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GPS jamming increases amid Israel Hamas conflict

October 11, 2023  - By


Israel has declared war on the Palestinian militant group  Hamas after it carried out an unprecedented attack by air, sea and land on October 7, 2023.

The large-scale surprise attack has left more than 1,200 dead in Israel, said Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus in an update on October 11. It has since prompted retaliatory Israeli airstrikes on Gaza that have killed more than 1,055 people.

During the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Middle East is witnessing a significant shift in the patterns of GPS interference, with data showing an increase in disruptions compared to just a week prior, according to Defence and Security Middle East.

Reports have surfaced indicating Hamas has actively jammed Israeli communication systems during the initial stages of the conflict. This strategic move highlights the increase of jamming GPS and communication networks in modern warfare scenarios, where precision and coordination are imperative.

Positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) services play a role in a variety of military systems and civil technologies. These services not only guide precision warfare, but also facilitate efficient transportation, communication and various civilian applications.

The Middle East has a history of being a focal point for jamming and spoofing activities, impacting not only security but also regional stability and even commercial flights.

For example, there have been recent reports of recurring interference allegedly caused by Russian systems in Syria, which frequently disrupts air traffic at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. Regulatory bodies, such as the Federal Aviation Administration, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, and Israel’s aviation authority, advised airlines to exercise caution when operating in the airspace of the region. Multiple airlines have now canceled or suspended flights.

With airlines reducing services and regulatory bodies advising caution, the conflict’s repercussions extend well beyond the battlefield, highlighting the critical need for security assessments or alternative PNT systems to protect civilians.  

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