Company insight

GPS jamming: a growing threat to mission success

International defence, aerospace and security company BAE Systems provides a range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, including radio navigation and Global Positioning System technology. Its flexible, efficient and reliable navigation and guidance solutions offer pinpoint accuracy for airborne systems, precision guided munitions, handheld receivers and embedded applications.


or almost 40 years, Western armed forces have relied upon the US NavStar Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation to guide them both on and off the battlefield. Initially, GPS technology was fairly rudimentary and user equipment was large, unwieldy and too power-hungry for combat operations. However, some 1,400 early portable GPS receivers were fielded during Operation Desert Storm, bringing an invaluable improvement in navigational accuracy to US and Coalition forces in the nearly featureless desert and proving the value of the new technology. Since then, the major powers have become all but reliant upon GPS in military operations – from dismounted troops’ point-to-point navigation to precision weapon guidance. This reliance is recognised by their adversaries, who constantly work to counter the effectiveness of GPS on the battlefield. The most significant challenges are GPS jamming and spoofing. Jamming denies access to GPS signals while spoofing provides false locational information. Both aim to disrupt GPS-based navigation and positioning, and the accuracy of precision- guided munitions (PGMs). Military Y code receivers are extremely well protected from spoofing by their selective availability anti- spoofing modules (SAASMs), which just leaves GPS jamming. Recently, the volume of GPS jamming incidents has increased across the globe. There has been extremely aggressive electronic warfare in Ukraine and the Baltic region, for example. In the Middle East, jamming incidents on both civil and military platforms are equally common. In South East Asia, meanwhile, there have also been GPS jamming activities in the South China Sea. Many platforms now


DIGAR is built on field-proven GPS anti-jamming weapons technology and state-of-the art signal processing techniques.

bear some form of GPS anti-jamming (AJ) system, but in the cyclic technology race, many are now inferior to the jamming systems they face. While many forces state that they have GPS AJ systems in place on their platforms, many systems are aged and use older and less effective nulling solutions to provide critical GPS AJ protection. Currently, the most effective defence against GPS jamming is ‘digital beamforming,’ where nulling of the jamming signal still takes place, but reception lobes are locked onto good satellite signals and remain locked even when the platform is aggressively manoeuvring.

Anti-jamming advancement BAE Systems has recently seen huge success in fielding its new Digital GPS Anti-Jamming Receiver (DIGAR), an antenna electronics unit that can be fitted to all types of military platforms, from unmanned aerial vehicles to ships, ground platforms and air tankers. The highly effective DIGAR system has been selected for numerous US platforms to

harden their on-board GPS systems against the growing threat of jamming until next- generation M-Code GPS technology becomes available. With a jam-to-signal ratio of up to 125dB (actual performance may vary for specific threat environments), DIGAR is unrivalled in the levels of protection it provides. It delivers significant hardening to include direction finding against the highest levels of GPS jamming when coupled with a digital receiver and controlled reception pattern antenna (CRPA). Internationally, DIGAR has been selected for the F-16 Fighting Falcon as well as other US military aircraft, and is under consideration for other aircraft within European Nato forces. Due to the open architecture of DIGAR, installation on many existing platforms is simple and low risk. DIGAR can be fitted into an existing mount and easily connected to the existing GPS receiver and CRPA. Normally, changes to the platform operational flight program or airframe are not necessary. ● Defence & Security Systems International /

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