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European Agency Warns of GNSS Outages Near Ukraine

Photo: franckreporter/E+/Getty Images

Photo: franckreporter/E+/Getty Images

In the current context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the issue of GNSS jamming and/or possible spoofing has intensified in geographical areas surrounding the conflict zone and other areas, according to the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The agency issued a safety information bulletin on March 17 warning of a GNSS outage leading to navigation / surveillance degradation. According to the bulletin, which was directed at national aviation authorities and airlines, reports analyzed by EASA indicate that since February 24 GNSS spoofing and/or jamming has intensified in four key geographical areas:

  • the Kaliningrad region, surrounding Baltic Sea and neighboring states
  • Eastern Finland
  • the Black Sea and
  • the Eastern Mediterranean area near Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria and Israel, as well as Northern Iraq.

“The effects of GNSS jamming and/or possible spoofing,” the bulletin stated, “were observed by aircraft in various phases of their flights, in certain cases leading to re-routing or even to change the destination due to the inability to perform a safe landing procedure.” It pointed out that in the present conditions it is not possible to predict these outages and their effects. Potential issues include:

  • loss of ability to use GNSS for waypoint navigation
  • loss of area navigation (RNAV) approach capability
  • inability to conduct or maintain various operations
  • triggering of terrain warnings, possibly with pull-up command and
  • inconsistent aircraft position on the navigation display
  • loss of automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B), wind shear, terrain and surface functionalities
  • failure or degradation of ATM/ANS/CNS and aircraft systems that use GNSS as a time reference and
  • airspace infringements and/or route deviations due to GNSS degradation.

The bulletin also offers several recommendations to airlines for mitigating these issues.

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