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Software SNAFU took out 10,000 military geo locators

Receiver upgrade gone bad

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As many as 10,000 global positioning system receivers were rendered useless for days as a result of a software upgrade in January that didn't go well, the Associated Press reports.

The "compatibility issue" affected 8,000 to 10,000 of the military's 800,000 GPS receivers, although officials didn't say how many weapons, planes, or other systems were affected or if any of them were in use in Iraq or Afghanistan. An Air Force document said a jet-powered carrier-based drone still under development was interrupted by the glitch.

The disruption was touched off on January 11, when new software was installed in ground control systems for GPS satellites. The affected receivers were manufactured by California-based Trimble Navigation Limited. Trimble said it detected no problems when it tested the new software prior to installation. The upgrade was designed to accommodate a new generation of GPS satellites called Block IIF.

GPS has allowed the military to operate with fewer warheads and personnel. Forces that are dependent on the technology to take out targets become vulnerable when it is disrupted. A military spokesman said officials are "extremely confident in the safety and security of the GPS system from enemy attack."

More from the AP is here. ®

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