The October announcement by Raytheon that it had won a Department of Defense contract–potentially worth $25 million–to develop next-generation anti-jamming systems for GPS underlines security specialists’ concern that GPS is now “an attractive target” for terrorists.
At press time, technical experts from the FAA, the U.S. Coast Guard and researchers from Ohio and Stanford Universities were due to begin a two-week flight-test program in Alaska to assess the use of loran transmitters to send out GPS WAAS messages across the state.
Having secured solid footing in GA markets, Garmin announced it is introducing a new 16-watt com version of its GNC 420, GNS 430 and GNS 530 moving-map navcoms, now designated as “A” models. The new configuration will allow the units to transmit and receive at higher altitudes, a feature Garmin expects to entice more buyers from the corporate ranks.
The FAA is preparing publication of the first LPV (lateral precision with vertical guidance) approaches, a new type of precision approach procedure designed specifically for WAAS. The hallmarks of LPV are lower landing minimums than Lnav/Vnav (250 ft and three-quarters of a mile visibility) and signals that are compatible only with IFR-approved WAAS receivers.
The Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) successfully passed a critical 60-day test that prime contractor Raytheon said proves the reliability of the signals for ILS-like approach procedures to thousands of airports not served by precision instrument approaches.
At press time, the FAA’s GPS local-area augmentation system (LAAS) appeared to be hanging in the balance while agency officials were attempting to determine whether there really was a firm industry need for the system.
In late summer, Jeff Williams, manager of the FAA’s newly established required navigation performance (RNP) program office, briefed a government/industry specialist group on the agency’s implementation for a nationwide public RNP plan.
After extensive industry consultation, the FAA has recently completed a document outlining its proposed strategy for transition from today’s terrestrial navaids to GPS, including proposed procedures to minimize the effect of GPS jamming.
Navstar, the official U.S. Air Force program moniker for the constellation of satellites most of us refer to simply as GPS, has undergone a multitude of technical changes and upgrades in the nearly 30 years since a group of military and civil engineers first sat down in the Pentagon to talk about the far-reaching precision navigation concept.
The FAA’s original plan to transition to sole-means GPS is no longer practical and some form of backup will be required for the foreseeable future, according to speakers at a recent Navigation Industry Day. This event was sponsored by the DOT, FAA and Civil Aviation Advanced Systems Development (CAASD), which is a component of the federally-funded MITRE research and development center and a key FAA think-tank resource.