GPS Jamming On The Increase Near Russia

By Spyros Georgilidakis | February 29, 2024

Three European countries are reporting an increase in GPS jamming in parts of their airspace, and they believe it is originating from Russia.

It has now been two years since Russia’s renewed attack on Ukraine. And soon after those events, there were reports of GPS jamming and even spoofing attempts, in various areas close to Russia.

GPS Jamming On The Increase Near Russia
Photo: AleGranholm, CC BY 2.0

These GPS disturbances haven’t stopped. On the contrary, countries like Finland, Norway, and Poland are reporting that GPS signal interference may be getting broader. Finland was one of the first countries to report such interference, early in 2022, as Finnair crews flew near Kaliningrad.

Finland then identified GPS disturbances coming from the east of the country. Weeks later, Poland and other countries identified other areas with likely GPS jamming activity. These areas included the Black Sea, and even affected areas with Russian presence but away from Russia itself, like the Eastern Mediterranean.

Photo: Tomas Piachewski

GPS Jamming – A Problem For More Users

Aviation authorities have been maintaining and updating a list of areas with such disturbances. Close to Russia’s border, GPS jamming is now a regularity and affects both military and civil aircraft, including air ambulances and police helicopters.

Photo: Fotis Christopoulos

Helicopters, in particular, often depend on GPS. Unlike other aircraft, air ambulances and police helicopters need to use GPS for navigation in more ways than simply to fly between airports and/or helipads. Locating missing people or people in distress often relies on GPS coordinates, with few if any alternatives in case of jamming.

Russia reportedly interferes with GPS signals in order to defend against drones and other devices near its borders. It is worth remembering that, despite its dominant, daily presence in civil hands, GPS remains a military tool. The reason it came to be was to guide military assets and weapons to their targets.

GPS Jamming On The Increase Near Russia
Photo: Niklas Bischop

Other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) were conceived for broader purposes. But GPS remains the most popular GNSS in use. Plus, other such systems are subject to jamming or spoofing, just like GPS.


1 comment

  • Russia might be causing this third party damage if they are using the jamming for military purposes. It is likely that Putin would not care anyway.

Leave your comment