EASA Reports GNSS Jamming/Spoofing amid Ukraine Conflict

 - March 18, 2022, 10:26 AM

Aircraft flying in four areas of Eastern Europe and the Middle East have experienced jamming or “spoofing” of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) in various phases of flight, leading in some cases to rerouting or even destination changes due to their inability to perform a safe landing procedure, according to a March 17 Safety Information Bulletin from EASA. Eurocontrol, Network of Analysts, and open-source data reports analyzed by EASA show that the spoofing and/or jamming has intensified since February 24, the day Russia invaded Ukraine.

The areas affected include the Kaliningrad region surrounding the Baltic Sea and neighboring states, eastern Finland, the Black Sea, and the eastern Mediterranean area—Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and northern Iraq.

Degradation of GNSS signals could mean the inability to use the satellite system for waypoint navigation; loss of area navigation (RNAV) approach capability; inability to perform or maintain Required Navigation Performance (RNP) operations; triggering of terrain warnings; inconsistent aircraft position information on the navigation display; loss of ADS-B, windshear, 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.

EASA said that the safety concern described in its bulletin doesn’t yet warrant a Safety Directive (SD), however.

EASA recommends that National Aviation Authorities (NAAs) establish contingency procedures with ANSPs and airspace users and ensure the full operation of conventional navigation infrastructure, particularly Instrument Landing Systems (ILS). It also said that NAAs should issue Notices to Airmen (Notams) that describe the affected areas and related operating limitations.

Recommendations for NAAs and ANSPs include establishing a process for collecting GNSS degradation and coordinating with national communications authorities on notifying airlines and other airspace users. Finally, for operators, a litany of recommendations include promptly reporting cases of GNSS equipment degradation to air traffic control.