Air May Take the Place of Space for Navigation

November 4, 2011
By Robert K. Ackerman
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An airborne network may be the safety net for navigation if the global positioning system (GPS) goes down from cyberattacks or kinetic action. The Joint Aerial Layer Network, which would link aircraft from all the services in battlespace operations, could fill in for precision location and timing if GPS data is denied, said the U.S. Air Force chief information officer (CIO). Lt. Gen. William T. Lord, USAF, told the closing keynote luncheon audience at TechNet Asia-Pacific 2011 in Honolulu that the military must plan for the possibility that the advanced information technologies that underpin the force might be interrupted or denied during warfighting. "While we're so deeply embedded in this technology, we still have to remember how to write in grease pencil in Plexiglas," he analogized. "What do you do when you don't have the ubiquitous wireless device in your hand? How do we continue to fight? We have to make sure of that." Gen. Lord related that the U.S. Army and Navy have joined the Air Force in examining how the Joint Aerial Layer Network could substitute for GPS if signals from the space-based system are lost. Experts believe that the aerial network might be able to take up some of that slack for a limited period of time.

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