Russia jamming civilian aircraft navigation in Europe

April 23,2024 413
Russia jamming civilian aircraft navigation in Europe

Russia is disrupting civilian aircraft navigation systems in Europe. According to the British publication The Guardian, the jamming has already affected 46,000 planes.

More than 2,300 Ryanair flights have reported incidents of GPS interference since last August, according to a report, as well as almost 1,400 at Wizz Air, 82 at British Airways and four from easyJet. About 46,000 aircraft in total have logged problems with GPS over the Baltic Sea in the same time period, the Sun reported, based on analysis of flight logs with the website Most of the GPS problems reported on the website have come in eastern Europe, bordering Russia,” the text reads.

Distorted data forced planes to turn and descend to avoid phantom obstacles. Experts emphasize that the GPS satellite system is part of an aircraft’s navigation system, and interference with it can pose an extreme safety threat.

Virgin Atlantic was the only major British carrier unaffected, as its planes do not fly over the Baltic Sea. In March, the UK government confirmed that an RAF aircraft, carrying the defence secretary, Grant Shapps, encountered navigation signal interference during a flight near Russia’s Kaliningrad.

Dr. Jack Watling, a military expert from the London-based think tank Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), says the Russians have long used GPS jamming as a harassment tool, projecting it across NATO borders. GPS issues are observed wherever there is a large Russian garrison, such as in the Kaliningrad region.

In recent weeks, such Russian attacks have increased almost sixfold. According to the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority, signal jamming is often associated with military activity but does not mean that commercial aircraft are its direct target.

GPS jamming does not directly impact the navigation of an aircraft, and while it is a known issue, this does not mean an aircraft has been jammed deliberately,” says Glenn Bradley, the head of flight operations at the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority.

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