Military Aviation

Ten bomber crews will train at Ellsworth AFB to learn how to fight without GPS coverage

In the event of serious conflict the GPS system is probably one of the first systems any enemy will target

Ten B-52, B-1 and B-2 bomber crews are at Ellsworth Air Force Base (AFB) for an exercise to learn how to fight when GPS signals are jammed.

In the event of serious conflict in fact, 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. As reported by Keloland, 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 pointed out.

“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.

A sort of back-to-basics approach for the crews will be required because of the elimination of the GPS navigation. 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.”

This drill is possible also thanks to 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.”

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. B-1B Lancer 28th FW, 34th BS Thunderbirds, EL/86-129 / 2005

Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Randahl Jenson / U.S. Air Force

Artwork courtesy of

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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