Mountain Home AFB to conduct GPS jamming

Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Mobile trailers, like the one shown here, will temporarily block signals transmitted by orbiting Global Positioning System satellites during the upcoming Gunfighter Flag exercise.

A military training exercise at Mountain Home Air Force Base next week is expected to temporarily disrupt satellite-aided navigation signals that's expected to affect Mountain Home and surrounding communities.

Military officials overseeing the Gunfighter Flag exercise here will use jamming equipment that will shut down Global Positioning System signals from Nov. 1 to 4.

Jamming could affect local businesses near the Mountain Home Range Complex, including those in Mountain Home, Grand View and the Bruneau.

Military officials will run the jammers from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and again from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1 to 3 and again from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 4. The jammers pump out a coded signal aimed at disrupting navigation systems used by U.S. military aircraft. It trains aircrews how to identify this type of jamming and to respond accordingly.

The level of realism built into the upcoming exercise reflects the "threat model" that U.S. aircrews train to counteract, base officials said in a previous interview with the Mountain Home News. It's based on the number of countries around the world that can use this type of "asymmetric threat" against various aircraft in the U.S. military's inventory.

"This training is critical to maintain our capabilities against current and future adversaries," said Col. Jefferson O'Donnell, 366th Fighter Wing commander. "We greatly appreciate the support from our community partners and are doing our best to ensure these GPS jamming exercises have a minimal impact on our surrounding agricultural and business industries."

Gunfighter Flag participants will have the opportunity to train in a variety of scenarios that will benefit them in hostile environments, the colonel said.

In April 2015, a similar Gunfighter Flag exercise led to unintended consequences after the jamming equipment also blocked navigation signals used by local farmers, pilots and city workers. Following that exercise, base officials worked out new procedures to ensure word gets out regarding this type of training and how it could potentially affect people that live and work in communities in this part of southern Idaho.