What are these four alternatives to GPS positioning that armies are developing around the world?

Throughout history, communication and navigation have been at the heart of military maneuver, in order to coordinate the action and movement of distant units. From summary maps, sound signals and flags used since Antiquity, armies have evolved towards increasingly efficient and precise systems, capable of bringing about the expected effect at the desired moment, and thus multiplying the effect. 'efficiency.

In the field of navigation, the invention of the Global Positioning System, or GPS, in the early 70s, based on a position signal triangulated from at least 4 satellites moving 20 km above the earth, and on the precision of the new atomic clocks, represented a considerable revolution in the conduct of military actions initially, then in the emergence of precision weapons also employing this signal to reach their target with metric precision.

As GPS positioning has become a key component for armies, it was predictable that other countries, or groups of countries, would also develop similar solutions. But also that everyone would try to deprive the adversary of this signal, and of its precision.

GPS has established itself in many military fields

This was the case of the Russian GLONASS system which entered service in the mid-90s, the Chinese BeiDou system in the early 2000s, as well as the European Galileo system from the mid-2010s.

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Russia has developed a wide range of systems aimed at jamming or drifting (we speak of spoofing) the GPS signal

Indeed, controlling all technologies, and in particular the satellites themselves, allows their owner, and therefore their armies, to restrict their use or precision for other operators, or even to use variations that are more precise and more resistant to jamming, as is the case with the GPS signal used by the American armed forces and their 5 Eyes allies.

Above all, many of these countries undertook to develop capabilities aimed at depriving the adversary of the use of their own systems. China, and more so Russia, have thus developed several technologies to obscure a given space for the GPS signal through the use of intense electromagnetic jamming, but also to reduce its precision, by using parasitic signals causing receiver drift. , this can be counted in kilometers. This is called spoofing.

If, as previously mentioned, the United States has developed variations of the GPS signal that are more resistant to jamming and spoofing, secondary users are, as a general rule, not equipped with them.

This explains, in particular, the reports indicating a certain lack of effectiveness of the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bombs or GLSDB rockets used by the Ukrainians in recent months, which exploit, in the version transmitted to Kyiv, a version of GPS, less resilient to jamming and spoofing than those used in the weapons systems of the American armies. It is unknown, however, whether this resistance is sufficient to overcome Russian or Chinese jamming.

Tornado navigation cockpit scaled Guidance systems | United States | Russian Federation
When it entered service, the Panavia Tornado had a very efficient navigation system combining an inertial unit, a terrain following radar and an automatic map scrolling system, allowing the aircraft to operate at very low speed. altitude and high speed with low visibility.

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