Blog editor’s note: Ok, we admit the title of the paper is a little more sophisticated. It is:
“Does Radio Frequency Interference to Satellite Navigation pose an increasing threat to Network efficiency, cost-effectiveness and ultimately safety?”
Oh, oh, we know the answer – “YES!”
Alright, we are being a little unfair. There are some folks who don’t know the answer to this question right off the top of their heads.
And the eight page paper has some good info, even for aviation and PNT professionals who already know this is a systemic problem with many layers.
The paper’s goal is to answer three questions:
- What lies behind the massive rise in RFI reported across the European network?
- Where are the majority of RFI incidents occurring?
- What needs to be done to mitigate the problem?
The authors do pretty well with the first two.
For the third, “what needs to be done,” they say pretty the most that all mid-level folks in governments can say – “be aware of the problem and we should study it some more.”
That’s because pronouncements like “we need multiple and diverse wide area navigation systems to keep everyone safe,” while true, is way above their pay grade. Something like that verges on a political statement that could end someone’s career.
We wonder how many European politicians are willing to say that. Perhaps such a statement is only possible after an accident that ends a bunch of lives.
Aviation Intelligence Unit
Think Paper #9 – 1 March 2021
Does Radio Frequency Interference to Satellite Navigation pose an increasing threat to Network efficiency, cost-effectiveness and ultimately safety?
Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) are essential to safe aviation operations, enabling today’s aircraft to rely on accurate and reliable position, speed or time at any point and without interruption. GNSS is used by aviation communications, navigation and surveillance (CNS) systems and air traffic management. However, the downside of the global availability of GNSS is its inherent vulnerability to interruption by Radio Frequency Interference (RFI). In recent years, incidents have rocketed upwards, with most affecting en-route flight. While aircraft can fly safely without GNSS, the massive rise in RFI is clearly reducing the efficiency of the overall aviation system, placing a higher workload on pilots and air traffic controllers, and requiring complementary CNS services to be maintained to more demanding requirements. It also poses a serious potential risk to safety if no further mitigating actions are taken.