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Global Positioning System (GPS)

Map reading and navigation have always been required skills of any special forces soldier. This is still true today, although modern technology has made the process a lot easier.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a breakthrough in navigation tech. With a small hand-held receiver it is possible to plot one's position on the face of the earth to within a few feet. GPS units receive time coded signals from overhead satellites. These signals are triangulated to calculate the longitude and latitude of the receiver.

GPS was developed for the military and UK forces have been using it for nearly 2 decades. UKSF forces working behind Iraqi lines in 1991's Desert Storm, including the infamous Bravo Two Zero SAS patrol, carried Magellan GPS units with them. Without GPS, it can be extremely hard to navigate featureless terrain such as the desert or the arctic. GPS allowed US forces to use the deep desert to maneuver armoured columns and logistics into position - something the Iraqis thought was impossible.

Aside from pinpointing their own positions, UKSF forces can also use GPS to gather coordinates for artillery or air strikes and to map out safe routes and aircraft landing zones.

Even though GPS makes life a lot easier, UKSF still train to navigate using less high-tech methods.

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