As distinct from air-based air defence, GBAD systems are operated from the surface of the earth or from ships located in marine environments. Modern GBAD technologies include guns and missile systems aimed at targeting and destroying aircraft and other threats, as well as jammers that can be used to interfere with the instrumentation of attacking aircraft. Passive GBAD measures include the use of camouflage and decoys to confuse pilots, while barrage balloons have traditionally been used to stop aircraft from approaching closely to assets.
Ground-based air defence is often seen as more economical form of defence against air threats than maintaining fighter squadrons. GBAD can be deployed and left in place for extended periods, only becoming active when a threat approaches. The relative lower cost of GBAD systems means they can be widely deployed, with a combination of short-, medium- and long-range systems achieving extremely high levels of coverage.