US Navy GPS Jamming Drills in Carribean Could Blind Civilian Air Navigation - Report

Military & Intelligence

06:56 18.01.2020(updated 07:38 18.01.2020) Get short URL

The US Navy earlier reportedly announced a large-scale exercise in the Caribbean basin that could seriously impact civilian air traffic. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a special warning for pilots.

The US Navy "Carrier Strike Group 4" will conduct special tests to jam the Global Positioning System (GPS), which could possibly affect planes flying at altitudes as low as 50 feet (15 metres) above the ground, up to about 40,000 feet (12,000 metres), the Daily Mail reported, citing the FAA.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also issued a statement explaining the need for such jamming tests by the federal government.

"...Is required to conduct GPS tests, training activities, and exercises that involve interfering with GPS receivers [...] Due to the fact that these training and testing activities can involve a number of aircraft, ships and/or other military equipment and up to hundreds of personnel, cancellation or postponement of a coordinated test should only occur under compelling circumstances", the DHS said, cited by the Daily Mail.

According to the report, the agency said that in the event of a life-threatening situation the FAA will issue a "cease buzzer" to stop the GPS jamming, until any emergency issue is resolved.

The US Navy is reportedly expected to leave many civilian crews flying over the Southeast and Caribbean without a proper GPS signal during the manoeuvres. The drills will reportedly last until 24 January.

The last large-scale GPS jamming drills were conducted in 2018. In 2019, US-based media reported that the Pentagon had developed a technology resistant to GPS jamming.

The GPS system remains crucial for US military operations at home and abroad, as well as the hundreds of millions of people whose devices use the tech every moment.