Israel ‘Deflates’ Iranian Shahed-136 Drone Threats By Cutting-Off Its Ability To Hit Targets With Accuracy

As Israel remains on high alert for potential retaliation following a suspected airstrike on an Iranian diplomatic building in Syria on April 1, the Israeli military has initiated a comprehensive blockade of GPS signals across a significant expanse of the country.

This defensive measure aims to disrupt potential missile and drone attacks amidst mounting tensions with Iran and its allied militias.

The airstrike in question, targeting the Iranian diplomatic compound in Damascus, resulted in the death of a senior Iranian general, General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, along with six other military officials. 

This marked a notable escalation in the ongoing covert conflict between Israel and Iran, raising concerns of a direct confrontation with far-reaching consequences. Notably, this incident represents the most high-profile killing since the 2020 US drone strike that eliminated Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Soleimani.

Despite Israel’s silence regarding the airstrike on the Iranian diplomatic premises, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promptly accused Israel of the attack. 

Iranian officials in Tehran condemned the strike as an unprecedented assault on a diplomatic mission, vowing a forceful response. The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard stated that any attack resulting in the death of senior generals would not be left without a response. 

Israeli authorities, anticipating potential reprisals, have taken proactive measures, including the cancellation of leaves for soldiers serving in combat units. 

Moreover, disruptions to GPS systems have been widely reported across central regions of Israel since April 4, strategically aimed at hampering GPS-dependent weapons systems. 

Citizens have voiced difficulties accessing location-based app services in major cities such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Monitoring website GPSJAM confirmed widespread interference with location signals throughout Israel. Social media platforms have shared instances of GPS devices erroneously indicating distant locations, such as Jerusalem-based devices registering in Cairo.

IDF spokesman Rear Adm Daniel Hagari confirmed the implementation of GPS blocking and acknowledged the deployment of this tactic, colloquially referred to as “spoofing.” 

Moreover, the Israeli military advised citizens to manually set their location on the official Home Front Command app. This would ensure they receive rocket alerts for the correct area.

Meanwhile, Israel has recalled some ambassadors and evacuated embassies from multiple locations. Some ambassadors have also been instructed to refrain from attending public events.

How GPS Disruption Strengthens Israel’s Defense Against Iranian Drone Threats? 

Iran possesses a large arsenal of deadly drones and missiles, and Israeli and US officials anticipate that Iran may retaliate with drone or missile attacks on Israeli targets. 

In recent times, Iranian-made drones, like Shahed-136, have gained notoriety for their effectiveness in the Ukraine war. These drones have demonstrated the ability to evade traditional defense systems and accurately strike their intended targets.

A recent incident underscored these concerns when a drone, believed to have been launched from Iraq by the Islamic Resistance of Iraq—a coalition of Iran-backed paramilitary groups—struck a hangar at a naval base in Israel’s southern city of Eilat. 

Israeli defense forces were unable to intercept the drone before it inflicted damage. By jamming GPS signals, Israel is now likely aiming to disrupt the guidance systems of these weapons, thereby reducing their accuracy and effectiveness. 

The Israeli military has stated that their disruption of GPS signals, which can confuse targeting systems for weapons, is a defensive measure aimed at safeguarding the country. 

According to Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari, this action was taken to counter threats effectively. He acknowledged that while this disruption may cause inconvenience, it is deemed essential for enhancing defense capabilities.

The implementation of GPS disruption measures is not a new strategy for Israel. Since the onset of its conflict with Hamas in early October, disruptions have intermittently occurred in the northern regions, where Iranian-backed Hezbollah militias have launched rocket attacks. 

Iranian Shahed Drone
File Image: Shahed-136

Additionally, southern Israel, particularly around Eilat, has experienced signal scrambling due to missile and drone assaults orchestrated by Iranian-backed Yemeni and Iraqi militias.

Israeli security forces are employing GPS spoofing techniques to deceive GPS-guided weapons, such as drones, by providing false location data. This tactic aims to divert the weapons from their intended targets.

Similar strategies have been witnessed in conflicts around the globe, including between Ukraine and Russia, where both sides have employed GPS spoofing against each other’s drones. 

The goal is simple yet effective: to lead the targeted drones astray or induce them to crash by feeding them misleading location information. This tactic has proven particularly effective against civilian drone models, which may lack robust defense mechanisms against such manipulation.

However, the implications extend beyond merely disrupting drone operations. Guided missiles reliant on GPS navigation can also fall victim to spoofed signals, potentially resulting in unintended targets and endangering civilian lives. 

While GPS spoofing serves as a relatively effective countermeasure against drone threats, its indiscriminate application can disrupt ordinary life.