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Airtext Unveils 'Spoof-Proofing'

GPS Signal Integrity No Longer a Given in Our Brave New World

Send Solutions brought out their Spoof Proof Airtext+ product line, capping off "extensive research and development efforts" with an independently created, secure GPS receiver.

The threat of GPS spoofing hasn't yet caught on too deeply in the industry, but it's one of the more troubling new-tech concerns for those aware of how fast state-of-the-art can move. A successful spoof returns inaccurate position information to an aircraft in flight, making the GPS installed aboard the aircraft hallucinate a totally incorrect position for itself. Needless to say, it represents an insane level of threat to complacent aircrews - particularly for those who have come up in an industry blessed with ironclad GPS signal integrity. Generally, only an aircraft with a very sharp paper-map pilot or an active inertial navigation unit could be fairly safe from being scrambled in the air, but Send Solutions says the newest version of Airtext+ offers a comprehensive solution.

When affected by suspected spoofing signals, the Airtext+ provides immediate crew notification, automatic ground reporting, and a flight deck map of non-spoofed location aids. A constant monitor of GPS position integrity uses a combination of GNSS hardware and algorithmic analysis, checking "3x the current GPS navigation satellites" to detect a spoofed signal before it is accepted into the datastream as fact. If such an event is encountered, the Airtext+ module notifies the crew to take immediate action to minimize corruption of the FMS, or hybrid aircraft position. It transmits a message to ground controllers and dispatchers via the Iridium satellite network, conveying the nature of the event and any other useful info it has available. From there, it offers a "high resolution dead reckoning position that can be input into the aircraft navigation system determined from the last known qualified position prior to the jamming event." Should Airtext+ find qualified, trustworthy GNSS signals again, it can return to standard operation. 

Send Solutions points out that the issue has already made its way home - GPS spoofing is no longer a rare problem encountered by unlucky crews flying near Iranian airspace. So far the FAA has recorded spoofing attempts in Texas, Colorado, and Idaho, a trend that won't let up with more internet attention to the widespread hassles it can cause. Airtext+ is being tested on a trio of Part 25 aircraft, including a Falcon 900, Citation X, and LearJet 60. The system can be ordered today, for shipment in April.



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