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What’s New: A great article with an important message.

  • Russia is using jamming and spoofing against its neighbors in a low level, yet dangerous, conflict
  • Air travelers are being put in danger.

Why It’s Important:  Air travel wasn’t ready for terrorism on 9-11 either, despite over 130 airliners having been previously hijacked.

What Else to Know: 

  • Aviation groups have highlighted this as an important issue since at least 2019.
  • The UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) warned about this in 2020 and urged nations to control and stop interference with GNSS.
  • The UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) issued a circular about this in 2022 saying such interference is prohibited by its Radio Regulations
  • The International Air Transport Association is going to meet and discuss the problem this month.
  • It seems to us that talking about the problem is not going to solve it. – More on that soon.

Air Travel Is Not Ready for Electronic Warfare

With militaries spoofing GPS signals, civilian planes could get targeted in the crossfire.

Airway UM688 cuts an invisible path through the air from Samsun, Turkey, on the Black Sea coast down through Basra, Iraq, on the Persian Gulf and is used heavily by airliners traveling from Europe to the Gulf States. One stretch in particular, a 280-mile-long section in northeastern Iraq, has become a hot topic in pilot forums online. Planes passing through experience all kinds of strange system malfunctions.

“What’s happening is that the plane is flying along normally, everything is very chill, very relaxed, you probably have a foot up on the pedestal and you’re doing your crossword. And then, suddenly, either the plane will start to turn or you’ll get a whole bunch of warnings: terrain failure, navigation error, position error,” says Mark Zee, the founder of OpsGroup, an online forum that collects pilots’ reports. “For the crews, the initial reaction is What the hell is going on?” In at least 15 cases, pilots became so confused that they had to ask air-traffic control to tell them which direction to take. In one incident, a business jet nearly passed into Iranian airspace.