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Getting out of a jam

Ship & Boat International: eNews November/December 2018

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Ship positioning technology specialist Veripos has released a new anti-jamming antenna, which has been produced to protect offshore oil and gas operators from denial-of-GPS attacks. These attacks can be conducted deliberately by ‘jammers’, seeking to overpower the satellite signals used by GPS to determine vessel location.

 

Monikered the Veripos GAJT-710-MS, the antenna has been designed for deployment in harsh marine territories, having originally been developed to protect the defence sector from the effects of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) jamming and spoofing. Veripos, which provides GNSS systems to the marine sector, is now targeting the offshore segment in response to what it perceives as “growing threats” posed by jamming and interference - which, Veripos says, “can cause major delays in projects and impact vessel, operational and crew safety.”

 

“Interference is something that has always been a problem in the offshore environment, due to the amount of radio frequency [RF] systems that are installed on vessels,” Veripos tells Ship & Boat International. Much of this interference is unintentional: for instance, a vessel’s GNSS can be affected by other GNSS or navigation systems, as well as microwave-/satellite-relayed data communications, radar and so on. “The causes are often due to poor installation and degradation of cabling over time,” Veripos adds.

 

Alternatively, some interference can be deliberate and malicious, requiring the use of specific jamming equipment. Sometimes, the offshore asset may not even be the direct target of the jammer(s). “We’re seeing more reported instances of intentional interference caused by jammers which can be deployed near conflict zones – such as the Eastern Mediterranean – or when military vessels are in the vicinity,” Veripos claims.

 

Explaining how the Veripos GAJT-710MS works in practice, the company adds: “The system mitigates interference by creating nulls in the antenna gain pattern in the direction of the jammers. This preserves the antenna’s view of the GPS satellites while ignoring jammers, ensuring the satellite signals required to compute precise position remain available.”

 

When it comes to physical set-up, this would mostly be dependent on the customer’s specific criteria, Veripos adds. “Most of our clients have multiple systems installed, to provide redundancy, and they would ensure that one of the systems is protected by the Veripos GAJT antenna,” the company says.

 

 

 

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