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GPS disruption

Old 1st Nov 2020, 16:23
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GPS disruption

Fortune magazine reporting concerns over GPS disruption over the Med and other places in the Middle East

https://fortune.com/2020/11/01/plane...a-north-korea/

Has anyone experienced this? Possibly Vlad being naughty, as it seems to originate in Syria
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 16:34
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I believe one operator had an aircraft that had a gpws event because of a map shift caused by gps interference moved their computed position from the coast into the middle of a mountain range.
Airbus have produced the following briefing note-
https://safetyfirst.airbus.com/gnss-interference/
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 17:31
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I have seen this several times. The first I recall was in the cruise near Pula during the problems in the Balkans circa 1993. The track/groundspeed suddenly increased illogically and the position went to the Azores then it failed. It came back of it's own accord about 50nm later.

The second occasion was landing in Cairo around 2015. At that time they only had LLZ approach available so being lazy we elected to fly an RNAV. Around 1500' one GPS failed quickly followed by the other with 'UNABLE RNP' warning. Thankfully we were able to continue to land visually. I recall it happened two or three times before the fleet got the message... It was probably coming from a military facility nearby who did not want to invite GPS guided cruise missiles.

Much more recently every trip to the Gulf (from London) has had disturbance or complete loss of GPS in south-eastern Turkey over their Syria/Iraq border. On a couple of trips to DXB both GPS went off and never came back until after landing in DXB. I would suspect the Turks are protecting their interests!
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 18:39
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Yep, two or three times over the last few years, north eastern med or over eastern Turkey..and it happened to several of my colleagues as well.

The symptoms I saw weren't quite as dramatic as those seen by magplug, If I remember correctly the first clue (Boeing) was usually the ND displaying "inertial", then several seconds/minute or so later the "Unable RNP" msg coming up..and all resolved quite simply by ensuring DME/DME updating was available...

Not a big deal if going back to north west europe because you'd usually get valid GPS updating back once you were out of the area but if you were going the other way and it happened shortly before descent into one of the nearby airports who were offering RNP approaches it meant a quick replan/rebrief.

Last edited by wiggy; 1st Nov 2020 at 18:50.
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 20:26
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From Cyprus eastward and descending into Beirut is nearly always the case. Is it Syria, Vlad or whoever? On Boeings itís not that much of a problem especially if briefed according to notams (at least company notams).
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 20:28
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Selective availability? I thought that policy was discontinued.
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 20:50
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Areas of the middle East are being protected. It's happening all of the time. Presumably the concern is Iranian or Iranian backed militia firing against US allies.
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 20:56
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Originally Posted by Pugilistic Animus View Post
Selective availability? I thought that policy was discontinued.
This is probably not the US trying to degrade precision; itís much more likely to be certain regional actors protecting themselves using GPS jammers like this which are an effective defence against commercially-available drones. Because the signal:noise ratio of GPS is so low, one jammer can disrupt civil GPS reception across a wide area. Military grade receivers use encryption, multiple frequencies and wider bandwidth to reduce susceptibility to jamming.
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Old 1st Nov 2020, 22:21
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Nearly always the case near Cyprus or Tel Aviv. It's a fact of life there; you cannot rely on GPS reception. Sometimes it works, most times it doesn't.
Back to the old DME-DME updates.
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Old 2nd Nov 2020, 11:15
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Yes , we all have a tendency to forget that GPS belongs to the US military, it is still used for military operations, and it is extremely easy to jam ( very low output signal) ,
For those of you flying in airports in mountainous areas , remember that not only you lose RNP but also EGPWS . Not a good combination ..
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Old 2nd Nov 2020, 16:40
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Even potentially worse is deliberate GPS spoofing. One demo of it on a boat moored in an Italian hrbour had the boat proceeding at 900knots south east to Libya, 60 metres UNDERNEATH Italy! There was an article on the subject some time back in the IEEE Spectrum magazine. I did read somewhere that some US Navy captains are making their officers refresh their classical navigation techniques with sun and star sights....
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Old 2nd Nov 2020, 17:37
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While jamming is today for everybody ( jammers for sale as low as 150 USD on internet ) spoofing is more complex and far more expensive and normally done by a State ,e.g. the Russian military. You find it today commonly around military exercises and conflict areas. e.g. Syria, Libya , Baltic. Black sea .etc.. Brings back the old question of what civilian commercial traffic is doing flying close or over those areas but this is another subject.
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Old 2nd Nov 2020, 18:39
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ATC #10,
EGPWS is more likely to be available depending on aircraft configuration and alternate navigation inputs.
If not then the basic GPWS should remain active with Rad Alt input; again depending on aircraft systems and switching.
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Old 2nd Nov 2020, 22:08
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There was a good article on the topic here I saw recently.
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Old 3rd Nov 2020, 01:57
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Originally Posted by airseb View Post
From Cyprus eastward and descending into Beirut is nearly always the case. Is it Syria, Vlad or whoever? On Boeings it’s not that much of a problem especially if briefed according to notams (at least company notams).
Had it pretty much every time into Cyprus over the last two years. We get GPS Fault (1+2) which comes and goes. Also we get ADS-B Out Fault, though perhaps that is to do with the GPS source failing, or maybe the ADS-B Frequency is similar to that of GPS and is jammed in the same jamming range, though I'd expect the former to be true.

Company NOTAMS mention it. Cyprus still assigns GPS RNAV arrival prodecures and I just request the (mostly) identical conventional STARS. You always get visual flying outbound so the final approach is fine and the GPS faults tend to finish below 15,000ft. I figured it was either Syria or Northern Cyprus to blame.

It's definitely worse flying to LCA rather than PFO and seems worst over the centre of the island.
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Old 3rd Nov 2020, 09:07
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Well, its definitely still prevalent when flying around the Iraq/Syria/Turkey borders - had it (GPS loss) both ways in roughly the same areas, when flying that way a few weeks ago.
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Old 3rd Nov 2020, 11:36
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Originally Posted by ATC Watcher View Post
. Brings back the old question of what civilian commercial traffic is doing flying close or over those areas but this is another subject.
Well FWIW the jamming I mentioned upthread happened (twice to me) on a track that ran from very roughly overhead Paphos northwestwards going "feet dry" well west of Antalya... how close do you define as close and how big an area do you suggest needs avoiding?
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Old 3rd Nov 2020, 13:17
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Very good question, which for answering it we have to go into politics, and I am not sure how the Mods here will react .
I can try but before I do that I want to say that I am not pro one side or another, just sating the bare facts.

I take the area and flight path you described as an example . : Paphos Northwest ,,then you go into ERCAN airspace right ? well this airspace is the result on the Turkish invasion of North Cyprus in 1974 and is not recognized by the neighbors . for ICAO this is still Nicosia FIR., and for the Cypriots , and the Greeks, it is illegal occupied airspace by the Turkish air force. Flying in there , as most airlines do to fly direct to and from Larnaca , already puts you into the grey zone.
The latest military tensions between Turkey and Greece , the full stage war in Syria are making this whole area a conflict area. If you add Israeli and Russian fighters flying around fully armed flying above the Mediterranean, you will see that defining which area to avoid there becomes either very difficult or extremely clear. .
The lessons of MH 17 and Ukraine 752 should not be forgotten too easily.
.Jamming is one thing , Spoofing is far more dangerous as it could divert you to fly inside a real conflict area and you can easily become a misidentified target as you are not supposed to be there.
During the Iran-Iraq war , civil cargo lights delivering weapons to Iran were spoofed into Russian airspace to be intercepted or even shot down ( an Argentinian CL44 from Paphos to Teheran was shot down like this in 1981 over Armenia) by just imitating a VOR signal at a much higher power output than the real one .That was pre-GPS times but same results. .
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Old 4th Nov 2020, 09:19
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I think many of us have negotiated "Chaos Corner" a few times over the years..

As for GPS spoofing...much talked about but how demonstrably effective is GPS spoofing at actually significantly changing an aircraft's flight path when that aircraft concerned has a nav suite that only using GPS as one of several navigational sources?

Last edited by wiggy; 4th Nov 2020 at 14:52. Reason: light>flight
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Old 4th Nov 2020, 11:04
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Correct wiggy. It's not rocket surgery. We just get on with it.
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