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What’s New: The International Air Transport Association is meeting about GPS interference. According to the below article they are going to:

  • Press regulators for
  • Urgent action on
  • A problem that is caused by spoofing associated with conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East

We have issues with each of these.

Why It’s Important: All the assumptions above are wrong. Discussing them in reverse order:

  • The real problem is not spoofing and jamming. It is that GPS signals are weak, open, and vulnerable. This is just more evident in conflict areas. The physics and structure of GPS/GNSS means, as the European Union has said in writing, it must not be used as the sole source of PNT in safety critical applications.
  • While the problem may be “urgent,” and folks might want quick fixes, there aren’t any.
    • World conflict isn’t going away, So neither is GPS/GNSS jamming and spoofing. Even it it did, there would still be individual bad guys out there.
    • Even marginal improvements like better GNSS antennas, and better receivers, will take a lot of time to approve and install. Especially in aviation.
    • An entirely new, system of systems approach, to navigation is needed. The technology exists, it’s just a matter of using it. Perhaps some combination of:
      • GNSS
      • LEO PNT
      • eLoran
      • Magnetics
  • Regulators must be part of the solution, but they won’t be the source. It is almost impossible for regulators to do something that industry has not already agreed, or at least acquiesced, to. Industry has to step up and admit an entirely new approach is needed.

What Else to Know:  “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses.'” – Attributed to Henry Ford.

  • The more difficult the problem, the more important it is to think differently.
  • There is only so much we can do to make GPS/GNSS better. We quickly come up against the laws of physics and other fundamental characteristics of the systems.
  • Real, lasting solutions will take different approaches and a long time. We have had GPS for 40+ years.
    • It won’t take that long to get to GPS+, but we do have to start working on it.


Aviation sector seeks urgent solutions for GPS interference

LONDON/WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (Reuters) – The aviation industry will press regulators this week for urgent action to help tackle GPS “spoofing” amid a surge in such activity, which can send commercial airliners off-course, due to conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East.
International trade body IATA and European regulator EASA have organised a meeting in Cologne, Germany, on Thursday that will bring together airlines, plane manufacturers and aviation technology firms, as well as national and regional regulatory bodies, to discuss the issue.