Former US Federal Aviation Administration chief Langhorne Bond has proposed a legal framework for provision and use of global navigation satellite services (GNSS)

Speaking in Washington DC, Bond said legislation is needed because the increasing dependence on GNSS raises the spectre that a service provider "...could throw a switch and wreck the economies of other nations."

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) established a study group in October, to consider a multi-lateral treaty setting out the rights and obligations of GNSS providers and users, but Bond is proposing a simpler GNSS safety and sovereignty convention.

Bond is an acknowledged sceptic concerning GNSS capabilities, and the major feature of his proposed treaty is that users should accept that GNSS signals "...are subject to interruptions that cannot all be controlled...All stakeholders must therefore provide an alternative, dissimilar source for positioning and timing...And all GNSS users must assume the full risk of loss [of the signal]."

The proposed treaty would require a provider to promise continuous availability of the GNSS signal, with specified exceptions. "The treaty would list the specific causes for which the provider is entitled to withdraw or alter the signal," he said.

Military causes are to be expected, but withdrawal of the signal for economic sanctions "...will be controversial".

Source: Flight International