Military Applications of GPS Essay

Military Applications of GPS Essay

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The Global Positioning System (GPS) provides numerous benefits to people across the globe. Vehicle manufacturers use the system for navigation in their cars, cell-phones use GPS to triangulate the user’s location, and certain applications use the system to track workouts. There are, however, numerous military applications for GPS. Aircraft use it for guidance, naval vessels use it to traverse the ocean, soldiers track each other on the ground with it, and guided bombs use it to strike within feet of their target. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 specifically prohibited the placement of nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction in space. While GPS is neither of these, it is a weapon system that is vital to our national security. This research paper will analyze the history of GPS, military applications of GPS, threats and vulnerabilities to the GPS system, and its future uses as a weapon system.
HISTORY OF GPS
While GPS satellites are launched, operated, and maintained by U.S. Air Force personnel, the idea for a navigation system began with the U.S. Navy. As Russia won the space race by putting Sputnik into orbit, George Weiffenbach and William Guier, from the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at Johns Hopkins University determined that they could locate Sputnik at any position within its orbit. They were able to do this by monitoring the Doppler shift of Sputnik’s signal as it traveled through space. With this in mind, the two determined that if they could see the Doppler shift, so could a sensor here on Earth. That information can then be turned into navigational data. The two then went to work inside APL developing a system for the U.S. Navy called Transit. Transit, also known as the Navy Navigation Satellite Sy...


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...nt Gps Launch Vehicle Tracked with Gps Rather Than Radar.” The American Surveyor Website. May 20, 2014. Accessed May 28, 2014. http://www.amerisurv.com/content/view/12658/.

Air Force Website. “Mq-9 Reaper.” August 18, 2010. Accessed May 29, 2014. http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/Display/tabid/224/Article/104470/mq-9-reaper.aspx.

Wilson, J.R. “Electronic Warfare: The Cat-and-mouse Game Continues.” Military and Aerospace Website. September 9, 2013. Accessed May 29, 2014. http://www.militaryaerospace.com/articles/print/volume-24/issue-9/special-report/electronic-warfare-the-cat-and-mouse-game-continues.html.

Everstine, Brian “Pilots Shut Off Gps, Other Tools to Train for Future Wars.” Air Force Times Website. October 17, 2013. Accessed May 29, 2014. http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20131017/NEWS04/310170007/Pilots-shut-off-GPS-other-tools-train-future-wars.


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