Qantas warns flight crews of radio interference and GPS jamming from Chinese warships lurking just off the coast of Australia
- Airline updated its flight standing orders manual with instruction on what to do
- Noted people claiming to be Chinese military contacted planes via VHF radio
- Other planes had GPS jammed ‘off the north west shelf of Australia’
Qantas has warned its pilots of radio interference from people claiming to be Chinese military, and GPS jamming from Chinese warships.
The airline updated its flight standing orders manual on Thursday to include policies on what to do if crews encounter this.
The policy update informed pilots that flights had encountered both hostile actions, sometimes very close to Australia, but safety was not compromised.
‘Qantas Group aircraft have experienced interference on VHF from stations purporting to represent the Chinese Military… in the western Pacific and South China Sea,’ the update began.
‘In addition, Group aircraft have experienced GPS jamming suspected to originate from warships operating off the north west shelf of Australia.’
Qantas has warned its pilots of radio interference from people claiming to be Chinese military, and GPS jamming from Chinese warships
VHF stands for ‘very high frequency’ and covers radio waves at frequencies 30 to 300MHz that are used for many kinds of radio communication.
The new policy instructed pilots to stay on course if they received ‘unwarranted VHF communications/interference’ claiming to be Chinese military.
They should then report it to the controlling air traffic control authority and submit an incident report on the Intelex software after landing.
The International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations earlier this month made a similar warning to pilots of all airlines.
The safety bulletin said the interference came on frequencies 121.50 or 123.45 and mainly occurred in the South China Sea, Philippine Sea, and east of the Indian Ocean.
‘In some cases, the flights were provided vectors to avoid the airspace over the warship,’ it said.
Qantas told pilots aircraft had experienced GPS jamming suspected to originate from warships (pictured) operating off the north west shelf of Australia
Pilots were also warned about possible interference of airlines’ Global Navigation Satellite System and radar altimeters.
They were advised not to respond to the warships, and submit reports to their airline and air traffic control, just as Qantas instructed.
Qantas notified staff of the policy update in the same week Australia announced a landmark deal to buy American nuclear submarines under the AUKUS agreement.
Australia will have Virginia class submarines built for its navy by the US and be taught how to operate nuclear subs and American weapons systems.
The RAN will later switch to locally built nuclear submarines based on the next-generation of British designs, still with American weapons systems.
Australia on Friday morning also announced it would buy 220 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the US for about $1.3 billion.
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