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Experts at the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) agency have developed a software-based tool that can estimate the area where an interfering signal would degrade or deny Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSSs).

GNSSs, such as the US’s Global Positioning System (GPS) or the European Galileo, provide positioning and timing services.

These are vital for NATO operations.

“NATO’s adversaries have the ability to degrade or deny GPS-enabled capabilities, said Jean-Philippe Saulay, a NATO Navigation and Identification Officer.

“NATO must take appropriate measures to ensure Allied forces can operate in a degraded or denied environment,” he added.

With this tool, NATO can assess the scale of an interfering signal and its potential impact on operations.

“NATO must maintain superiority in the electromagnetic environment, including but not limited to, positioning, navigation and timing services,” said Dr Enrico Casini, Communications and Navigation Engineer at the NCI Agency.

He added, “Situational awareness of navigation systems in a contested electromagnetic environment contributes to that superiority.”

Next steps

The Radar Electromagnetic and Communication Coverage Tool (REACT), was sponsored by the NATO Navigation and Identification Programme of Work.

It serves as a proof-of-concept of how analytical tools could support the execution of operations.

The tool is also available to NATO Nations free of charge.

For now, the software is only used for trial and experimentation.

The software and its estimations have been shown to operators during exercise Trident Jupiter 2019 part 1 to collet their feedback on it.

To use the software, operators input information on the particular jammers – their locations and technical characteristics – and the software produces a map of the area where the interfering signals would degrade of deny GNSS receivers.

This can be displayed on the NATO Core Geographical Information System (GIS) map.

The next phase of the project is focused on ensuring the software can work on NATO classified networks.

This would make it more available to operational commands to test and ensure such support measures are properly integrated into NATO operations.

“NATO is enhancing its knowledge of electronic warfare technology, DR Casini said.

“The electromagnetic environment has become even more contested in recent years.”

“One aspect of that is interference with GNSS systems.”