Norway, Finland suspect Russia of jamming GPS

November 12, 2018  - By
Photo: NATO/Espen Hofoss, Forsvarets forskningsinstitutt

Photo: NATO/Espen Hofoss, Forsvarets forskningsinstitutt

NATO conducted its largest military exercise since the Cold War in the frigid waters and icy mountains of Norway Oct. 25-Nov. 7.

During the final days of the Trident Juncture exercise, GPS signals guiding ships, aircraft, tanks, trucks and troops began to fail. Tracking screens flickered and positions were suddenly wrong from a few meters to hundreds of kilometers.

Civilian airliners, cars, trucks, cargo ships and smartphones operating in and around Norway and Finland experienced similar disruptions. Norway-based airline Wideroe told The Barents Observer that its pilots were reporting the loss of GPS signals when flying to airports in northern Norway and Finland. Airfields affected ranged from Kirkenes, on Norway’s border with Russia, to Lyngen in Troms, much further west.

Russia is the chief suspect of jamming the signals in reaction to the massive size and proximity of the military exercises. Russia also has recently conducted massive military exercises in the Baltics.

“It is possible that Russia has been the disrupting party in this,” Finland’s Prime Minster Juha Sipila told local media. “Russia is known to possess such capabilities.”

Trident Juncture involved all 29 NATO alliance members. Neutral Sweden and Finland also took part amid growing uncertainty over Russia’s ambitions in the tense region.