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FAA Fumbled Response to GPS Interference

It is not widely known that the US Military regularly jams GPS for testing purposes.  This jamming can cause issues with commercial and private aircraft.  The IEEE Spectrum investigated the jamming and discovered that the jamming tests are occurring more frequently than previously thought.  Recently, in March and April of 2020, controllers at the Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control filed reports with the FAA.  Controllers can ask the Military to stop the jamming, but the compliant allege the FAA denied these request. 

“Aircraft are greatly affected by the GPS jamming and it’s not taken seriously by management,” reads one report. “We’ve been told we can’t ask to stop jamming, and to just put everyone on headings.”

The article continues with further examples of reports filed where intentional GPS caused issues with pilots and aircraft flight management.   If military lead GPS jamming is causes problems for the FAA, nefarious GPS jamming could cause issue elsewhere.  These issues highlight the need to provide resilient ground based navigation so GPS jamming will not cause flight interruptions. 

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