French Air and Space Force conducts live GPS jamming exercise

European Space Agency

The French Air and Space Force (AAE) has announced that it will conduct extensive GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) jamming as part of the Black Crow 24 exercise. 

This operation aims to train crews for ground support missions in environments disrupted by GPS jamming. The exercise runs from May 27 to June 7, 2024, and involves large-scale equipment across several sites in France. 

“Two Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) will be issued weekly by the AAE to provide updates on the operation,” the French Free Flight Federation (FFVL) said. “There is a potential impact on GNSS procedures, depending on proximity to the interference zones.”

The jamming operations will occur throughout this period, with two jammers capable of operating simultaneously at four different locations. GNSS signals will only be disrupted for 2 to 3 hours per day. The jamming will affect areas within a 100-nautical mile (185-kilometer) radius at 4,000 feet from the central point in the Puy-de-Dôme region, central France. 

(Credit: FFPLUM)

Several European civil aviation authorities, including EASA, the French DGAC, and the Finnish Traficom, have reported increased GPS signal disruptions affecting flights following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  EASA has identified four areas where GNSS jamming and/or spoofing has increased since February 24, 2022:  

  • Kaliningrad region, surrounding Baltic Sea, and neighboring States;   
  • Eastern Finland;   
  • The Black Sea;   
  • The Eastern Mediterranean area is near Cyprus, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and Northern Iraq.    

Finnair decided to suspend its daily flights to Tartu, Estonia, from April 29 to May 31, 2024, due to ongoing GPS interference affecting the usability of Tartu Airport (TAY) approach methods. Recently, two Finnair flights diverted back to Helsinki because GPS interference hindered a safe approach and landing at Tartu. 

In May 2024, the UK Ministry of Defence announced it conducted commercial flight trials of quantum-based navigation systems, which it says are resilient against jamming and spoofing by hostile entities. 

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