US military training could jam GPS systems for planes flying southeast and over the Caribbean all this month, the FAA warns
- US Navy is conducting training tests that could jam GPS systems in planes
- Planes flying southeast and over the Caribbean are in the risk zone
- If any life threatening issues occur, officials will issue ‘cease buzzer’ for the test
A US military training exercise could leave many pilots flying over the Southeast and Caribbean without a GPS.
The Navy’s ‘Carrier Strike Group 4’ exercise is expected to jam signals and other navigation systems starting January 16th and run until January 24th.
Planes flying from as low as 50 feet above the ground up to about 40,000 feet are at risk, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security explains that the Federal Government ‘is required to conduct GPS tests, training activities, and exercises that involve interfering with GPS receivers.’
Part of the Navy, the ‘Carrier Strike Group 4’ is expected to jam signals and other navigation systems until January 24th. Planes flying from as low as 50 feet above the ground up to about 40,000 feet are at risk, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
‘Due to the fact that these training and testing activities can involve a number of aircraft, ships and/or other military equipment and up to hundreds of personnel, cancellation or postponement of a coordinated test should only occur under compelling circumstances,’ the document continues.
‘In general, only safety-of-life/safety-of-flight issues will warrant cancellation or postponement of an approved, coordinated GPS test.’
The government agency did note that in the event of a life threatening event, the FAA will issue ‘cease buzzer’ for the test until it has deemed the issue resolved.
The government agency did note that in the event of a life threatening event, the FAA will issue ‘cease buzzer’ for the test until it has deemed the issue resolved
As the report noted, the government conducts these types of training regularly.
In 2018, the Air Force launched a massive combat training exercise, which the FAA again warned pilots of GPS jamming across the US.
‘Beginning tomorrow, January 26, and running through February 18, GPS-equipped aircraft operating in the Western United States should be prepared for possible satellite signal disruptions at various altitudes,’ Flying.com wrote in a bulletin.
‘Training maneuvers will impact vast portions of the Western US including California, Nevada, Oregon, Wyoming, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Montana and New Mexico.’
Though little is known about the GPS jamming technology used in the exercise, it is believed to operate at a much higher range in the air than the ground, according to The Warzone, meaning impacts to cars and surface GPS could be minimal.
Although the US military is jamming GPS systems, they are also developing technology that blocks the issue.
In June 2019, the military agency was found to be designed a variant that is resistant to GPS jamming, or technology that attempts to disable GPS by transmitting fake signals or scrambling them.
Without those GPS systems, US military officials and others around the world fear that their operations, such as moving troops or navigating missiles, would come to a grinding halt.
HOW DOES GPS WORK?
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a network of about 30 satellites orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 20,000 km (12,000 miles).
The system can pinpoint your location anywhere on Earth.
The system was originally developed by the US government for military navigation but now anyone with a GPS device, be it a SatNav, mobile phone or handheld GPS unit, can receive the radio signals that the satellites broadcast.
Wherever you are on the planet, at least four GPS satellites are ‘visible’ at any time.
The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a network of about 30 satellites orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 20,000 km (12,000 miles)
Each one transmits information about its position and the current time at regular intervals.
These signals, travelling at the speed of light, are intercepted by your GPS receiver, which calculates how far away each satellite is based on how long it took for the messages to arrive.
Once it has information on how far away at least three satellites are, your GPS receiver can pinpoint your location using a process called trilateration.
Trilateration is a sophisticated version of triangulation, though it does not use the measurement of angles in its calculations.
Data from a single satellite provides a general location of a point within a large circular area on the Earth’s surface.
GPS satellites have atomic clocks on board to keep accurate time. General and Special Relativity however predict that differences will appear between these clocks and an identical clock on Earth.
General Relativity predicts that time will appear to run slower under stronger gravitational pull – the clocks on board the satellites will therefore seem to run faster than a clock on Earth.