An article recent published in the US press leaves fear the worst for some commercial flights. For several years, the army has in fact been testing GPS signal jammers which constitute a major strategic issue. However, these tests sometimes put hundreds of lives at risk.
Hundreds of incidents during commercial flights
The US military is seeking a parade against equipment capable of jamming or stopping GPS signals. As explained IEEE spectrum in an article from January 21, 2021, the army so test herself jammers of this type. But now, these tests impact planes providing commercial flights and therefore transporting passengers. Dozens of flights, including a few jumbo jets, suddenly find themselves isolated. The pilots must then carry out emergency maneuvers with the indispensable help of ground controllers in order to avoid terrible catastrophes.
According to the article, some incidents of this type are reported in theAviation Safety Reporting System, a NASA database. And over the past eight years, no less than 90 jamming reports or loss of GPS signal have been listed. However, other data also comes from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the air traffic regulator in the United States. She estimates that between 2017 and 2018, hundreds of incidents such have been the subject of reports. However, these same incidents each time took place near military installations.
Rather frightening examples
Among the examples cited in detail, let us evoke that of an aircraft having experienced enormous difficulty navigating without GPS in the state of Idaho. Although the conditions were very unfavorable, the pilots still managed to narrowly avoid a collision with a mountain. Another example is the case of an Airbus pilot experiencing serious difficulties approaching Salt Lake City airport. After losing his GPS signal, he literally lost his means. This is because pilots are supposed to be able to navigate by sight when landing. Nevertheless, many now depend on their GPS signal to perform this delicate maneuver.
If the sudden cut-off of the GPS signal is a real danger, jamming the same signal seems even more vicious. In his report, the pilot of the struggling plane in Idaho expressed concern. According to him, hundreds of lives can be lost just because a crew thinks that All systems operate normally when in reality, the plane is heading straight for disaster.