Scotland: The Royal Navy has suspended its plan of jamming Global Positioning System (GPS) signals as part of the Europe’s largest military exercise, following complaints from fishermen.
The Royal Navy had earlier in September issued warnings that GPS signals in parts of Scotland would be disrupted during its military exercise called Joint Warrior. However, the Western Isles fishermen have claimed that the first they knew of it was when their equipment went offline last Friday.
The Royal Navy said the military would seek to address their safety concerns. Joint Warrior is held twice a year and jamming of GPS in April drew no complaints, according to the military.
The Royal Navy said all appropriate actions were taken to warn of the disruption during this year’s second exercise, including a guide which was issued on 7 September. The guide gives the locations and timings for the jamming of GPS.
The Scottish government confirmed it received the guide in September and put it on its website, but a spokeswoman added that it was the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) responsibility to distribute the information.
A Royal Navy spokesman said that temporary jamming was routinely practiced during military exercises and was an essential part of preparation for operations.
Westerns Isles local authority, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said the jamming had also been blamed for affecting internet connectivity and mobile phone and satellite TV.
Exercise Joint Warrior runs until 17 October and involves Nato warships, aircraft and ground troops.