“GNSS – Is It Time for Backup?” was the theme of this year’s Munich Satellite Navigation Summit. The answer seemed to be a resounding “YES!”

A conference panel charged with answering that question agreed that one or more “complementary and backup” systems for GNSS were needed. But there was an interesting difference of views between the United States and Europe.

The representative from the U.S. said that having a backup system was overdue and his government was proceeding on a course to implement one.

Representatives from the European Commission (EC) and the European GNSS Agency (GSA) said over 100,000 GNSS jamming devices were operating on the continent and multiple backup systems were probably needed. The EC rep observed that Europe should take a more comprehensive approach to PNT resilience. The GSA rep said users are responsible for having their own backups.

Here are some bullets from each of the panelists:

Prof Per Hoeg, Technical Institute of Denmark  –

  • The sun can profoundly impact GNSS reception.

Dominic Hayes, European Commission –

  • The commission has collected electronic signatures of over 100,000 jammers in Europe.
  • Probably more than one backup system is needed if all users are to be protected.
  • A comprehensive approach is required. The EC is considering a European Radionavigation Plan to further this.

Francis Zachariae, Sec. Gen. IALA

  • We need to be able to trust electronic navigation sources
  • A big obstacle to solving the problem is that we have not had a big failure event
  • Who is in charge of protecting GNSS?

Guy Buesnel, Spirent

  • Spoofing is getting easier, cheaper and happening more often
  • Users need a warning when GNSS is not reliable
  • Aviation has a real Jamming and spoofing problem that impacts safety and ops

Tony Flavin, Chronos

  • GNSS has been too good (so people don’t think enough about failures)
  • Using multiple GNSS constellations is good, but not good enough
  • Jammers are really nasty, hit all GNSS at once, and often other services

John Fischer, Spectracom Orolia

  • Network synchronization depends upon space-based time
  • Networks are really important (discussed financial networks as an example)

Harold “Stormy” Martin, U.S. National Coordination Office

  • The US President directed action in 2004 and Congress recently reinforced the need for a complementary and backup system for GPS.
  • The government is developing requirements for that system
  • It is long past time for the system to be in place.

Gian-Gherardo Calini, European GNSS Agency

  • Multiple backup systems are needed
  • Users must protect themselves

Panelists were also asked to describe desirable characteristics of systems to complement, backup, or augment GNSS. Here are the summarized results: