Crews At Ellsworth Air Force Base Training To Fly Without GPS

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In the event of serious conflict, the GPS system is probably one of the first systems any enemy will target, so it is very important for bomber crews to be able to function without it.  This week, a limited part of the air space over Montana will lose GPS coverage, and the bombers will be flying through. 

“Any country that has the ability to jam GPS assets; that’s what we’re training against.” Cmnd Chief Adam Vizi with the 28th Bomb Wing said.

Ten bomber crews from five Air Force Bases will be taking part, and they will consist of B-52, B-1 and B-2 bombers.  

“So, really, it gives us the opportunity to integrate with other players, which we don’t normally get on a day-to-day basis.” Lt. Col. Jonathon Slinkard 28th Op. Support said.

One reason that added integration is possible is the recent expansion of the Powder River training area. 

“It’s given us a greater volume of air space in which to work with these other players. And in particular, last night was the first time we were able to use air space up to flight level 510, or 51,000 feet, which allowed us to bring in players that have to operate at those altitudes.”

The elimination of GPS navigation will require a sort of back-to-basics approach for the crews. Other means are available and will be used in the exercise, including plain old dead reconning, using maps and manual calculations. 

“We can use radar, dead reconning, and terrain association from the ground.”

Those are all basic, backup skills that have to be honed. And the crews will be doing just that over the coming days.

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