Russian GPS Interference Affects Thousands of UK Flights

23rd Apr 2024
Russian GPS Interference Affects Thousands of UK Flights

Since the launch of its broad-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, Russia has been interfering with GPS positioning signals at an increasing rate. UK aviation companies report that the interference has taken the form of spoofing signals as well as outright jamming. Thousands of flights to and from the UK have been affected. The Sun published an expose on this issue on 21st April.

Where Russia is affecting GPS signals

The Sun worked with to correlate flights with known instances of GPS signals affected. could not definitively state that every incident was caused by Russian jamming, but did tell The Sun that:

 “Areas where a significant percentage of aircraft report low navigation accuracy seem to correlate well with areas of known and suspected jamming.”

These areas with known GPS systems accuracy issues are primarily near Russian controlled location such as Kaliningrad, Transdnistrovia, and the eastern Med near the Syrian coast west to Cyprus and south down the Israeli coast.

The Sun reported that 46,000 aircraft reported satellite navigation problems over the Baltic Sea between August 2023 and the end of March 2024. This included 2300 Ryan Air, 1300 Wizz Air, and at least 80 British Airways flights in that period.

Aircraft are all equally affected, and not only civilian ones. The Sun states that one of its reporters was flying over northern Poland on an RAF flight with Defence Secretary Grant Shapps in March when the jet’s GPS was jammed from Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave nearby.

Ground travel also affected

Russian interference with GPS signals was particularly noted in the early stages of the broad-scale invasion of 2022. This writer experienced it on 24-25 February when driving through south-western Ukraine and the GPS began to show the vehicle as much closer to Belarus. Overall, however, little attention has been paid to the effects of the interference on land travel.

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