Russia accused of jamming signal on Shapps’ plane

RAF targeted by Russia

UK Defence Secretary Grant Shapps in Poland this week. Credit: grantshapps/X

Russia has been accused of escalating tensions with the UK after they carried out a suspected signal jamming of an RAF aircraft carrying Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps.

In an act condemned as ‘wildly irresponsible’, Russia allegedly disrupted the GPS signal of a UK Royal Air Force (RAF) jet, jeopardising electronic communications and navigation systems.

This incident occurred on a return flight from Poland, carrying Grant Shapps, on Wednesday march 13. While flying past the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, nestled between Poland and Lithuania, the aircraft’s GPS was reportedly tampered with for 30 minutes.

A risk to civil aviation

The defence secretary was on an RAF Dassault 900LX Falcon, dubbed Envoy. Although it’s not confirmed whether Shapps was specifically targeted, his journey was easily trackable online. Shapps was reassured that Wednesday’s incident posed no safety threat to the aircraft.

A defence spokesperson stated, ‘While the RAF are well prepared to deal with this, it still puts an unnecessary risk on civilian aircraft and could potentially endanger people’s lives.

‘There is no excuse for this and it’s wildly irresponsible on Russia’s part,’ they added.

Electronic warfare

This is not an isolated event. Similar jamming incidents have occurred over Kaliningrad and along Russia’s borders.

In 2021, various RAF aircraft in Cyprus experienced GPS disruptions believed to be orchestrated by Moscow.

Despite no serious consequences, the signal interference emanated from Syrian territory, indicating Russia’s involvement.

Recent months have seen Poland and Baltic states reporting GPS disruptions. The Institute for the Study of War noted disturbances in northern and eastern Poland, as well as the southern Baltic Sea.

According to Swedish military officer Joakim Paasikivi, ‘I believe this is part of Russian influence activities or so-called hybrid warfare. This may be Russia’s way of sowing uncertainty.’

Shapps’s mission

Shapps’s trip included a visit to a military training site in Orzysz, near Kalinigrad. There, he observed Nato‘s Steadfast Defender exercises, the alliance’s largest since the Cold War, involving around 90,000 troops.

Shapps criticised Vladimir Putin’s nuclear war rhetoric as ‘irresponsible’, urging him to withdraw from Ukraine. Advocating for increased UK military spending to 3 per cent of GDP, Shapps emphasised preparation for a safer world.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.


    • Neil Friday

      15 March 2024 • 12:14

      Si it seems that the aircraft was used prematurely with “The Ministry of Defence (MOD) aims to have infrared countermeasures and dispensing capabilities to defeat missiles. Other upgrades will see new radio and communication systems, including anti-jamming and anti-spoofing capabilities.”—
      not yet installed.
      I feel certain that the previous BAE 146 aircrafts (that I have travelled on, a lot between the UK and Spain) would not have suffered from such failures.

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