FAA gearing up for GPS policing

Washington DC
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The US Federal Aviation Administration plans to purchase a portable interference monitoring detection system to help officials in its spectrum engineering services directorate track down and shut down illegal GPS jammer activity.

Personal privacy devices, more commonly referred to as GPS jammers, being used on a highway near the Newark International airport, derailed the rollout of a GPS-based instrument landing system at the airport in late 2009. Continental Airlines at the time had equipped a portion of its fleet with avionics to use the ground-based augmentation system (GBAS) approaches.

After several years of analysis and radio frequency interference (RFI) upgrades to the Honeywell-built ground equipment, United-Continental and the FAA are once again preparing to begin testing GBAS both at Newark and the Houston Intercontinental airport.

The request for a portable interference monitoring detection system (PIMDS) is likely linked to the second attempt of a GBAS roll out at Newark.

In the statement of work for the PIMDS, published on 23 January, the FAA is asking for proposals on a "low profile solution which will, when installed on a vehicle, appear inconspicuous".

Aside from the inconspicuous external antennas, the receiver itself is to weigh 13.6kg (30lb) or less and must fit in a shock-resistant carrying case. For "live mission" operations, the PIMDS must provide on a display the strength of the jammer signal as well as the "most probable" location of the offender on a moving map.

Proposals are due to the FAA by 27 February.