GPS technology was originally designed for military applications during the Cold War in the 1960s and is considered an integral part of the daily operations of the US Air Force today. It relies on multiple applications such as navigation, target tracking, missile and projectile guidance, search and rescue and reconnaissance. However, with the widespread development of jammers designed to disrupt GPS and others Similar systems, these important guidance systems can become unusable at critical times, severely hampering the use of aircraft. In order to prepare for this eventuality, the Air Force is reportedly looking for new methods of research and training.
The Programmable Analog Aircraft On-Board Jammer (SPACE JAM) is such a project. The system was created by Captain David Levene of the US Air Force Test Pilot School's F-15E Weapon System Officer (WSO) as part of his master's thesis project. The system uses an algorithm to integrate realistic GPS. The effect of the wifi jammer is directly injected into the aircraft's navigation system. The hardware used for SPACE JAM is inside the modified AE-4 antenna electronics, which already exist in many military aircraft, including the TPS F-16D aircraft used for this project. SPACE JAM Custom Software Interface Monitoring and Debugging Control (CMDoS) is used to control various interference situations in the cockpit, including the location of interference and signal parameters, such as bandwidth , frequency and power.
The enhanced AE-4 antenna electronics unit is also equipped with a MEMS-level secondary inertial navigation system, which can receive GPS signals upstream of the interference, so that it is not affected, allowing researchers to see the impact of interference.
Levine said, “The jammer is simulated, but the interference is real. "Based on the configurable placement of the Configurable Phone Jammer, this indeed interferes with the aircraft system. The test system can be loaded and run at any time for interference simulation, eliminating the cost, space and planning constraints that exist in traditional GPS interference exercises.
To test the new system, eight flights are planned on the F-16. The first flight took place on September 10, assessing the durability of the material in a high G environment.
Levine said, “The tests that we are currently doing have never been done. "My hope for the future is that every military aircraft will include a navigation system that can be blocked for training purposes. "