GPS disruptions are detected using data from space

The Pentagon and many sectors that rely on GPS are challenged by the spread of electronic devices intended to interfere with GPS signals, as interruptions affect every element of operations. One of the issues, according to Rob Rainhart, who works as the chief operating officer (COO) of HawkEye 360, which is a geospatial analytics business that utilizes satellites to track ships, automobiles, and other equipment that generate radio frequency signals, is determining the source of interference and precise location.

HawkEye 360 is among remote sensing satellite providers showcasing their technology this week at the GEOINT Symposium 2021. Rainhart claims that satellite-collected radio-frequency data can aid in the detection of GNSS interference hotspots. Global navigation satellite system (GNSS) refers to any satellite constellation that delivers positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) services.

The company’s satellites, which are equipped with software-defined radios, are organized into three clusters: one in front, one behind, and a third, which oscillates back and forth. At the moment, three clusters are in orbit. HawkEye 360 has informed government and commercial clients concerned about the effect of the GPS disruptions on how to discover interference using RF data analytics, according to Rainhart.

He said the company now has 3 clusters of satellites in orbit and wants to launch more, allowing for a “far more fine-tuned interference tracking toolbox.” He explained, “We’ve engaged in certain studies with foreign partners looking into GNSS interference.” “Customers from all around the world are very interested in the problem.”

The Department of Defense is looking for solutions for detecting GNSS disruptions.

The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), which collaborates with private enterprises, intends to use the increasing availability of data from space and other sources to geolocate GPS interference. In August, the DIU issued a request for proposals on “situational awareness for purposeful GNSS user disturbance.” “Persistent, large-area coverage of faked GNSS transmitters that result in localized spoofing phenomenology,” according to the Department of Defense.

Electronic jamming attacks can prevent GPS signals from being received. Falsified PNT data can also be used to attack GPS users, a practice known as spoofing. “The entire globe relies on GNSS-based systems,” DIU added, “yet the GPS architecture, as well as its users, are subject to manipulation and denial by adverse actors.”

According to Nick Estep, the DIU program manager, the solicitation closed on August 23 and many bids were submitted. The purpose, according to Estep, is to test commercially available data sources, both space-based and terrestrial. “There’s a huge business sector that operates in this area,” he said, “and we’re absolutely intrigued to get into that.”

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