Russian military jams satellite navigation systems of commercial aircraft since invading Ukraine, report says

According to pilots, the Russian military disrupted the routines of commercial planes by jamming their satellite navigation systems.

Bloomberg reported the news that following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, pilots said there were disturbances around the Black Sea, the Kaliningrad region and near eastern Finland, according to Benoit Roturier, head of satellite navigation at the DGAC.

The jamming is likely caused by Russian trucks carrying jamming equipment intended to protect soldiers from GPS-guided missiles, Roturier also told Bloomberg. He added that the jamming was likely unintentional. “I don’t think the objective is to block civil aviation at this stage,” he said. “It’s collateral damage.”

The aviation industry has been affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in several ways. It was mainly disrupted by the banning of Russian airspace and Western sanctions targeting Russian airlines, which left planes stranded in the country. Now, the safety of commercial aircraft is also likely to be affected.

On March 17, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency warned of an “increased likelihood of problems with global navigation satellite systems (GNSS)” that commercial aircraft use, following the Russian invasion.

The agency noted that the jamming forced some planes to divert.

“The effects of GNSS jamming and/or possible spoofing have been observed by aircraft in different phases of their flights, leading in some cases to re-routing or even a change of destination due to the impossibility perform a safe landing procedure,” the agency said. said in a statement.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency told Insider it had no further comment on the matter.

The DGAC did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment made outside of normal working hours.

He further pointed out that disturbances have also been reported in the eastern Mediterranean region near Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and northern Iraq.

Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict in 2018 also caused disruption that year, Roturier told Bloomberg. More than 60 airlines have reported losses to their satellite navigation systems, according to a 2019 EU report to the International Civil Aviation Organization, cited by Bloomberg.

“All of Europe must prepare contingency plans in the event of the loss of these satellite systems,” Roturier told the outlet. “For some countries closer to the front, which may be less advanced in putting contingency plans in place, the current situation has served to highlight the need. It is a wake-up call.”

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