Jade Helm 2.0: New USAF Drill Set to Disable Some Citizens' GPS


During the administration of former President Barack Obama, thousands of special operations forces massed in the southwestern portion of the United States to participate in the largest domestic military training exercises ever performed in American history.

Dubbed “Jade Helm,” the exercises provoked anxiety among local citizens in states such as Texas and New Mexico over concerns that their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties might be infringed upon, as reported then by The Texas Tribune.

Though three years have since passed since “Jade Helm” was performed and a new president elected to office, history appears to be repeating itself.

According to Flying magazine, beginning Jan. 26 and running through Feb. 18, the U.S. Air Force is conducting yet another round of training exercises, “Red Flag 18-1,” in Nevada that may trigger a possible GPS outage for pilots.

“GPS-equipped aircraft operating in the Western United States should be prepared for possible satellite signal disruptions at various altitudes. The disruptions may lead to traffic delays and even ground stops,” the magazine reported last week.

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Moreover, while the exercises will reportedly occur at the Nevada Test and Training Range at the Nellis Air Force Base, they’re slated to “impact vast portions of the Western U.S. including California, Nevada, Oregon, Wyoming, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Montana and New Mexico.”

What does this mean for you? Nothing too crazy, probably, except for possible 30-plus minute arrival and departure delays at major commercial airports in the affected states, particularly during the first week or so of the exercises.

But that still leaves one more question: Why are the military’s exercises going to affect GPS services?

Retired Marine Alex Hollings noted in a piece for Special Operations Forces Report that “GPS denial is a growing concern among military planners, especially amid reports that Russia has already begun conducting tests of their own GPS spoofing technology over portions of the Black Sea.”

Do you think this kind of exercise is necessary?

“If pilots grow too reliant on GPS coordinates to identify targets and deliver ordnance, they would be at a serious disadvantage when operating in GPS denied airspace,” he added.

The goal, therefore, appears to be to expose the military forces in Nevada to the same conditions they might encounter while “operating in GPS denied airspace.”

A recent statement from Air Force Col. Michael Mathes, the 414th Combat Training Squadron commander, seems to support this.

“We’re trying a few new and different things with Red Flag 18-1,” he said in a news brief last week. “It’s the largest Red Flag ever with the largest number of participants, highlighting the balance of training efficiency with mission effectiveness.”

“Red Flag remains a great mix of heritage and future potential,” he added. “We are very proud of our heritage with the way that Red Flag had improved survivability and readiness over the years. We look forward as we continue to grow readiness through integrated training as well as improving training efficiency.”

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The briefing further noted that this year’s participants include “a variety of attack, fighter and bomber aircraft as well as participants from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Air Force.”

All of whom will have to learn how to fly — and fight — without the assistance of GPS.

Please share this story on Facebook and Twitter and let us know what you think about the effects these Air Force exercises will have on GPS services.

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