03:53 GMT +315 December 2018
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    A pilot from the US Marines flys a C-130 transport aircraft as part of the NATO Trident Juncture 2018 exercise departing from Orland Air Base near Brekstad, Norway, October 31, 2018.

    Norway, Finland Report GPS Signal Loss, Media Claim Russians May Have Done it

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    The reports came during the wrap-up phase of NATO’s largest collective defence exercise since the Cold War, called Trident Juncture, which involved 50,000 troops, 10,000 military vehicles, 140 combat aircraft and 70 ships.

    Pilots in Norway and Finland taking part in NATO’s Trident Juncture wargames have complained of disruptions to GPS signals in their countries’ northern regions earlier this month, Business Insider reported.

    READ MORE: NATO Troops Bruise, Arrest Autistic Man During Massive Drills in Norway

    Although the reason behind the disturbances to the GPS signals, overlapping with the finals days of the drills, remains unclear, the media outlet alleged that Russia might be responsible for it, citing its concern over the military exercise.

    Business Insider quoted a press officer for Widerøe, a Norway-based airline, who told The Barents Observer in early November that pilots had been experiencing GPS signal loss when flying into airports in the northern Norwegian region of Finnmark, near the Russian border.

    At the same time, the press officer told the Observer that the airline did not want to speculate on the reasons why the signals disappeared, and did not mention Russia at all.

    The Observer also cited Per Eirik Heimdal, technical director of the Norwegian Communication Authority, as saying that the state agency was in dialogue with aviation authorities and had purportedly measured jamming in Norway’s border area to Russia in the past.

    Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Norway Wenche Olsen, in turn, told the Barents Observer that her agency was aware of the disruptions:

    “It is difficult to say what the reasons could be, but there are reasons to believe it could be related to military exercise activities outside Norway’s borders.”

    Aviation authorities issued notices warning about potential loss of GPS signals, with Finnish air navigation officials giving a similar notice to airmen on possible jamming, but refused to identify the alleged source of interference:

    “For safety reasons, we issued it for an expansive enough area so that pilots could be prepared not to rely solely on a GPS,” the operational director said.

    The Barents Observer also claimed that Russia had “invested heavily in electronic warfare equipment,” and was allegedly training its forces on how to jam GPS-, radio-, and mobile phone signals.

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    GPS disturbances purportedly related to military activity has been reported in Norway before. In October 2017, Norwegian intelligence services claimed that electronic disruptions, including GPS jamming in the northern part of the country, came from Russia, which was conducting its Zapad-2017 military exercise in September.

    Tags:
    border, military drills, drills, military exercise, aviation, airline, airmen, disruption, signals, GPS, Trident Juncture 18, NATO, Russia, Finland, Norway
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