Russia ‘jammed’ GPS during Nato drills
Russia deliberately jammed GPS signals, prompting a warning to civilian aircraft that their navigation equipment could be blinded, during a recent Nato exercise in the Arctic, according to Norway and Finland.
Russia denied any claims.
The Norwegian foreign ministry raised the issue with Moscow over the incidents on the Kola peninsula between October 16 and November 7 during Nato’s Trident Juncture exercise with 31 countries.
It was Nato’s largest military exercise since the Cold War, involving 50,000 troops and stretching from the Baltic Sea to Iceland.
Finland’s Air Navigation Services issued a warning to civilian air traffic over the issue.
Norway, Denmark and Iceland are Nato members but Sweden and Finland are not although they have been co-operating more closely with the military alliance and their troops joined the exercise.
Kola’s airspace is relatively uncrowded, used mainly by Russian and Scandinavian aircraft heading to the US or Asia.
The International Air Transport Association, which represents 290 airlines globally, said GPS tampering was not unusual during military drills.
“These are decisions taken by the military over which airlines have no control,” the organisation told the media.
“However, airlines don’t rely exclusively on GPS and have a number of navigation systems. Safety of passengers and crew is the number one priority of the airline industry and the safety of commercial airliners is not at risk from GPS jamming.”
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the accusation fitted “a trend to blame all mortal sins on Russia”. “We know nothing about Russia’s possible involvement in those GPS failures,” he said in a trademark Kremlin response.
Denmark’s Defence Minister Claus Hjord Frederiksen said Russian denials were unconvincing and the GPS jamming was another sign of “aggressive” Russian behaviour towards its neighbours.
“It falls in line with the intimidation that they use all the time in the Baltic States, but also when we have ships in the Baltic Sea, and they sometimes simulate attacks against the ships,” Frederiksen said.
The United States faces a “crisis of national security” as its military supremacy has eroded, it could lose a conflict with Russia and is probably incapable of fighting more than one war at a time, according to a congressional report.
“US military superiority is no longer assured and the implications for American interests and American security are severe,” said the report of the National Defence Strategy Commission for the Congressional Armed Services committees.
“The US military could suffer unacceptably high casualties and loss of major capital assets in its next conflict,” it predicted.
Donald Trump last week asked the Defence Department to cut US$16 billion next year from its budget, which currently is at US$716 billion — a 2¼ per cent reduction.
Norway hosts regular Nato training. Picture credit: Wikimedia