What’s New: Evidence and reporting about intentional interference with GPS signals as part of Israel’s battle with Hezbollah in the north of the country.
Why It’s Important:
- Missiles are a big part of the conflict for both Hezbollah and Hamas.
- Israel’s Iron Dome kinetic defense system tries to destroy the missiles in the air. Electronic warfare can send missiles elsewhere, though it may not be possible to always precisely control where.
What Else to Know:
- In 2018 Russia claimed the US spoofed its drones in Syria into attacking the base they were launched from. It is likely that controlling the destination of a spoofed drone is easier than controlling a missile because of the differences in speed.
- GPS service has been uncertain in the region for years, in part because of Russian jamming in Syria. Aircraft “disappearing” from ADS-B is nothing new.
The Israel Defense Forces announced on Oct. 15 that GPS had been “restricted in active combat zones in accordance with various operational needs,” but did not note the extent of the signal disruptions.
Israel is scrambling GPS signals over most of its northern airspace to protect itself from Hezbollah missile strikes — potentially endangering Israeli civilians and commercial aircraft in the process.
A group of researchers at the University of Texas at Austin who have tracked GPS signals in the region for years noticed a strange pattern emerging after the Hamas militant group’s surprise attack on Oct. 7: Planes flying near the Mediterranean sea briefly disappeared from sight over many parts of Israel.