UK Defence Secretary jet hit by electronic warfare attack in Poland

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps RAF Dassault Falcon 900 jet flew from Poland, where he visited British troops in Steadfast Defender, to the UK. The UK defence chief confirmed the complete support of his country for Ukraine.

A Sun’s defence editor onboard the RAF Dassault Falcon 900 jet reported that the GPS and communications were disabled by a jamming attack allegedly launched by Russia.

RAF pilots confirmed that the GPS and other signals were blocked for almost 30 minutes while the Grant Shapps was flying near Kaliningrad, which is a Russian exclave neighboring Poland.

If confirmed an electronic warfare attack hit the jet, but did not impact the safety of the aircraft.

According to British officials, the Shapps’ plane was not the target of a surgical attack, instead, it was impacted by large-scale Russian interference with satellite communications and signals which can affect all aircraft and GPS devices.

“The Sun’s Defence Editor Jerome Starkey was onboard the RAF Dassault Falcon 900 at the time.” reads the article published by The SUN. “Shapps – a qualified pilot – was assured the electronic warfare attack did not affect the aircraft’s safety. He was flying back from Poland’s Szymany airport after visiting British troops taking part in Steadfast Defender, the largest Nato war games since the end of the Cold War.”

Steadfast Defender 2024 is NATO’s largest military exercise since the Cold War aimed at testing the alliance’s readiness and ability to defend itself across multiple domains. The exercise is held from January 22nd to May 31st, 2024.

It is a multi-domain exercise, meaning that the participants will be engaged in war operations in multiple environments, including land, air, sea, cyber, and space, and cyberattacks on avionics systems.

The jamming is “wildly irresponsible,” a defence source told The Sun. “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 widely irresponsible on Russia’s part.”

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, experts reported multiple electronic warfare attacks in Eastern Europe [1, 2]

“The weapon has reportedly been jamming GPS technology on flights and ships across the eastern flank of Nato, causing severe disruption.” reported The Sun in February.

Western intelligence is aware of Russia’s electronic warfare capabilities located in Kaliningrad and used to target commercial airliners and sea vessels.

The Sun pointed out that RAF pilots were able to revert to alternative fail-safe systems.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, electronic warfare)


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