Thursday, January 26, 2023

Russian pilots still use non-military navigation equipment

Despite the Kremlin’s claims of military and technical superiority, the Russian Air Force continues to face a big problem with its navigation systems.

Russian military pilots are still actively using insecure, non-military navigation equipment due to the low quality of Russian own navigation systems.

Ukraine has shared abundant evidence that Russians have added off-the-shelf GPS systems, such as Garmin, to the cockpit of its combat aircraft. During the interrogation of the Russian pilot captured on June 18, it turned out that he had with him a Garmin navigator and a smartphone with the ‘Pronebo’ soft in order to have more accurate navigation than the onboard navigation aids of the Russian Air Forces.


Such GPS receivers have been found in wrecked downed Russian fighter bombers, attack aircraft, and even military helicopters.

On top of that, the UK’s defense minister also confirmed that Russia is taping basic GPS devices to its fighter jets.

Wrecked Russian fighter jets are being found with rudimentary GPS receivers “taped to the dashboards” in Ukraine because their inbuilt navigation systems are so bad, the UK’s defense secretary, Ben Wallace, said.

He also noted that this was due to “the poor quality” of Russia’s own navigation systems.

British intelligence says that in the conflict to date, Russia’s air force cannot gain full air superiority and has operated in a risk-adverse style, rarely penetrating deep behind Ukrainian lines.

“For years, much of Russia’s air combat training has highly likely been heavily scripted and designed to impress senior officials, rather than to develop dynamic initiative amongst air crews,” the message added.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.