GPS Systems Fuel a New Global Arms Race – Who Will Win?

  • It is predicted by the year 2022 the number will quadruple to 7 billion devices dependencies on GPS technology.
  • The GPS III new phase will be eight times harder for an enemy to “silence,” including additional channels to contact other satellites.
  • The global arms race using quantum applications is on and it will open new multidimensional warfare applications.

GPS systems are probably the most critical systems in the world for modern logistics, industrial, and military operations. The on-demand world requires GPS to deliver up-to-date location and tracking services. They also offer the ability for smart weapons to hit their designated targets while limiting collateral damage.

GPS III (Global Positioning System III) is a military communication satellite designed and being manufactured by Lockheed Martin Space Systems (LMSS) for the United States Air Force (USAF).

Whoever controls GPS systems controls the world

Currently, there are over 2 billion devices depending on the GPS signal. It is predicted by the year 2022 the number will quadruple to 7 billion devices dependencies on GPS technology. The same system is being used by the American military. Interest increased after 2014 during Russia’ utilization of the radio electronic warfare in Donbass and their ability to change and silence GPS signals in the region.

During the war in Syria, it was discovered that Russia is capable of intercepting enemy drone control in the Black Sea region using GPS satellites and embedded technology. There have also been reports of constant signal loss and unusual behavior via GPS in the Black Sea on the maritime trade ships traveling through the area.

Nevertheless, the United States military is in the process of GPS satellite upgrades via General Dynamics (subcontractor of the Lockheed Martin). The contract value is $10 billion. The GPS III new phase will be eight times harder for an enemy to “silence,” including additional channels to contact other satellites. It is expected to be in rotation by the year 2026.

Satellite systems, communications, positioning systems, navigation and PNT (Positioning, Navigation, and Timing) and meteorological capabilities– they are all key factors for the effective functioning of the next generation military.

PNT elaboration

Moreover, PNT and meteorological capabilities are key factors for the effective improvement of the U.S. military. The cyber operations and drones are integral tools in military operations at present and for the future.

Any GPS failure would incapacitate the use of “smart ammunition” by the US military, including making it more difficult for orientation and maneuvering. GPS failure would also put smartphones, airplane navigation, maritime and emergency services out of sync.

PNT is a combination of three distinct, constituent capabilities: Positioning, the ability to accurately and precisely determine one’s location and orientation two-dimensionally (or three-dimensionally when required) referenced to a standard geodetic system (such as World Geodetic System 1984, or WGS84); Navigation, the ability to determine current and desired position (relative or absolute) and apply corrections to course, orientation, and speed to attain a desired position anywhere around the world, from sub-surface to surface and from surface to space; and Timing, the ability to acquire and maintain accurate and precise time from a standard (Coordinated Universal Time, or UTC), anywhere in the world and within user-defined timeliness parameters. Timing also includes time transfer.

The U.S. military alone uses thousands of systems that depend on the Navigation and PNT support system.

Last year the United States Defense Information Systems Agency awarded VSAT a contract to provide in flight and broadband connectivity services.

NATO will also be using the same provider for their changes to ground alliance infrastructure for the new satellite based communication platform that also: allows a wider range for the battlefield; expands the number of users; and changes the configuration of the satellite communications in real time.

The U.S. delivered a prototype earlier this year with an Enhanced Link Navigation System (ELNS) that provides guidance when GPS signals are contested by countermeasures. Its design is meant to replace GPS navigation functions in a multitude of environments. The prototype was development and design by CTSi in partnership with L3 Technologies.

DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is testing parachute systems using robotics without reliance on GPS. The technology will communicate between other devices using a strong signal over short distances– which will be very hard to silence and deactivate. The chain will allow tanks to understand their location. The capabilities are possible by having on the ground receptors, allowing them to duplicate and replace communications based on satellites. The system will prevent an enemy from blocking or hacking into the system. The reliance on AI (Artificial Intelligence) will allow for modifications and bug fixes in real (or a very short amount of) time.

Images :Kyriakos Ioannou

There is also renewed interest in the ressurection of the old Loran-C technology used during World War II. Loran-C was a hyperbolic radio navigation, allowing the receiver to understand its position by listening to low frequency radio signals transmitted by fixed land-based radio beacons. E-Loran PNT technology is also more accurate.

Quantum teleporting is in the works to establish source methods of communications and to synchronize military systems in the battlefield. A quantum computer is any device for computation. It makes use of distinctively quantum mechanical phenomena, using superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data.

MIT is the developer of the theory for the underpinning quantum radar. Once it is in use, the device will be deployed and will another component of the stealth technology.

researchgate.org

The original work is from MIT professor Seth Lloyd’s Enhanced Sensitivity of Photodetection via Quantum Illumination that paved the way for this technology application for the military defense sector.

At the end of last year China’ Electronics Technology Group Corporation announced they have developed a prototype radar, which can possibly detect stealth aircraft in flight and the technology is based on quantum physics.

In Canada, the University of Waterloo is working on a machine that generates pairs of photons; whilst the particles of light share a single quantum state, a change in one photon, gives influence on the state of another even if separated.

The global arms race using quantum applications is on and it will open new multidimensional warfare applications. The U.S. is currently the leader. Who will win this race?

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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