Navigation warfare heats up

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Lockheed Martin Corp. has developed a system to deny U.S. adversaries access to precise location and navigation signals derived from the 24-satellite Global Positioning System under an Air Force-funded "navigation warfare" project.

The GPS satellites broadcast an encoded military signal as well as a noncoded civil signal that provides location and navigation information with a precision of 100 meters or better. Users around the world — including the U.S. Coast Guard — have developed land-based augmentation procedures to the civil GPS signal that provide accuracies raging from five meters to the submillimeter range, leading to concerns by top Pentagon officials that an enemy could easily use GPS to precisely target missiles or "smart" bombs against U.S. forces or targets.

Steve Laab, a business development manager at Lockheed Martin Federal Systems in Owego, N.Y. — speaking here at a press conference at the Association of the United States Army's winter conference — said his company has developed "electronic attack" capabilities for the Air Force, which will "deny adversaries access to GPS." Lockheed demonstrated the GPS anti-jam system at the conference.

Laab added that the company has developed a "programmable waveform L-band [the frequency band used by GPS] signal source" that presumably would knock out any enemy system attempting to use GPS for guidance in time of war. Laab declined to provide any more details of the system because of the classified nature of the electronic attack program.

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