The latest report of the Russian independent media group “The Project” on luxury villas owned by senior government officials shows that most of the devices include GNSS jammers. Reporters tried to use drones to photograph dashes from the air, but they usually failed. In countries/regions, most military and security agencies have equipment that can block GPS signals and other satellite navigation signals in areas of various sizes. However, Russia has developed it into a regularly exhibited art.
The Russian military has always been proud of its electronic warfare capabilities. They believe that they are important means to defeat the effectiveness of Western high-tech weapons. “Sputnik” media reported in 2015 that the Russian military claimed that its electronic warfare capabilities “make aircraft carriers useless”. GPS is the basic technology in many Western weapons and many key network infrastructures in the West. Therefore, jamming and deception of GPS and other GNSS systems has long been a priority task of the Russian army.
In 1997, a Russian company proposed a four-watt GPS and GLONASS jammer that can be used at intervals of 150 to 200 kilometers. They also reported that they had cooperated with the Russian military to develop a directional antenna for this jammer. These antennas will focus the interference on specific targets while not harming most other users. The U.S. military was interested enough to purchase jammers for testing and evaluation in 2002 for nearly $200,000.
In 2016, Russia announced a plan to add gps jammer to more than 250,000 cell towers to partially defend against attacks by American cruise missiles. In the same year, an article in the “Moscow Times” declared: “The Kremlin uses GPS at breakfast!”. GPS users near the Kremlin often find their mobile phones, indicating that they are 20 kilometers away from the international airport. It caused serious damage to Uber and Lyft drivers and delivery services that rely on satellite navigation. It is said that such identity theft or sending false information to recipients is to protect the Kremlin and its leaders from drone attacks and surveillance. Most drones are programmed in factories based on the airport and its flight location.
Independent technicians in Moscow also reported that deception employs a classic electronic warfare technique called “gathering.” The L2 and L5 GPS signals and GLONASS satellite navigation signals from Russia are scrambled. This forces the receiver to rely on the spoofed L1 signal. In the same year, the same type of activity was also discovered in the Black Sea. The RNT Foundation said that more than 600 ships have been “transported” to land-based airports. A subsequent report released by the non-profit organization C4ADS in 2019 showed that between 2016 and 2018, there were nearly 10,000 cases of tampering with ships in the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea and near Vladivostok, Russia. There is also a strong correlation between the actions of the Russian president. Vladimir Putin and the deception incident.
Man-made interference and identity theft in Russia is not limited to its own country. Vehicles, ships and aircrafts from other countries and international waters and airspace are all affected. Although Russia has obligations under the Radio Treaty under the Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunication Union, the treaty stipulates that “any transmission with false or misleading identities is prohibited.”
The C4ADS report documents a huge Russian “intelligent jammer” that operates almost continuously in Syria, and its impact extends far beyond the country’s borders. By definition, a smart jammer will send a message that appears to be a valid GPS signal, but its content does not allow the receiver to calculate the location. Syria’s actions prompted the US Maritime Administration to repeatedly warn of GPS interference in nearby international waters, and the European Air Traffic Administration also warned the country’s international airspace. Eastern Mediterranean.
In recent years, the Baltic Sea and Scandinavian countries have also witnessed Russian GPS interference. In 2017, the NATO Secretary General complained about the blockade of the Russian Navy, which also reduced the quality of mobile phone service in Latvia, Norway and Sweden. Earlier this year, Norway protested against Russian interference in its extreme north, some of which planned to conduct NATO exercises. In the past 17 months, there have been five major interference incidents affecting aviation, construction and other users. Russia has consistently proved that GNSS interference and deception can be a useful tool and effective power projection method for achieving internal security. Its actions, as well as the portability and proliferation of jamming and simulation equipment, are undoubtedly reminding the West that Russia can shut down important GNSS services at any time.