Aviation agency to warn North Korea on GPS jamming

Jamming operations by North targeted at aircraft navigation systems in South

June 24th, 2016

The International Civil Aviation Organization decided earlier this month to send a formal warning to North Korea regarding the country’s GPS jamming activity, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reportedThursday.

The ICAO, the United Nations’ aviation regulatory agency, decided at its 208th board meeting – held in Montreal, Canada, from May 16 through June 17 – to send a letter to Pyongyang warning against further active use of GPS jamming equipment causing disruptions in South Korea.

The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a space-based worldwide navigation system which relies upon a constellation of orbiting satellites built, launched, and maintained by the United States military. The technology is openly available to anyone with a GPS receiver unit.

GPS receivers are essentially specialized radio receivers. The receivers determine their location on the Earth by receiving radio signals from three or more GPS satellites. Because they rely on radio signals, GPS receivers – like all types of radio receivers including mobile phones – are susceptible to interference and jamming.

GPS receivers are used for geolocation and other functions in aircraft, automobile navigation systems, boats, mobile phones, handheld GPS receivers used by the military, and in many other devices.

Jamming is the act of intentionally disrupting or inhibiting a radio signal from reaching the intended receivers. By broadcasting a stronger signal on the same frequency as the signal from the GPS system, a jamming transmitter can prevent a GPS receiver from distinguishing the signals from the GPS satellites. This effectively drowns out the GPS signal and inhibits the GPS receiver from determining its location.

Jamming is considered a hostile act and a form of electronic warfare (EW). It can be used to block radio broadcasts and communications as well as interfere with signals used by equipment such as GPS navigation systems and other electronics which rely on sending and receiving radio signals.

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