Electronic Weapons: April 25, 2003


The Iraq war shows once more the enormous impact of GPS on military operations. The military has always had a lot of problems with "land navigation." The old joke about "the most dangerous thing in the world is a 2nd Lieutenant and a map" is really no joke. During the 1991 Gulf War, hundreds of troops (or their parents) ponied up $4000 for commercial GPS receivers. The 1991 Gulf War "left hook" would not have been possible without GPS (which was not fully functional then for several hours every afternoon there was no signal because all the satellites were not up yet.) The military was enthusiastic about GPS from the start (it was, after all, a Department of Defense program) and JDAM (GPS guided bombs) quickly followed, as did command and communications systems based on GPS. Because GPS receivers get cheaper every year (commercial receivers can be had for under $100 and all cell phones will have them after 2006), the military will be building them into more vehicles, weapons and other equipment. This has made it possible for warplanes to find ground units in need of bombing support. New technology, developed by civilian firms, provides improved "adjustment signals" for what the GPS satellites are transmitting, providing accuracy measured in inches, not feet or yards. But most of the benefit was in the area of troop navigation, and weapons accuracy.


Article Archive

Electronic Weapons: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close