Who “Moved” the Position of a U.S. Navy Ship From Odessa to Crimea?

Singapore freight forwarders – Star Concord

In June, a UK Royal Navy destroyer and Dutch Royal Navy ship safely moored in Odessa, Ukraine, were spoofed to locations off-shore of a Russian naval base on Crimea.

One week later, it was a US Navy ship moored in the same port that was spoofed (above).

These are interesting cases in several ways.

First, how was it done?

  • No other vessels seem to have been impacted, so this is much different from the wide-area spoofing the Russians have long conducted in the area.
  • It could have been highly targeted GPS spoofing that only impacted the three ships. But the three ships were in port alongside a pier. Did they even have their GPS and AIS activated?
  • It could be that typical GPS spoofing had nothing to do with it and it was just AIS signals that were imitated and detected by satellites.
  • It is possible that the AIS equipment aboard the three ships was programmed by the ships’ crews to transmit the false information.

Second, who did it?

  • The Russians are clearly capable of doing this. They have regularly spoofed large numbers of vessels in the Black Sea over the last five years. This was a bit different as only one or two vessels were impacted, but it is not much of an additional challenge.
  • The NATO (UK, Dutch, US) crews could have done it. They certainly had access to the equipment and the ability to do it.
  • It could have been a third party. Perhaps a bit more of a challenge, but not a particularly heavy lift for a reasonably competent RF hacker.

Third, why was it done?

  • If it was the Russians, it was likely yet another demonstration of their impressive electronic warfare capability and a chance to show dominance over the West
  • It it was the NATO ship crews, perhaps it was a way of nettling the Russians without the trouble of having to actually sail by. It could also have been an attempt to confuse them with a feint. The UK ship, HMS Defender, actually sailed somewhat close to the spoofed route several days later and was harassed by Russian forces. 
  • If it was a third party, perhaps it was just to cause confusion, hate, and discontent. In the 1997 James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies,” the super-villian spoofs a Royal Navy ship into Chinese waters to provoke an armed conflict (see clip below).

Fair use / CMSI

This article appears courtesy of the Resilient Navigation and Timing Foundation, and it may be found in its original form here

Go to Source