Lawmakers concerned China may hack, disrupt US military satellite networks

What if a drone-launched, precision-guided Hellfire missile or fighter-jet air-dropped bomb was heading directly toward a designated enemy target, but it was disabled or its trajectory was suddenly jammed, altered or thrown off-course? Even worse, what if its flight path were sabotaged, taken over, or directed toward a friendly target?

Or imagine a dismounted infantry unit is navigating rigorous, uneven terrain while under enemy fire, when their hand-held GPS location device showing friendly and enemy troop locations was cut off or fed false information?

While there naturally continue to be ongoing efforts to “harden” GPS signals against enemy interference, these types of concerning scenarios may become even more likely to take place under one dangerous scenario. The problem is what would happen if a firm’s emerging 5G network is permitted to further mature into American and U.S.-allied markets for GPS-types of networking technology.

For example, a U.S.-based private sector firm by the name of Ligado is advancing a terrestrial 5G type network that may be much stronger, faster and more efficient than current GPS technology when it comes to location, navigational, networking and targeting data, among other things. However, not only is there debate regarding whether it may be a suitable alternative to GPS, but using the network could simply break up or interfere with GPS, forcing current GPS networks to be retrofitted, adjusted or replaced, according to U.S. government officials familiar with the technology.

“If Ligado’s system is allowed to broadcast, it breaks up GPS and those devices that use GPS have to be retrofitted,” a senior U.S. government official told Warrior. “Ligado uses a 10-watt signal, which is stronger than GPS. It generates too much extra energy and overloads a lot of the GPS receivers and interferes with GPS chips.”

Ligado’s terrestrial wideband wireless transmitters operate at 10 watts. They are stronger and closer-in than space-based GPS signals which weaken on their way to earth. Therefore, the introduction of Ligado could, according to technical experts and senior U.S. military observers, cause serious problems for U.S. military networks.

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Source: Fox News