What’s New: A media item about multiple jammers disrupting operations at a French airport. As soon as the authorities found one, they found another, then another!
Why It’s Important:
- Disruptions to GPS at airports can cause flight delays.
- Worst case is disruptions, even accidental, can cause loss of life. See the near-miss in Sun Valley.
What Else to Know:
- The EU’s STRIKE3 project found many instances of jamming at or near airports.
- There have been periodic press reports like this one about delays.
- In the U.S. the FCC is the regulator charged to prevent this sort of thing and enforce the rules
- Unfortunately over the last two decades the FCC has greatly reduced its personnel and equipment able to this work.
In France, the National Spectrum Authority (ANFR) is responsible for enforcing rules that prohibit radio-frequency jammers, including those that disrupt GNSS services. The availability of GNSS data is crucial for many key applications, making interference with GPS, Galileo, Glonass, and Beidou just as severe as a cyber attack.
ANFR’s sworn agents have the authority to investigate infringements of national regulations on spectrum use. They are regularly deployed to locate active jammers, whether they are onboard vehicles or in fixed locations. Catherine Gabay, ANFR’s Deputy Director of Spectrum Monitoring and Enforcement, shared some recent cases during the International Technical Symposium on Navigation and Timing (ITSNT) 2023 in Toulouse.
One case occurred near Merville airport in March 2023. ANFR received a notice from the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC) about interference on the L1 frequency, which was affecting planes and air ambulance helicopters. ANFR agents promptly analyzed in-flight readings and identified a GNSS jammer on a professional vehicle. The police were called in to support the seizure of the equipment and the driver was taken into custody.