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Over Iraq: Passenger planes are misled by fake GPS signals

Over Iraq: Passenger planes are misled by fake GPS signals

Manipulated GPS signals have left various crews unable to navigate in recent days. The location of the events is particularly disturbing.

“What time is it and where are we?” – A passenger or two may have asked this question after waking up from an in-flight nap. But the cockpit crew should be aware of this information. But this question was recently asked by the pilots of the Boeing 777 that was flying in the airspace of Baghdad.

This is what the Air Space Association reported Operations group. The group wrote that it has received twelve reports of so-called GPS spoofing in the past few weeks. This means that GPS data from aircraft that were in the air was manipulated in such a way that some of it was no longer navigable.

Different types of aircraft are affected

Specifically: The position shown for the crew in the cockpit is incorrect. In fact, the plane is far away from her. In many cases, the Inertial Reference System (IRS), which helps determine geolocation, has failed completely.

Most reports have reached the Operations Group in the past seven days. The affected aircraft include Boeing 777, 747, 737, Embraer E190, Legacy 600, Gulfstream 650, Challenger 650, Global Express and Falcon 8X. After the navigation failure, the crew was forced to request the necessary data from air traffic control.

Close to an active conflict zone

The operations group emphasizes 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.

Also of concern, according to the report, is the location where the majority of cases occurred. Air route UM688 is located 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.

Risk assessment is recommended

We are therefore advising all airlines and crews using the affected flight path to urgently undertake a risk assessment. The flight crew must be prepared for the possibility of false GPS signals and the potential impact on aircraft systems and have a plan ready in case this occurs.