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US MQ-9 Reaper Drone Makes Emergency Landing in Poland. Victim of Russian EW Attacks?

The incident of a US-made and operated MQ-9 Reaper drone's emergency landing by the US military has raised questions about Russian EW attacks, including the possibility of jamming or spoofing GPS and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) signals that have affected areas in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — A United States MQ-9 Reaper drone was forced to make an emergency landing in Poland after reportedly “falling victim” to electronic warfare attacks by Russian military targeting its Global Positioning System (GPS) system.

Western military sources informed local media in Poland that Russia has escalated its Electronic Warfare (EW) attacks, particularly in the NATO eastern region, heightening concerns within the military alliance about the safety of the vital airspace in the Baltic Sea.

The US military drone had to conduct an emergency landing near the town of Miroslawiec, northern Poland, in an unspecified area around 11 p.m. on Tuesday, according to a statement via social media by the Polish Armed Forces Central Command.

 However, it did not elaborate on the cause behind the MQ-9 Reaper drone’s emergency landing by the US military.

The US military confirmed the incident involving their drone, stating that the MQ-9 Reaper drone was conducting “training” flight.

Reaper

The United States is known to utilize MQ-9 Reaper drones, possibly from its bases in Germany, for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions to gather information on Russian military positions in Ukraine.

ISR information obtained from these missions is disseminated to other NATO member countries and to the Ukrainian military to aid in their military operations against Russian forces.

The incident of a US-made and operated MQ-9 Reaper drone’s emergency landing by the US military has raised questions about Russian EW attacks, including the possibility of jamming or spoofing GPS and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) signals that have affected areas in Eastern Europe and the Baltic region.

Disrupting GPS and GNSS systems can mislead both manned and unmanned aircraft, causing them to believe they are in a different location.

Polish and NATO military officials allege Russian military activity in Kaliningrad, a Baltic exclave between Poland and Lithuania, which acts as one of Moscow’s major naval bases.

A senior Estonian military official accused Moscow of being responsible for the increased GPS jamming activity across Eastern Europe.

Kaliningrad
The Kaliningrad Region, a Russian Exclave Situated Between Poland and Lithuania.

 

General Martin Herem of the Estonian Defense Forces told Bloomberg last January that “Russian electronic warfare is very strong,” while Lieutenant Colonel Joakim Paasikivi of the Swedish Defense Forces stated that GPS disruptions are a result of Russia’s current “hybrid warfare” actions.

Russia is said to have deployed its high-powered electronic warfare assets in the Kaliningrad region, including for jamming and spoofing GPS and GNSS signals, according to a Lithuanian military official.

A Polish military official stated that the primary targets of Russian EW attacks, through jamming and spoofing, are to “create an atmosphere of threat and a sense of helplessness to act within the society.”

Both military and civilian aircraft flying in the Baltic region and several NATO countries have reported disruptions to their GPS systems and information provided by their GPS systems.

An unnamed pilot told Forbes that he had to shut down his GPS navigation system when flying in areas near the Baltic Sea and its surroundings.

 Instead, he relied on other systems like Inertial Navigation to continue the flight. — DSA

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