Combating GNSS Jamming at Sea

The maritime sector is a huge driving force in our global economy, with safety-critical users such as merchant ships and ports relying heavily on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) for a vast array of applications. GNSS serves as the primary source of Position, Navigation and Time (PNT) across domains and applications, it provides essential services for logistical solutions and civil protection operations. With the proliferation of jamming devices readily available, maritime vessels need to be situationally aware of GNSS interference and disruption. The threat of GNSS is made even more critical in situations that require navigation through narrow straits under poor visibility, with no sea lane markers in sight.

Case in point being the British-flagged oil tanker, Stena Impero, which was seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards while sailing through the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps stated that Stena Impero had taken a wrong route when entering the Strait of Hormuz.1 This happened during a time when an advisory warning by the U.S Maritime Administration had already been released, highlighting that vessels operating in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman may encounter GPS interference, bridge-to-bridge communications spoofing, and/or other communications jamming with little to no warning.2 Suffice to say, this episode could have been avoided if better awareness of the navigation system was employed.

In a disruption, the crew onboard can only rely on radar or cross bearings using compass, terrestrial radio navigation or even sextants. The loss of GNSS input to the ship’s Surface Search Radar, Gyro Units and Electronic Chart Display & Information System (ECDIS) will result in a lack of GNSS data for position fixing, radar over ground speed inputs, gyro speed input as well as the loss of collision avoidance capabilities on the ECDIS radar display. It is imperative that all ship’s crew are aware of the status of their GNSS reception.

Many GNSS receivers that are currently installed onboard vessels do not provide for jamming monitoring or mitigation. Deliberate or unintentional GNSS inference are becoming more prevalent, increasing the risk of receivers being overwhelmed by elevated levels of interference.

In order to mitigate and combat these challenges, we have developed a GNSS protection against three simultaneous jamming/interference sources with its adaptive nulling algorithm for the maritime sector, ensuring continuous GNSS protection to connected systems. The Anti-Jam Antenna was designed for easy integration with new or existing legacy systems that required uninterrupted GNSS reception. Despite its lightweight and compact design, the system provides robust response to narrow and wideband interference.

Satellite navigation is essential for all maritime applications under all weather conditions. Safeguarding GNSS signals for a smooth navigation and precision landing is crucial alongside other navigational systems.

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