Global Positioning Satellite Units



Has  there been a GPS unit authorised for use by the British Army and if so what is their availability.  Are they on issue to Army Air Corps units and if not, why not?  What is the procedure for procurement?  Can OC's or CO,s authorise local purchase of the units?  Lots of questions, I hope someone has the answer.


I WISH!! Procurement, or lack of it, really gets up my nose.  When an item of kit is truly needed by the guy at the sharp end and it costs peanuts then why cant the guys get it???!!!  GPS is an amazingly easy to use, robust piece of kit that can be used for a plethora of uses.  To the Gods in the QM's Dept....give the guys a fighting chance....give them the kit!!!!!!!!!

Bad CO

Anyone got any info about the very successful GPS jamming trial held in BATUS last(?) year....


I have a Garmin Extrex GPS, this is a very useful bit of kit indeed. Does anyone know however if the Ordanance Survey Grid is the same as the Miliatary Maps of STANTA and Salibury Plain. Cos being a cadet i will only use it on Army Training Areas. Cheers


War Hero
Fear not young Pickle... yes it is -  a grid is a grid. However remember ... gadgets do malfunction . .and as Bad CO has alluded to they can go wrong for whatever reason as well as loss of power, getting wet etc ..... therefore if the chips are down . . . a map and silva compass will never let you down !  ;)
As the aforementioned seller of the GPS units, I find it most annoying ( ;D) to have to agree with Ramillies comment about "gadgets" failing, but he is absolutely right.

The units I sell are for "field sports" types and were obviously never designed to be "squaddie proof", after all, I've never seen a squaddie proof MBT, let alone a piece of technology.

They are what they are, an assistive tool to be used in times where you cannot get your bearings from the map resembling a piece of sandpaper. Considering the shoddy desert map reading training that we got prior to deployment, I was amazed we could find our way too the loo, let alone to a grid in the middle of a moonscape ;D

I was lucky enough to have one during GW1 and even though they had fcuked with the GPS system so that it wasn't "militarily" accurate, as a FARP commander, it got me close enough to where I needed to be.

I'll put my hands up and tell you here & now that I make 5% on each device (as long as it goes to a mil unit), I'm not in it for the money (the 5% covers our admin and credit card processing costs) and it would make me far happier to know that my successors were being issued with these units as a matter of course. However, I suspect the usual mil thinking will come into place (can only talk about the AAC as I was "true blue" all the way through) where the powers that be will think that issuing one or two to an entire squadron will suffice, where, it clearly will not.

Judging by how many I have sold so far (I must admit, mainly to AAC bods due to the "family" thing), I don't think that the troops are very trusting about promises made as to the issue of these bits of kit.


There is a very nice GPS unit available - First 4 of NSN is 5820 (Look it up on ISIS or GLOBAL)
The item name is Receiver, Radio although colloquially known as SPGR.
Nice price tag of £ 3800 yes, £3800 :eek:
Our bleeps and Bomb Chuckers are issued them (AI Bn)


War Hero
BTW GPS can be jammed and the civvy GPS is less accurate than the military something to do with error margins allowed by the yanks (who own the satelites).
This error margin can allegedley be altered and gps can be switched off at will to all non authorised users ie civvy sets in a war zone. So using issued GPS is a better option.


The latest duty rumour is that GPS for the Gulf will be jammed (probable error of at lest 200m CEP).  The only ones which will not be effected will be the issue SPGR which has the correct fill - Nurse and Nige are correct.

However, if this is the case are there not great implications for civi airlines who presumably do not have the ability to download the fill?


Nah......they have the ability to switch them off regionally. They can piss Saddam off and leave Gatwick functioning at the same time.

"parochial selection" I think it's referred to in the GPS business

Good eh?  :D


Every PRC 346 has a SPGR in its CES,
Every AAC Sqn has 4 on its books. some more.

however, how many troops have been taught how to use them? not many.



Margin of error between full-blown mil, and civvy is only 150m difference. For airliners its no problem, because GPS is only authorised for non-precision approaches.

Besides, if the yanks did switch on "selective availablity" all the garmin GPS perchased by the army would have gone tits up.

dont know how 7 Bde got on with them, but 16 would have struggled with the issued SPGR quota.

I got my own Garmin Legend because i could :idea: , and very shiney it is too, would have struggled in the sandy place without it :wink:

Mr Happy

I know a little about GPS so here’s my two pennies worth...

The original build did indeed include an error of some 50 to 100 meters (think 3D not 2D) in order to prevent mad terrorists remote flying planes into white houses. This however was switched off I believe some years ago (I think 4 or 5 but certainly before Y2K).

Currently aircraft/boats etc use GPS to land (Automatic landing systems) and navigate (think the Isle Of Wight ferry that crashed into all those Navy boats during the firepersons strike because it ran on GPS and ooops, nobody had parked any boats there before)…

Grids are not the same, unless it’s a horrible rumour the yanks kept bombing the wrong grids in the FRY because Brit SF were working on WGS84 (world global standards, 1984) but the yanks, predictably, were working on something north american…. NATO – who needs it…

Regardless, the bottom on your maps, mil and OS should show the standard they are using and you can link up from there, to check your GPS is also working on the same find a prominent point like a road junction and check you’ve a match.

I understand the mil spec GPS’s (of which I know a friend that has one in need of crypto) are good for 10-100cm accuracy. The civ spec ones that you or I could buy I suspect don’t go to that level but I standby to be corrected. The

As for the yanks switching off GPS by region I suspect this is ballacks, firstly because I’ve flown across Iran/Turkey a stones throw from Iraq literally about 20 times this year and the little picture you get on the TV that shows where you are has worked fine) and secondly because the X number of sat’s up there would cover such a larger portion of the planet (e.g. you need 3 minimum to triangulate but one of those might be over cyprus, another east of afghanistan and another somewhere down towards antartica, but each of these has to lock in with others for people in cyprus, afghanistan etc so therefore I wonder if it is technically possible.

The biggest indicator to the ballacks of this however is that they haven’t/didn’t do it in GW1 or GW2 so therefore I think we can conclude an answer.

Responses welcome, keen to continue to know more.

Mr H
I have been using the SPGR - Specialist Personal GPS Receiver - in Warminster lately. The kit is made by Rockwell and is pretty robust, from what I saw of it. What really impressed me is the time it takes to get a fix - from power on, including self test, around 5 seconds for a 10 figure grid.

The LH40C is NOT made by Rockwell, and, no, the software was not common and so gave problems initially. But hey, its cheap, even if the "laserrrr" failed its trials :roll:

Latest Threads