Airlines Receiving Reports of Faulty GPS

Without canceling flights, European airlines have warned pilots to be on the lookout for faulty data. Signals stretched between Finland, currently holding Nordic War Games, and the Mediterranean Sea have been heavily impacted with many reports of spoofed or jammed GPS information. Fingers point at Russia.

Range of Area Impacted by GPS Jamming

Daily Mail: Since the war erupted on February 24, ‘jamming and/or possible spoofing has intensified in geographical areas surrounding the conflict zone and other areas,’ the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said in an online bulletin Thursday.

‘The effects of GNSS jamming and/or possible spoofing were observed by aircraft in various phases of their flights, in certain cases leading to re-routing or even to change the destination due to the inability to perform a safe landing procedure,’ the agency said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was accused of ordering his military to jam these signals in order to disrupt efforts to navigate the region surrounding Ukraine. While there is no definitive evidence, it is a reasonable accusation since there is, realistically, no one else both capable of and benefiting from the jamming attacks.

This would also not be the first time the Russo-Ukrainian conflict resulted in interference with commercial flight paths. In 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, a passenger flight, was shot down by rebels in eastern Ukraine whose equipment was supplied by Russia. Additionally, just a few days ago, Putin has established a no-fly zone over the separatist Donbas region in Ukraine.

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However, even if this was not the doing of the Russian military, the agency states that it is “unlikely” that they will need to suspend flights. However, they do request all flight personnel to report any anomalies relating to GPS signals. Pilots have also been warned not to rely solely on satellite-based systems, due to the fact that they may at any time come under spoofing or jamming attacks.

 

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