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Earthdate 2003-01-14

GPS Jamming

Sgt. Stryker comes through again!  CPO Sparkey at Sgt. Stryker does a fine piece "Grooaannn, Not This GPS Jammer Crap Again!," effectively debunking the media hysteria over the last few days about the reported Iraqi purchase of "GPS jammers."  (I'd thought the idea that the U.S. military would all of a sudden be confronting for the first time the possibility that someone might try to jam the GPS signals was a little harebrained!  The Global Positioning System was designed, after all, during Soviet times and with a Soviet threat in mind; sophisticated jamming attempts were to be expected.)

CPO Sparkey points not only to an article of his own from last September on this subject (even the "Fox News Exclusive" photo the media has been carrying is the same one that Sparkey linked to back then!), but also to a Boeing press release from 1998 discussing tests going on half a decade ago to circumvent methods of jamming GPS signals.  (As Sparkey says, "Advantage: ME!")  As one might expect, the U.S. Air Force has a whole project, the Anti-Jam GPS Technology Flight Test (AGTFT) program, devoted to this kind of research.

It's also worth noting a reader's comment to the Sparkey article, who points out that even if a GPS jamming method used by an enemy were someday to be successful, it still wouldn't mean JDAM munitions falling randomly like dead hunks of metal (as bombs used to) out of the sky.  Each JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munitions) apparatus on each "smart" bomb, in addition to a GPS receiver, includes an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) which can compute the bomb's falling position fairly accurately with no external inputs whatever.



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