GPS jamming now seems to be impacting transatlantic flights

GPS jamming now seems to be impacting transatlantic flights
  • The first known instance of GPS jamming impacting transatlantic flights has been recorded.

  • According to air traffic control data, a flight was forced to operate in a "degraded mode."

  • Russia is suspected of being behind GPS jamming in the Baltic region.

The first known instance of GPS jamming impacting a flight on transatlantic routes has been reported.

According to air traffic control data cited on June 19 by an open-source intelligence analyst on X and the Resilient Timing and Navigation Foundation (RNTF), a flight from Madrid to Toronto was unable to ascend because a flight at a higher altitude had been affected by GPS jamming.

The Institute for the Study of War, a think tank that monitors global conflicts, reported the incident.

Satellite navigation systems, or GPS, are used by aircraft to navigate to their destinations. Interference with GPS isn't an immediate danger to planes because they have backup navigation systems, but they do pose a wider safety risk, say experts.

In the air traffic control data communications log, a dispatcher said that an aircraft at a higher altitude was operating in a "degraded mode," and another replied that it was the first known instance of GPS jamming on a transatlantic route.

The reports said it's not known for certain what caused the GPS interference, but they note that in the Baltic region, thousands of flights and ships have been affected by GPS interference believed to be linked to Russia.

The Norwegian Communication Authority told Business Insider in February that flights were experiencing GPS jamming on an almost daily basis, and in March, a plane carrying UK defense secretary Grant Shapps was impacted while flying near Russia's Kaliningrad enclave on the Baltic.

Russia has a powerful electronic warfare capability, that it uses on the battlefield in Ukraine to disable missiles and drones.

According to reports, a Russian electronic warfare unit is based in Kaliningrad.

The RNTF said that the plane on the transatlantic route had likely been impacted by GPS interference while traveling from the Baltic region or the Middle East, and its GPS receivers hadn't recovered by the time it reached the transatlantic phase of the trip.

It noted that if similar incidents happen more frequently, it could have a major impact on transatlantic flights, likely resulting in delays and cancellations.

Read the original article on Business Insider