As GPS becomes questionable, backups in commo and nav afoot

Quartermaster 1st Class John Lenson, assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82), peers through a marine sextant, a navigational instrument used to determine celestial navigation. Lassen is deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility supporting law enforcement operations as part of Operation Martillo. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Huey D. Younger Jr./Released)

There are a lot of interesting things going on when it comes to GPS systems and their use.

The Global Positioning System (GPS), originally Navstar GPS, is operated and maintained by the U.S. Air Force and is a series of 24 satellites in orbit‎ that helps find things down to about 5m. Set up in the late 1970s, China (BNSS), India (NAVIC), the EU (Galileo), Russia (GLONASS) and Japan (Zenith) have likewise set up their own systems to assist their own needs.

Long the gold standard for land and sea nav, GPS has replaced Loran and Omega systems as well as in many cases traditional celestial navigation and good old compass/map based land nav as well. I mean why not, you can buy a GPS system for sub-$100 these days.

From an article in Maritime Executive, MARAD found about ships operating in and around the Black Sea have observed cases of GPS spoofing. These included cases of lost signals and “For few days, GPS gave a position inland (near Gelendyhik aiport) but vessel was actually drifting more than 25 NM from it.”

Some 20 vessels reported problems. Last year, the Norks jammed GPS in the DMZ.

This comes as the Navy has returned celestial navigation (CELNAV) courses to the Naval Academy’s curriculum (NROTC dropped it in 2000, USNA in 2006).

Further, an improved radio-nav system known as eLoran is making in-roads in navigational support with the Coast Guard being the proposed recipient of $200 million in funding to help muscle it up.

Meanwhile, the Navy, in particular Guam-based CTF-75, has been testing HF systems in the case of satellite communication failure, recently sending broadcast voice and data 6,050 miles from Naval Base Guam to Port Hueneme on the West Coast via radio.

It seems like everything old is new again.

I’m just waiting on the seaplanes and battleships to come back.

With that, let’s roll this 1971 CELNAV training film for those who want some naptime.

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

2 responses to “As GPS becomes questionable, backups in commo and nav afoot”

  1. sam57l0 says :

    https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsOne must be ready for the possibility that one’s batteries will die, or enemy action occurs, and be prepared with map and compass or sextant and compass or other non-electronic methods.

  2. Iron City says :

    https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsYou only scratched the surface on GPS and LORAN. A good place to get a quick education on many radio navigation systems in the US is the Federal Radionavigation Plan helpfully posted on the USCG Navigation Center web site.

    There are lots of GPS spoofing and jamming resources like personal privacy jammers and radar detectors. And LORAN is not a magic bullet because there aren’t any. LORAN stations cost the earth to build and maintain (those big towers alone aren’t cheap) and the user equipment is not nearly as available as GPS.

    But a variety of means of navigation seems best, they can’t jam, spoof, eliminate everything.

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