Daily US Times: A carrier strike group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, UK’s largest aircraft carrier, had its automatic identification system (AIS) position faked, researchers have discovered.
The feature is a key safety system used to track naval vessel movements.
Environmental groups SkyTruth and Global Fishing Watch found that nearly 100 naval ships may have had their AIS position faked.
The ships included vessels from the United States and European navies, including 11 from the Royal Navy.
The British Ministry of Defence (MOD) said in a statement that there was no “operational impact” on the carrier strike group, which also featured smaller vessels from Belgian and the Dutch navies, but any manipulation of AIS “could result in a serious incident”.
The MOD said that it is aware of manipulation of AIS tracking data placing carrier strike group vessels in areas where they were not.
It’s not the first time the British defence ministry has confirmed the faking of a British warship’s track.
In June, AIS data showed HNLMS Evertsen and HMS Defender of the Dutch navy leaving port and heading to a naval base in Sevastopol, which is in Russian-annexed Crimea, but image showed the ships have not left the port at all and still in port at Odessa, Ukraine.
When HMS Defender in fact entered waters near the coast of Crimea a few days later – it was shadowed by Russian military planes.
Onboard AIS systems broadcast a ship’s course, speed and location, and show the same data from other vessels.