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AgilLOC antenna element combats GNSS jamming at sea

Photo: ST Engineering

Photo: ST Engineering

With the proliferation of jamming devices readily available, maritime vessels need to be situationally aware of GNSS interference and disruption. The threat of GNSS jamming is made even more critical in situations that require navigation through narrow straits under poor visibility, with no sea lane markers in sight.

Case in point being the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which was seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards while sailing through the Strait of Hormuz. Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps stated that Stena Impero had taken a wrong route when entering the Strait of Hormuz.

This happened during a time when an advisory warning by the U.S Maritime Administration had already been released, stating that vessels operating in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman may encounter GPS interference, bridge-to-bridge communications spoofing or other communications jamming with little to no warning.

This episode could have been avoided if better awareness of the navigation system was employed.

Jamming protection at sea. ST Engineering has developed AgilLOC Antenna Element Compact (AEC), which provides GNSS protection against three simultaneous jamming/interference sources with its adaptive nulling algorithm for the maritime sector, ensuring continuous GNSS protection to connected systems.

AgilLOC AEC was designed for easy integration with new or existing legacy systems that required uninterrupted GNSS reception. Despite its lightweight and compact design, AgilLOC AEC provides a robust response to narrow and wideband interference, the company said.

When disruption happens. In a disruption, the crew onboard can only rely on radar or cross bearings using compass, terrestrial radio navigation or even sextants.

The loss of GNSS input to the ship’s surface search radar, gyro units and electronic chart display and information system (ECDIS) will result in a lack of GNSS data for position fixing, radar over ground speed inputs, gyro speed input as well as the loss of collision avoidance capabilities on the ECDIS radar display. It is imperative that all ship’s crew are aware of the status of their GNSS reception.

Many GNSS receivers currently installed onboard vessels do not provide for jamming monitoring or mitigation. Deliberate or unintentional GNSS inference are becoming more prevalent, increasing the risk of receivers being overwhelmed by elevated levels of interferences.

Satellite navigation is essential for all maritime applications under all weather conditions. The AgilLOC AEC protects the GNSS signals for a smooth navigation and precision landing alongside with other navigational systems.

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