Military GPS expert joins Locata

US Air Force (USAF) veteran Paul Benshoof, formerly chief of strategic development at the 746th Test Squadron (746TS) at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, has joined Locata as global business development manager for military and government applications in the US and abroad.

Benshoof, who witnessed the success of Locata’s precision positioning in GPS-denied environments during USAF LocataNet development at White Sands Missile Range, will set and execute the company’s worldwide defense sales initiatives.

Near universal reliance on GPS for a broad range of critical positioning and navigation requirements in military, civilian government and commercial applications – despite the fact that GPS signals are frequently blocked, jammed, spoofed or unavailable – is driving increasing demand for an alternative positioning solution.

Locata claims its terrestrial technology is the first and only system to locally replicate GPS precise positioning – on the ground and therefore the only real backup to GPS across any area where satellite-based signals aren’t reliable.

Many modern applications (such as machine automation, military operations in GPS jammed areas, and all manner of positioning across campuses, ports, downtown “urban canyons,” open-cut mines, warehouses, malls and more) have far outstripped the original design parameters of the GPS satellite constellation.

The ability to provide a backup to GPS is therefore now recognized as an essential national requirement for future mobile, industrial, transportation, homeland security and other critical infrastructure applications, as clearly laid out in the 2010 Federal Radionavigation Plan and the U.S. President’s National Space Policy of the USA.

On September 7, the USAF granted Locata a multi-year contract to install a LocataNet over a vast 2,500 square mile (6,500 sq km) area of the famed White Sands Missile Range. The LocataNet has been described in a current USAF technical report as the key component for the realization of the USAF’s new “gold standard” military-grade reference system required to test and evaluate future navigation and guidance systems for the U.S. department of Defense when GPS signals are jammed or unavailable.

Locata said it has been comprehensively proven by independent USAF testing to be fully autonomous from GPS, delivering the same or better positioning, navigation and time (PNT) as the GPS satellite constellation. Locata claims it is the only technology available that can do this, and the company has invented a large portfolio of new technologies to create this new capability. Locata currently has 94 granted patents and over one hundred more in process to protect their innovations.

“It’s an honour to have Benshoof join our team,” said Nunzio Gambale, CEO and co-founder of Locata. “Paul’s calibre of GPS expertise and firsthand experience with military and government positioning requirements will be instrumental in helping grow our business in this sector. He will help military and government organizations meet next-generation positioning needs using Locata’s world-first backup to GPS. I’ve known and worked with him and his USAF team since 2005, so he’s seen Locata’s groundbreaking technology in action. The fact he has now chosen to join our company is a tribute to the importance of our emerging technology. It also tells you all you need to know about how well our ‘impossible technology’ actually works!”

Benshoof began his 22 years in GPS as the Project Manager responsible for the development and procurement of the PLGR – the DoD’s first secure handheld GPS receiver, manufactured by Rockwell Collins.

He then devoted his technical prowess to developing navigation warfare (NAVWAR) test assets to support advanced technology demonstrations in GPS-denied environments, as well as supervising international test programs for NATO and allied forces.

As GPS testing became increasingly important, he formed and directed the GPS Test Center of Expertise, a consortium of U.S. test agencies dedicated to GPS test and evaluation, while also chairing an international working group that helped standardize GPS test practices among 11 participating countries. Ultimately, he was selected to implement and lead the 746th Test Squadron’s Strategic Development activity that worked with commercial and military GPS industry to project guidance, navigation and NAVWAR testing shortfalls, and then managed developmental programs to fill technical capability gaps.

“I’m excited to join a company that has done what no one thought was possible,” said Benshoof. “While other companies have attempted to replicate GPS without satellites, Locata is the first to succeed. Just as the early days of GPS were sparked by groundbreaking military applications, Locata has followed this same evolutionary path, yet much more rapidly. I’m honoured to be a part of the team bringing essential GPS backup to the countless nations, organizations and partners that need it.”

Real-world and simulated GPS drone hijacking (spoofing) and jamming events – and even just unreliable GPS satellite availability in many areas – has military, civilian and commercial officials across the globe demanding an alternative to the weak signals they must rely on from space-based GPS satellites.

Locata networks have been developed to meet this critical need. Because they are deployed and controlled locally, Locata signals can blanket a given area outdoors and indoors, and can be made extremely resistant to jamming and spoofing. Locata calls this unique ability to deploy a “local” positioning network “Your Own GPS.”

It’s a revolutionary and disruptive advance in the history of positioning. Locata now allows any entity… mine, construction site, port, warehouse, airport, strategic asset – and ultimately entire cities and nations… to decide for themselves the level of positioning they need to deploy, under their own local control. The flexibility to deploy and control positioning that meets any applications’ performance and security specifications is changing forever what can be done with positioning.

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