Aircraft-Embedded GPS Injection Jammer for Aircrew Training
Aircraft-Embedded GPS Injection Jammer for Aircrew Training - 27 Oct 2014
Research video by Capt David Levene
My name is Capt David Lavine. I am an F-15E experimental test weapons systems officer and I’m an Air Force Institute of Technology master’s student and my thesis is the Simulated Programmable Aircraft Embedded Jammer, also known as SPACEJAM. It’s an embedded GPS jammer for use in testing and training in combat aircraft. Essentially the way it works, is you can go in a mission planning computer and basically drop anywhere you want geographically GPS jammers of any parameters that you’d like to put out there. So any system that can basically jam a GPS or can put a signal out there that can interfere with the GPS signal, you can put in this simulated geography. That system—that scenario that you created with those jammers—gets loaded into SPACEJAM. And as you’re flying around, SPACEJAM actually reacts to the real-time position and attitude of the aircraft, determines what the effects of those jammers would be on the aircraft, and creates a real jamming signal that equals the effects of that jamming and then injects it into the aircraft. The nice part about that is that the systems in the aircraft are forced to respond the way they would really respond in a real jamming situation. So you’re not simply seeing the effects of jamming, you’re seeing what the aircraft would do in real jamming. Basically what’s happening here is the system right now (SPACEJAM) thinks, because of what we’ve told it for this demonstration, that there is a jammer that’s off to its left-hand side. So if this were mounted in the aircraft system, what I could do is…I could actually turn the aircraft, so I’ll roll the aircraft to the left right now, and as you can see as I roll to the left, that peak gets higher. It increases because the system is saying, “OK, whatever you’ve done here with the system, you have caused those jamming effects to increase; you have raised the effect of that jamming on the aircraft.” If I roll to the right away from the jammer, as you can see, that peak starts to shrink and the shape of it changes and that’s because the effects are getting smaller in this case as the SPACEJAM system detects that the aircraft is moving. When someone denies your ability to use one component of your aircraft or one component of your weapons system, we need to (as an Air Force) be prepared to be able to operate and to employ that aircraft without those systems. I would say that losing GPS is similar to losing a radar or losing any other system on the jet. It’s something that you need to be trained to do. It’s something you need to be ready to overcome. Those are very, very important things to be able to train for, especially in a modern age where people and adversaries may actually try to deny things like that from us. This program really started with a bunch of equations on a sheet of paper and looking up some books and trying to figure out: how do I go about creating jamming effects? How do I go about figuring out what this thing should do? Watching the progress it’s made as that has turned itself into a real piece of hardware that goes into an F-16…it’s something that I’m incredibly proud of—that I was able to be a part of that and have such an important role in a project like that. But it’s also amazing that as an Air Force, we can do that. We really can take a concept—a sort of technology demonstration or a proof of concept—and get that in an aircraft ready to fly with very successful results in a very short period of time.