Image: Russian Defense Ministry
What’s New: An article dealing with two separate and distinct issues. Heavy GNSS jamming and other counter-UAV operations in Ukraine, and development of electric VTOL air taxi service at Tampa’s airport.
Why It’s Important: Though the author makes no connection between the two topics, there are clearly links and implications.
- GNSS disruptions impact and endanger both piloted and unpiloted craft.
- While eVTOL is not forecast to be pilotless for a while, one goal of Urban Air Mobility is to be able to eliminate the need for a pilot, first for cargo, then passengers.
- Not all disruption sources are as big as the lumbering Russian Pole-21. Many jammers are quite small and hard to detect.
What Else to Know:
- Aviation systems must have a very high degree of reliability and safety to protect cargo, passengers, and those on the ground.
- Any scheme for Urban Air Mobility must provide a high degree of navigational resilience. This will require a layered approach as advocated by Prof. Todd Humphreys at the Univ of Texas Radionavigation Lab, and outlined in our input to the Dept. of Transportation.
- GPS was developed as a weapons system to “put five bombs in one hole. While it has hundreds of thousands of peaceful uses, the wars in Ukraine and Israel remind us that it is still a weapons system being used to attack and defend military targets. – Whether it is a good idea to have the functioning of one’s national infrastructure and economy depend upon a weapons system which will continue to be contested, is a policy discussion few in some governments have yet to have.