South Korea to build eLoran system after jamming incident

May 3, 2016  - By

South Korea will award a contract this month to secure technology required to build an eLoran system as an alternative to GPS, reports the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC).

The announcement follows South Korea pointing the finger at North Korea for jamming its GPS signal reception in late March.

The South Korean eLoran plan envisions setting up coastal transmitters by the end of 2019, said Seo Ji-won, a government advisory panel member and professor at Yonsei University.

“The need for us is especially high, because of the deliberate signal interference by North Korea,” a South Korean government official told Reuters, as reported by ABC.

The latest jamming campaign from the North began on March 31. According to ABC, the jamming lasted nearly a week and affected signal reception of more than 1,000 aircraft and 700 ships, with the jamming originating from five locations along the border, South Korean officials said.

GPS vulnerability poses security and commercial risks, especially for ships whose crews are not familiar with traditional navigation techniques or using paper charts. Vessels such as fishing boats lack backup electronic navigation systems.

Air traffic was not usually affected because the GPS system is normally used as a backup in South Korea, not a primary navigation tool.

GPS in the United States and Europe could also experience malicious jamming attacks, reinforcing the need for a backup alternative such as eLoran.

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