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Entitled “Radio Navigation Development Plan for Participating Commonwealth of Independent States for 2019 to 2024,” a Russian plan signed on Oct. 25, 2019 has been recently made available on the internet. The five-year radio navigation plan focuses on countering spoofing threats for Russia’s citizens and military forces. The plan was agreed to by representatives from 11 nations.
It was Russia’s significant concern with disruption of signals from Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as GPS and its GLONASS (Russian), is clear. The plan shows how Russia — and its allies — are making users safer by integrating space and terrestrial systems into a more robust and resilient positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) architecture.
It also confirms a mobile terrestrial PNT capability, likely for military use, that has received little public attention.
Russia regularly jams GPS signals in northern Scandinavia. The government often “spoofs” receivers in Moscow and elsewhere into thinking they are tens of kilometers from their true location. In addition to jamming NATO exercises and spoofing GPS receivers to protect VIPs, Moscow also claims it added GPS jammers to over 250,000 domestic cell towers to help defeat U.S. cruise missiles should they attack.
It is no wonder, then, that Russia’s radionavigation plan states that “intentional and unintentional interference represent the greatest threat” to users. The plan lists 13 operational electronic systems like radars and TV channels that can unintentionally degrade GNSS reception, according to c4isrnet.com.
Among the recommendations to counter this threat are establishing a system to monitor GNSS frequencies for disruptions and use of both America’s GPS and Russia’s GLONASS satellite systems.
The most effective method, though, is seen as simultaneous use of space and terrestrial systems like Loran (Seagull, Russian terrestrial radio navigation system).
There is some indication that these systems have already been incorporated into some “consumer equipment.” The plan also says that at least one version of Seagull/Loran is being modernized.
In addition to Loran and GNSS being dissimilar and good complements for each other, the plan outlines ways Russia is using the two systems to support each other. Differential corrections sent by Loran transmitters improve the accuracy of GLONASS, GPS and other space-based systems.
Some of the advantages listed in the plan are coverage of a large area per transmitter (600- 2,200 km) at relatively low cost, improved channel up time and availability, data transmission in urban and mountainous areas, and that both Loran and GNSS are needed to ensure users have PNT.