Reports of aircraft receiving false GPS signals over Iraq are increasing. The US aviation authority has now also issued a warning because the planes were veering significantly off course.
Actually, it was scary enough. False GPS data led to civilian aircraft being derailed over Iraq – some were unable to navigate and had to request vectors from air traffic control to determine direction. Since the Flight Planning Association Ops Group issued the warning on Monday (September 25), reports of these incidents have increased.
While there were 12 reports of so-called GPS spoofing on Monday, there are now 20. Embraer Legacy 650 cabin crew reports. In addition, the Inertial Reference System (IRS), which helps determine geolocation, is no longer functional.
Almost without authorization in Iranian airspace
The autopilot has gone crazy too. When the crew finally requested data about their location from air traffic control, they discovered that they were flying about 150 kilometers from the planned route. “We almost flew into Iranian airspace without permission,” the pilots said.
The location where the majority of cases occurred remains the same: UM688’s flight path is over Iraq, near the Iranian border, above an active conflict zone. “Any unintended departure from Iranian airspace without a flight plan risks action by the Iranian military,” the operations group wrote.
The Federal Aviation Administration also warns
The Bombardier Challenger crew reported that they “lost all navigation, and the IRS showed we had drifted 70 to 90 nautical miles. An incorrect ground speed was also displayed. I needed navigational data from air traffic control until landing in Doha.”
The US aviation authority is now warning of the security risks to civilian aircraft caused by GPS spoofing. The operations group explains that this is not called GPS jamming, where the signal is interrupted. During spoofing, data is specifically manipulated. Exactly how this can be achieved is currently inexplicable.
The fact that the IRS would also be affected is also unusual, because it effectively operates independently, the Ops Group wrote. Intelligence experts suspect that a drone may also be involved.
The FAA recommends that crews “place additional emphasis on maintaining constant communication with appropriate air traffic control authorities, closely monitor aircraft equipment performance for any inconsistencies or anomalies, and prepare to operate without GPS navigation systems.”
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