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Russian EW systems jam GPS signals in Poland and Baltic region

Russian EW systems jam GPS signals in Poland and Baltic region Russian electronic warfare system Borisoglebsk-2 (photo: Russian Ministry of Defense)

Recently, significant disruptions in the operation of GPS systems were reported in Poland and the Baltic region. There are suspicions that this may be a result of the activity of Russian electronic warfare (EW) systems in the region, according to the Study of War (ISW).

The report notes that Polish radio station Radio Zet quoted data from the GPS interference tracking website GPSJAM on January 16, demonstrating an unprecedented level of GPS jamming in northern and eastern Poland, including Warsaw, and extending south to the city of Lodz.

GPSJAM data also shows similarly high levels of GPS interference in the southern part of the Baltic Sea and northwestern and central Poland between December 25-27, 2023, and January 10, 2024. Polish media speculates that the disruptions in December 2023 could be linked to undisclosed NATO military exercises in the Baltic region or recent Russian EW testing in the Kaliningrad region.

The Swedish Military Intelligence and Security Service (MUST) initiated an investigation into the disruptions on January 12 in the context of the Russian Baltic Fleet's EW exercises. Swedish Lieutenant Colonel Joakim Paasikivi stated on January 6 that, in his opinion, the recent GPS interference levels are the result of Russian influence or so-called hybrid warfare. He also added that Russia has previously intervened in GPS signals in Northern Europe to conceal its activities in the Murmansk region or disrupt NATO exercises.

Russian media reported that since mid-December 2023, units of the Russian Baltic Fleet have been conducting exercises with the EW system Borisoglebsk-2 in the Kaliningrad Oblast. Some sources linked them to the aforementioned GPS disruptions.

Currently, ISW cannot independently verify the cause of the high level of GPS interference. However, it is noteworthy to consider the assumption that Russian EW capabilities in the Kaliningrad region could significantly impact Poland and the Baltic region.

Use of electronic warfare systems in warfare

The General Staff of the Ministry of Defense reported that Russia has made modifications to its Kh-101 cruise missiles. These missiles are now equipped with an active electronic warfare system and are capable of deploying thermal decoys.

Earlier, ISW reported that the successful neutralization of more than 20 enemy missiles by electronic warfare means on January 13 indicated the implementation of innovative technologies to counteract missile strikes by Russia.

Ukraine plans to increase the production of electronic warfare systems to defend against enemy drones.