Russia’s civil aviation industry regulator, the Federal Air Transport Agency, also known as Rosaviatsiya, has reportedly ordered Russian airlines to start learning flying their aircraft without relying on the US Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite navigation service.
Federal regulator has instructed national airlines to prepare to cope without GPS after a March report by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which warned of increased cases of jamming and spoofing of the system’s signal after February 24 – the day Russia launched its war of aggression in Ukraine.
The interference has led to some planes changing their course or destination as the pilots were unable to perform a safe landing without the GPS, EASA has reportedly said.
According to Rosaviatsia, national airlines should evaluate the risks of GPS malfunction and provide additional training to its pilots on how to act in such situations. The crews have also reportedly been told to instantly inform traffic control about any problems with a satellite navigation system.
Most likely though, the real reason behind the regulator’s warning is a very feasible possibility of Russia being cut off of the GPS services as part of the Western sanctions package imposed on Russian Federation over its unprovoked brutal invasion of the neighboring country.
The GPS signal isn’t the only source of information about the location of a plane at any given moment. Crews can also rely on the aircraft’s inertial navigation system, as well as ground-based navigation and landing systems, the agency said.
Rosaviatsia later clarified that “disconnection from GPS or its disruption won’t affect flight safety in Russia.”
According to the reports, the letter from the agency should be treated as a ‘recommendation only’ and doesn’t constitute a ban on the use of GPS by the Russian airlines.
Some Russian airlines, including Aeroflot and S7, have confirmed receiving a GPS-related message from the traffic regulator. However, they insisted that they didn’t encounter any problems with GPS over the past two months.
Last month, the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, warned that Washington may well disconnect Russia from GPS and proposed switching all of the country’s commercial planes from GPS to its Russian counterpart, Glonass.
However, it might be possible to do as Boeing and Airbus planes, primarily used by the Russian carriers, are designed to solely support the GPS technology.