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Russia Scrambles GPS

Posted November 18, 2022

Matt Insley

By Matt Insley

Russia Scrambles GPS

“The Russians have totally kicked electronic warfare into high gear,” says Paradigm’s geologist and formal U.S. Naval officer Byron King. “I was talking just the other day with somebody who's in the satellite mapping business who tells me GPS is no more.”

According to the U.S. Naval Institute: “Both militaries and the private sector have come to rely upon the ubiquitous availability of GPS, which reached full operational capability in 1993 and has since been opened for global use.” 

Byron notes: “Yeah, we still use GPS, and you can navigate your way to the local Safeway. But GPS [for military use] is dead.” 

Meaning? “If the Russians want to crash a jet into the side of a mountain, if they want to make a cruise missile land in the middle of a lake… that is so easy to do anymore

“I've talked to people who have a company that does mapping and elevation, and they're using a crash program right now to come up with workarounds for not being able to use GPS.

“And, you know, for troops operating in the field, GPS is everything,” Byron says. 

For more on electronic warfare, read how Russia’s dominance in the Arctic Circle plays an outsized role… 

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Your Rundown for Friday, November 18, 2022...

Scrambled GPS 

First, some context… 

A couple weeks ago, we reported how private companies are providing satellite communications in Ukraine. 

“Ukraine's military relies heavily on Elon Musk's SpaceX for broadband internet beamed from its low-Earth orbiting Starlink satellite network,” says an article at Reuters. 

“U.S. firms like Maxar (MAXR.N) are capturing images of the war from satellites in orbit. And tens of thousands of communications devices in Ukraine rely on U.S. satellite communications giant Iridium's (IRDM.O) satellite network.”

The article confirms Byron’s intel: “Since Russia's Feb. 24 invasion into Ukraine, Western officials and companies have accused Moscow of repeated attempts to hack and jam satellite internet signals over the region.”

And when it comes to GPS: “At the moment, the military balance in the Arctic is heavily weighted towards Russia,” says Colin Wall of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 

The Japan Times adds: “Russia’s bases inside the Arctic Circle outnumber NATO’s by about a third, according to data compiled by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and Reuters.”

Why is the Arctic so critically important? 

Because “communications cables and satellite systems, including the global positioning system (GPS) linking both civilian and military users” reside in the Arctic. All of which is “at risk today,” says Andrew Lewis, former commander of NATO’s Joint Task Force. 

The crux of a scrambled GPS? “What you can’t see and what you can’t determine, you can’t defend,” says U.S. Northern Command’s Gen. Glen VanHerck.

Byron concludes: “I mean, the Russians aren't twenty-five feet tall, and they don't succeed everywhere all the time. But they are way better than what we are being told in the Western media. They have deep capabilities, and they hide them so well.”

Market Rundown for Friday, Nov. 18, 2022

S&P 500 futures are up 0.40% to 3,965. 

Oil is down 4.20% to $78.16 for a barrel of WTI. 

Gold is down 0.50% to $1,753.30 per ounce. 

And Bitcoin is hanging out at $16,600. 

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