Defense sector sustains anti-jam

September 30, 2019  - By

Reversing norm, cedes initiative to civil side

Nowhere is the interest in anti-jamming and anti-spoofing technology higher and more urgent than in the defense and security sectors. Overall, the anti-jamming market is about a tenth the size of the full GNSS market, but that still amounts to a considerable number. It is projected to grow at a slower rate than the overall market, according to one market report, or about 40% of the total GNSS industry pace from 2018 to 2023.

Major growth opportunities stem from high demand for robustness and resistance to enemy technology in military applications. This demand is primarily for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to conduct surveillance, reconnaissance and actual combat. Other demands are for munitions and guided implementations, and low-cost GPS anti-jamming solutions.

Chart: GPS World

Chart: GPS World

While the military market has fueled growth in civil GPS products and services, this trend is being turned on its head.

For instance, U.S. Army light tanks were equipped in quick succession with new iterations of civil anti-jam units.

“[We] asked for exactly what we wanted and industry built exactly to that. We don’t know exactly what we want. Tell us how we should do this the best, and then we’ll test that,” said the acquisition officer in charge. This PNT program may set the mold for future U.S. military development — leaving requirements broad and open to change with the knowledge that technology develops quickly, and can just as quickly be shown to be vulnerable.

Go Small, Go Modernized. Two other key trends exert control over the defense market: the reduction in size, weight and requisite power (SWaP) of hundreds — if not more — of GNSS-dominated navigation and positioning devices installed aboard myriad different military platforms, and the coming need to retrofit all such platforms, not only for SWaP but for the new signals, prime among them M-code, coming with modernized and multi-GNSS.

Commercial activity in this sector is constrained to a degree by International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), administered by different U.S. government departments to ensure that defense-related technology does not fall into adversarial or mischievous hands. Nevertheless, all those involved in defense and security will be very, very busy for several years to come.

Chart: GPS World

Chart: GPS World

This article is tagged with and posted in Defense, From the Magazine

About the Author: Alan Cameron

Alan Cameron is the former editor-at-large of GPS World magazine.