Item History: Rockwell Collins (then the Collins Government Avionics Division of Rockwell International) designed and built the RCVR-3A Airborne Global Positioning System Receiver in the mid-1980s. It was intended for use on board a multitude of Department of Defense aircraft. As a major innovation for military GPS, the RCVR-3A served mainly as an accurate source of position, velocity and time information for host platforms by receiving signals from GPS satellites. It achieved its sub-ten meter position accuracy through four receiver channels that allowed rapid acquisition, tracking and navigation. A fifth channel enhanced measurement and managed the use of GPS satellite signals. The receiver operated primarily with the high-accuracy P(Y)-code on L1 and L2 frequencies, with operation on the lower accuracy civilian C/A code on L1 as needed.
RCVR-3A was an evolution from prototype development GPS Phase IIB receivers, where the host vehicle functioned via a "swappable" hardware component interfaced to a separate receiver chassis. Integrating all of these functions into one chassis lowered receiver costs and increased maintainability and flexibility. This made the RCVR-3A the first of its kind to offer standardized integration for widely diverse aircraft, such as the F-16 fighter and B-52 bomber, while using the same GPS receiver part number; the only difference was in the software-configurable interfaces. A complete list of user platforms is included below.
After its integration, the RCVR-3A became the benchmark for subsequent receivers, including the Miniature Airborne GPS Receiver. Its circuit card assemblies found use in a range of other applications, including: the companion five-channel RCVR-3S receiver for the U.S. Navy; two-channel receivers in utility helicopters, observation helicopters and C4 aircraft; and a one-channel receiver designed for Manpack and ground vehicle applications.
By supplying precise, all-weather navigation, the RCVR-3A receiver and its direct descendents played an important role in Operation Desert Storm, the Kosovo operations and Operation IRAQI Freedom.
Because it was specifically designed for logistics supportability, the RCVR-3A continues to be used in some platforms at the present time.
Receiver 3A Platforms: B-52 AC-130H AC-130U C-130E C-130H C-130T CH-53D CH-53E E-2C E-6A E-6B E-8C EC-130E EC-130H EC-130J EC-130R EC-135Y EF111F EP-3E ES-3A F-16C F-16D HC-130J HC-130N HC-130P HH-60G HH-60H HH-60J HH-65A HU-25B HU-25C HU-6525A KC-130F KC-130T LC-130H MC-130E MH-53E MH-53J MH-53M MH-60G NC-130H OC-135B RC-135S RC-135U RC-135V RC-135W RC-135X SH-60B SH-60F TC-130H TC-135S TC-135W TH-53A WC-130H WC-130J C-130 E-2 E-6 CH-53 E-8 C-135