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09:07 AM, June 28, 2019
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Ben Gurion Airport GPS Disruption Blamed on Russian Electronic Warfare
Distance between Israel's airport and Russia's Khmeimim Air Base in Syria is about 638km (image: screenshot of Google maps)

A disruption of GPS signals that guide aircraft at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport has been blamed on electronic warfare activity carried by Russian air force at the nearby Khmeimim Air Base in north-western Syria.

“The disruptions are the result of electronic warfare on behalf of the Russian military in defense of its planes at Khmeimim Air Base in north-western Syria,” Israeli security officials have stated.

The military base is about 390 km (242 miles) north of Ben Gurion.

According to Israeli officials, GPS signals at the airport have been unreliable for pilots and planes since early June. Air traffic controllers have been instructing planes to use alternate instrument landing systems, PressTV reported Friday.

The missing navigational data has had a "significant impact" on airport operations, said Israel's Airports Authority (IAA).  The disrupted GPS signals had not caused any accidents or safety incidents, said the Airports Authority.

The International Federation of Airline Pilots' Associations noted on its website earlier this week it had received "many reports from pilots that they have experienced loss of GPS signal in the vicinity of the Ben Gurion International Airport.”

An Army Radio report stated that Russia was responsible for the loss of GPS signals at the airport but it was not established whether it was an intentional move or not. “Israel might be suffering "collateral damage" from a cyber battlefield in the area,” Former Israeli air force commander Amos Yadlin told Army Radio.

Pilots use GPS for navigation within the occupied territories’ airspace, and for takeoff and landing. “Pilots have alternative landing and navigation systems that are not reliant on the GPS to work,” a source said.

Moscow has however rebuked the reports. The Russian ambassador to Israel said on army radio that the reports are "fake news," and "can't be taken seriously."

 

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