GPS Protection System Could Defend Future Flights From Interference and Hacking

Feb 7, 2017

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A new aviation technology debuted by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) could help aircraft maintain a connection with GPS satellites in flight, even when under attack from jamming systems. Named ADA, the new tech could help all aircraft navigate across multiple situations, from electronic attack in combat zones to unintentional interference.

This technology improves on current anti-jamming systems implemented in military ground vehicles, which help them maintain GPS communications in combat situations. ADA works to deflect anti-GPS devices that are pointed toward an aircraft, while allowing two-way GPS communication between the aircraft and satellites. The result is an uninterrupted flow of information to the aircraft on global location, despite any interference — intended or otherwise.

The ADA system recently passed a major test at the American NAVFEST event, where it was subjected to multiple GPS jamming devices. IAI claims the GPS protection was able to provide electronic counter countermeasures to maintain a connection with the satellites throughout the various tests.

GPS technology has become a critical tool for commercial, private and military aviation around the world. As part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s NextGen initiative, the use of GPS satellites through automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) technology will allow air traffic controllers to track and maintain communications with aircraft by 2020, working in place of a secondary radar. Other nations, including Australia and Canada, currently use ADS-B to track aircraft flying over their airspace. Installing a GPS anti-jamming unit could help commercial aircraft maintain communications, even if other outside agents are trying to interrupt the GPS connection.

Although there’s no word yet whether the ADA system could be implemented into commercial aircraft, the company is currently showcasing its new technology to aerospace builders across the world. IAI claims the system could be adapted for all aircraft, including manned and unmanned airframes.

While GPS jamming is one significant threat facing modern aircraft, it’s far from the only potential issue. In 2012, a French Ph.D. candidate presented on another potential ADS-B attack, where broadcasts are intercepted and replaced with false data.

Featured image courtesy of Israel Aerospace Industries.

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