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Russia jams GPS signals for aircraft over Baltic region - Politico

Russia jams GPS signals for aircraft over Baltic region - Politico Archive photo: Russia jams GPS signals for aircraft over the Baltic region (facebook com wizzair)

Aircraft flying over the Baltic region are experiencing cases of GPS signal jamming. Russia is considered the culprit of these issues, reports Politico.

"The blackout episodes — known as GPS jamming — have been occurring regularly since the start of the war in Ukraine in 2022," the source writes.

Politico specifies that the interferences are concentrated in the Kaliningrad region of the Russian Federation.

"Russia is regularly attacking the aircraft, passengers, and sovereign territory of NATO countries," said Dana Goward, President of the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation.

She called these incidents real threats and reminded how during the accidental jamming in 2019, a passenger plane narrowly missed crashing into a mountain.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency is studying this issue, but regulators currently state that GPS issues do not pose a danger to flights.

GPS disruptions are on the rise

Cases of interference reported by pilots have steadily increased since January 2022. This was stated by the European Aviation Safety Organization, which receives reports from pilots through its voluntary incident reporting system, EVAIR.

"During the first two months of 2024, EVAIR recorded high increases in GPS outages reports. In absolute figures we received 985 GPS outages compared with 1,371 for the whole of 2023," Eurocontrol reported.

They added that the number of incidents in the first two months of this year was almost seven times higher than in the first two months of 2023.

Example of Israel

Politico reports that last year, Israel began jamming and spoofing GPS signals at the border with Lebanon to protect its territory from Hezbollah missile attacks.

Recently, Israeli disruptions have caused problems for civilian aviation in Lebanon. It was reported that planes bound for Beirut were forced to turn back due to signal shutdown.

"While disruptions may be inconvenient, they do not pose a significant risk to safety. An aircraft can safely navigate the globe without GPS," said Stuart Fox, Director of Flight Safety and Technical Operations at the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

This is not the first time when Russia has been accused of jamming GPS signals for aircraft

In January, the Institute for the Study of War reported massive disruptions in GPS systems in Poland and the Baltic region. At that time, it was not ruled out that this was a result of the operation of Russian electronic warfare (EW) systems in the region.

Later, Estonia accused Russia of being behind the increase in cases of satellite signal jamming used by airlines, smartphones, and weapon systems in Eastern Europe.

More recently, Russia jammed the satellite signal of the aircraft carrying UK Secretary of State for Defence Grant Shapps as it flew near Russian Kaliningrad.