Identifying GNSS Interference Using Machine Learning

GNSS Interference

Improving GPS/GNSS electronic warfare situational awareness for warfighters, intelligence analysts, and safety-of-life applications

Intentional disruption of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signals is a growing global problem that impacts U.S. and allied forces as well as commercial shipping companies. The U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has been looking for ways to identify intentional interference with GNSS signals. Deliberate tactics are becoming common as adversarial nation-states, and criminal networks acquire commercially available jamming and spoofing devices. For example, localized jamming of terrestrial receivers by Russian forces has become commonplace in Crimea since the 2014 conflict, and U.S. forces detected jamming of GPS signals by Russian troops in Ukraine at the start of the invasion, according to reports.

Orbital Insight was recently awarded a contract from DIU to deliver a new solution for identifying intentional GNSS interference and manipulation operations worldwide as part of the Harmonious Rook program. The key program requirement - was to discover GNSS disruptions to include classification of denial and falsified or manipulated GNSS signals that confuses adversaries or obscure illicit activities, presenting a risk to government and commercial operations.

Orbital Insight TerraScope will be one of the key components establishing an end-to-end workflow, starting with persistent, large-area detection and characterization of nefarious GNSS emitters that result in localized spoofing phenomenology and proceeds through to attribution and analysis of the sources of effects. Orbital Insight TerraScope provides an end-to-end platform that encompasses multiple commercially available dataset sources, algorithms, and a user interface to detect GNSS interference. The platform will enable detection, pattern-of-life, mapping, effect on the user equipment, and interference history of GNSS disruptions to support PNT analysts.

Terrascope diagram

Available as a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) cloud-based application, TerraScope can provide a safety-of-operations, common operating picture that projects a near-real-time assessment of GNSS disruptions in a region of interest for analysts and operators. Harmonious Rook is effectively a PNT layer within an already powerful geospatial analytics tool, the TerraScope platform. The platform is purpose-built to deliver near real-time insights from location and earth observation data. The platform aggregates data from the world’s sensors, such as satellite, aerial, Mobile GPS, Ship GPS, and IoT devices, and extracts insights using a library of pre-defined analysis. It enables professionals in the Defense, Intelligence, and law enforcement community to analyze economic, military, and security trends at scale. Orbital Insight offers a flexible platform infused with AI and Machine Learning to let analysts query the planet and hunt for insights to be displayed visually or delivered through an API. 

The platform provides answers to many mission-critical questions on a daily basis:

  • Is there military troop movement? 
  • How many ships are waiting at ports? 
  • Have any railcars, cars, or vehicles arrived at a location? 
  • How many foreign military aircraft appear at an airbase?

This September, several Orbital Insight Federal team members joined DIU to support the U.S. Army 1st Armored Division’s Command Post Exercise (CPX) at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, California to test technologies developed through the Harmonious Rook program. The exercise focused on large-scale combat operations (LSCO). It stressed the division headquarters’ ability to deploy to an austere location and command and control its units utilizing a synthetic training environment.

National Training Center NTC Fort Irwin California

“Mapping GPS disruptions and contextualizing patterns of behavior are key to mitigating the effects of degraded PNT as well as enabling safety of navigation under such conditions,” said Lt. Col. Nicholas Estep, Harmonious Rook program manager, USAF. “Instead of developing, building, and deploying hardware tailored for collection of navigation warfare operations, we are accessing currently available commercial data and analytics to address the need for PNT situational awareness.

National Training Center Fort Irwin NTC CA 2

“While the Army works diligently to acquire relevant equipment to assist in the real-time recognition and characterization of potential adversary interference, we must leverage non-organic, commercially available software and equipment, like Harmonious Rook, as a stopgap to increase awareness, seize digital key terrain and maximize lethality,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Jones of 1st Armored Division’s Space Support Element (SSE). 

Orbital Insight is proud to support this critical initiative, and we look forward to more collaboration opportunities. 

“Effort sponsored by the U.S. Government under Other Transaction number HQ0845-22-9-0002 between Orbital Insight, Inc. and the Government. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Governmental purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation thereon.” 

“The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Government.”