NBAA, AOPA Seek Briefing On DOD’s Intentional GPS Jamming Exercises

Credit: U.S. Government

Two industry trade groups are concerned that general aviation and business aircraft operators continue to deal with issues related to the intentional jamming of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) for defense exercises and have asked the Department of Defense and the FAA for a briefing.  

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) sent a letter to the DOD and the FAA regarding a 2018 RTCA Tactical Operations Committee industry report, saying the groups recognize the importance of the training, including the need to simulate the loss of GPS. But the National Air Service has increasingly become reliant on GPS as the primary source of navigation and aircraft system functions while reducing ground-based navigational backup infrastructure. 

In March 2018, the RTCA Tactical Operations Committee, upon request by the FAA, delivered a report with more than 24 detailed recommendations to help minimize the operational impact of the jamming. 

 But the frequency and impacts of the jamming have continued to grow significantly, NBAA and AOPA said in the letter. That growth is expected to continue.

At the same time, general aviation activity and volume continues to expand, and in recent months operators have continued to report operational impacts and reduced access to airspace and airports from the intentional GPS jamming. 

In the past few weeks, concerns relating to access to Friedman Municipal Airport in Hailey, Idaho, have showcased the need for further engagement on how to ensure the processes and mitigations are in place to allow access to airports and airspace during jamming events, the letter said. 

“While the RTCA report provided many suggested mitigations and recommendations about protocol to reduce the operational impact on civilian operations, the industry has yet to receive any feedback from the agencies on the disposition of those proposed mitigations,” the letter said. NBAA and AOPA are seeking a detailed briefing and status update. “We look forward to hearing more on the status and updates on this important issue.” 

Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.