How secure is the ‘free global utility’?
From DoD Buzz:
Air Force Gen. William Shelton, head of Air Force Space Command, disclosed the Pentagon and FAA’s concerns at the Air Force Association winter conference today. Shelton told reporters that an unnamed GPS company had tested its gear and found that LightSquared’s towers built to generate a 4G wireless network completely jammed reception. The FCC recently granted a conditional license to the company to begin building its network using L-band spectrum, “right next to” the GPS signal, Shelton said. The conditional license requires that Light Squared prove it does not jam other signals. The company would operate only in the United States.
The technical problem is that the GPS signal is weak and diffuse as it comes to Earth from satellites and the new technology overwhelms it, the general said. For example, a plane flying near one of the thousands of towers Light Squared plans to build would lose the GPS signal guiding it within 12 miles of a company tower. Since the FAA plans to phase in a GPS-based air traffic control system, that could be disastrous for the nation’s civil aviation. Of course, military aircraft would face the same problems.
Intentional jamming is space warfare. Unintentional jamming is signals fratricide. Both are more dangerous and significant than space weapons…which don’t exist.