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US has bitten off more than it can chew with M-Code, say experts

7th June 2022 - 12:00 GMT | by David Walsh in Washington DC


A US Army soldier uses a GPS receiver. (Photo: US Army)

US military satellites now can broadcast encrypted M-Code, so why do troops lack the receivers to use it?

A modernised military M-Code would be more effective than other tools at securing GPS by resisting adversaries’ jamming, spoofing, misdirection and other EW exploits.

Demand is high for M-Code given its stronger transmission power, broad-spectrum operations and other, classified advantages over Selective Availability Spoofing Module decryption and P(Y) code encryption, to give two examples.

However, the US GAO claimed in a 9 May report that there is a striking imbalance. While 24 of 31 US GPS satellites (described in the report as the ‘aerial sector’) are equipped to broadcast the code, the crucial ‘ground segment’ (control stations and would-be users)

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David Walsh


David Walsh

David Walsh is a cyber and space security writer based in Maryland, US.

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