Military GPS Jamming Threatens East Coast Air Travel This Weekend
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association called out the FAA’s position on upcoming GPS jamming military exercises. The exercises are taking place now (February 6 to 10).
Services such as Ground Based Augmentation System, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), as well as the Wide Area Augmentation System, could become compromised from as far south as the Carribean to as far north as Pennsylvania. The exercises may have a westerly track as far as Louisiana.
The AOPA expressed deep concerns over what they call “well documented flight-safety concerns raised by the large-scale national security exercises in which GPS signals are degraded to test defense systems and preparedness.” AOPA says that February’s military exercises are “unacceptably widespread and potentially hazardous.” However, according to AOPA, the FAA’s response to their claims have largely gone ignored.
AOPA expects 2,000 airports will be affected by GPS interference this weekend.
Military GPS Jamming Disruptions Aren’t New
AOPA’s concerns are validated when we look at history. Back in November of 2018, the group reported numerous cases of aircrafts losing GPS signals. Some of the aircraft lost course and went astray. The issues in November were not limited to aircraft but also extended to air traffic control.
Back in March of 2018, an RTCA working group, in alliance with AOPA officials, sent the FAA 25 change request to their military protocol exercises that jam GPS. The FAA has yet to respond formally to the requests.
“AOPA is very concerned that government officials have not addressed the known safety issues,” Rune Duke, AOPA senior director of airspace, air traffic and aviation security, said. “The interference events are important to the military and our national defense, and the FAA must assure that flight safety is not compromised. We have worked collaboratively with industry, the FAA, and the Department of Defense to find solutions, but we have yet to see action.”
Military GPS Jamming Capabilities Threaten Citizens
While it might not seem at first that military jamming exercises pose an immediate threat to people, they most certainly do. These tests could literally cripple crucial navigation systems, which in turn could disrupt planes, drones, and helicopters. It could render machines in flight aimless. The east coast is home to the world’s busiest, most heavily trafficked airports.
GPS is a backbone to air travel. Planes rely on GPS to locate the safest, fastest courses of travel.
The military’s prior GPS jamming test has played out over Alaska and New Mexico. This will be the first major GPS jamming event over a largely populated region.
A number of major news organizations have reached out to the FAA, including wusa out of D.C. But the FAA refuses to respond to media inquisitions over matters of GPS jamming.
The failed responses serve as a reminder that the government is going to do what the government wants to do. This is another cold reminder of why voting for more government oversight can only end poorly for the people it rules.
Governments worldwide, including Russia, are working tirelessly on GPS jamming techniques as well as EMP attack strategies. Our society’s technology dependency is far-reaching and creates a state of fragility.
Author: Jim Satney
PrepForThat’s Editor and lead writer for political, survival, and weather categories.