated clocks that can maintain accurate microsecond time accuracy for a week without GPS adjustments.

Such watches will be designed to operate in the temperature range from -40 ° C to 85 ° C.

Jonathan Hoffman, DARPA Microsystems Technology Office H6 program manager, said: “When watchmaker John Harrison developed his H1 to H5 marine chronometers to compete for the 1714 Longitude Act in the British Parliament, determining length was the challenge for the tactical mission of the era.

“Today, GPS failure is the most significant PNT [positioning, navigation and timing] challenge. The H6 is the spiritual successor to Harrison’s H5 and aims to eliminate GPS time dependence while maintaining signal security, comprehensive security and high bandwidth communications. The H6 is the watch Harrison would have built to solve today’s challenge of a tactical GPS failure mission.

The H6 program includes three phases.

In the first phase, contractors will look at the dependence of the watch on the limitations for reducing temperature and size, weight and power (SWaP).

The second phase will include aging the watch and demonstrating performance over the entire tactical temperature range.

In the last phase, the contractors will demonstrate a fully integrated tactical watch, as well as manufacture and deliver five watches.

The proposals are until August 8, 2022, and work is scheduled to begin in January next year.

DARPA recently selected six teams for the Morphogenic Interfaces (MINT) program.

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