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.




Jamming warfare and air taxis

November 15, 2023  – By 
Other than the tracked unit — a truck that appears to be a power generator and has an overall look of complexity — the thing that jumps out at you about the Russian Pole-21 jammer is that it is brisling with a huge number of antennae. The system apparently can jam almost any known communication channel and everything GNSS. It is a bit lumbering to move around, may be difficult to set up, and must be used judicially, because it may jam everything, including the Russian’s own coms and GLONASS navigation systems. So, it may be useful for disabling the enemy, but only when your own soldiers have already established visual contact with their target.