NewsRussian GPS jamming threatens RAF flights in Eastern Europe

Russian GPS jamming threatens RAF flights in Eastern Europe

Russian GPS jamming threatens RAF flights in Eastern Europe
Images source: © Licensor | Michal Adamowski/REPORTER
Katarzyna Bogdańska

1 July 2024 07:01

The Sunday Telegraph revealed that in 2024, Russia repeatedly disrupted GPS signals in aircraft from the British Royal Air Force (RAF) flying over Eastern Europe.

According to information provided by the newspaper, data analysis from thousands of flights showed that GPS signal disruptions occurred in at least one in four transport and reconnaissance flights during the first four months of the year.

During Defence Minister Grant Shapps' trip to Poland in March, a GPS signal disruption was detected in an RAF jet. It happened when the aircraft was relatively close to the Russian Kaliningrad Oblast. However, as noted by The Sunday Telegraph, this was not an isolated incident.

British analysis

The newspaper conducted a detailed data analysis from the Flight Radar 24 portal, covering 1,467 flights over Eastern Europe and the Middle East by 63 RAF aircraft from 1 January to 30 April. The analysis found that out of 504 RAF transport and reconnaissance flights over Eastern Europe during this period, GPS jamming was recorded in 142 cases. Furthermore, attempts at signal disruption were repeated in 60 cases.

The Sunday Telegraph explains that each of the analysed aircraft is equipped with a transponder that transmits a number indicating the accuracy of the onboard GPS. When this number falls below a certain threshold, experts consider it reliable evidence of jamming.

Defence Minister Grant Shapps commented on these reports, saying: "This is another example of Russia's recklessness and more evidence that they are an out-of-control hostile state. Thankfully our planes and pilots can see off this threat but it illustrates president Putin's contempt for the West and for the international rules-based order."

The newspaper notes that the percentage of flights experiencing GPS jamming is even higher for flights over the Middle East, at 40 percent. It explains that some of the jamming signals may come from Israel, which is trying to defend against GPS-guided weapons launched by Hamas. However, it reminds us that Russian forces are present in Syria, and experts believe that some disruptions in the region come from there.

The analysis included various types of aircraft, including Airbus A330 MRTT tankers, Airbus A400M and Boeing C-17A transport aircraft, Boeing RC-135 reconnaissance planes, two Dassault Falcon business jets, and a specially equipped government Airbus Voyager used for transporting VIPs. As the newspaper emphasises, although these are not frontline fighters and bombers, these aircraft are crucial to British defence forces.

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