According to Russian newspaper Izvestia, Russia’s national air traffic regulator has advised airlines to prepare to fly their planes without relying on the American Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite-based navigation equipment because of increased jamming and spoofing since the start of Ukraine conflict.
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Following a March report by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA),
which warned of increased cases of jamming and spoofing of the system’s signal after February 24 – the day Russia began its military offensive in Ukraine – Rosaviatsia has instructed national airlines to prepare to cope without GPS, according to a letter seen by the outlet.
These were reportedly detected in Russia’s western enclave, the Kaliningrad Region, the Baltics, eastern Finland, the Black Sea, the eastern Mediterranean, Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, and northern Iran, among other places.
According to EASA, the interference has caused some planes to change course or destination since the pilots were unable to conduct a safe landing without the GPS.
Rosaviatsia believes that carriers should assess the risks of GPS failure and provide additional training to their pilots on how to respond in such scenarios. Crews have also been instructed to immediately notify traffic control if a satellite navigation system malfunctions.
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The letter from the agency should be seen as a suggestion only, according to the article, and does not constitute a ban on Russian airlines using GPS.
Several Russian airlines, including major carriers such as Aeroflot and S7, have reported that they received a relevant message from the traffic regulator. They asserted, however, that they had no problems with GPS in the previous two months.
“Disconnection from GPS or its disruption won’t affect flight safety in Russia,” Rosaviatsia later emphasized.
The GPS signal isn’t the only source of information about a plane’s exact location at any given time. The aircraft’s inertial navigation system, as well as ground-based navigation and landing technologies, are also available to crews, according to the agency.
Last month, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, warned that as part of harsh penalties placed on the country for the Ukraine conflict, Washington may disconnect the country from GPS.
Rogozin proposed switching all of the country’s commercial jets from GPS to its Russian counterpart, Glonass, on Telegram on Friday.
However, because Boeing and Airbus planes, which are primarily utilized by the country’s airlines, are intended to only support GPS technology, it may be a difficult task.