In Finland, for the first time in the first week, air navigation provided a warning to air traffic about the widespread disruption of GPS navigation in Lapland.
The warning covered Finland from the north of the Rovaniemi area north of the Norwegian border and east of Kittilä to the Russian border.
The warning was issued by the ANS Finland (Air Navigation Services Finland), responsible for Finnish air navigation, on Tuesday.
It was a NOTAM (Notice To Airmen) alert for air traffic, which began on Tuesday and lasted until midnight.
The warning was readable, for example, on Eurocontrol’s website (you go to another service).
Air traffic control received information from the Defense Forces
According to Heikki Isoman , ANS Finland’s operational director , the information that was given to the warning was received from the Finnish Defense Forces.
– We have also received information from the Finnish Defense Forces. So the information is released as soon as we get it, Isoma is answering the question of whether the information came from a disruption to the Defense Forces.
– We have received information from various sources that a GPS signal may be unreliable in North or North-East Finland. Information is wanted to be provided to airlines and aviators for security reasons, says Isomaa.
According to Isoma, the warning was given for a large area.
“For prudence, we have released it in a sufficiently large area that pilots can be prepared to not rely solely on the GPS,” says Isomaa.
Isoma does not agree to evaluate the source of harassment.
The Defense Forces Communications Director, Colonel Sami Nurmi answered YLE’s e-mail questions that the Finnish Defense Forces did not comment on this issue. Nurmi advised us to ask the FICORA.
In Norway, disturbances have been reported for a long time
The North American airborne GPS disturbance was announced last Friday (you go to another service) atBarents Observer, appearing in Kirkenes, Norway.
Norway’s warning about GPS harassment was already announced at the end of October. The same day saw the launch of the Trident Juncture Nuclear War. The exercise ended on Wednesday. Finland also participated in the exercise.
Norway’s warning to pilots is still in force and will end on Friday afternoon. Finnish air traffic control ANS has also published Norway’s current warning in its bulletin (you go to another service).
The Norwegian warning concerns the air traffic control area of Kirkkoniemi Airport, Finland and the Russian border. The air navigation area extends to Finland to the northeastern side of Inari Lake.
In Norway, in the same area, GPS harassment has been identified at least a year ago. The Norwegian authorities have estimated harassment coming from Russia.
FICORA was still aware
Last autumn in Norway, Nkom’s Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (NIK) estimates that harassment will come from the Russian side. At that time, Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority responded that there was no information on harassment .
Yle asked the FICORA Monday about whether it has information about recent GPS disturbances in Norway. FICORA responded on Tuesday that it had no other information than what was mentioned in the previously mentioned Barents Observer article.
On Thursday, FICORA clarified its response after hearing about the ANS Finland warning about Finland.
Director Jarmo Ilme of the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority responded to YLE’s e-mail question, stating that the agency had been aware of harassment, but since no one has reported having suffered a disruption, the agency has no reason to intervene.
In Norway and Finland, the authorities assure that the harassment of the GPS signal will not endanger air traffic, as there are other navigational instruments other than GPS.
According to Heikki Isoma, Chief Operating Officer of Finnish Air Navigation, no announcements of problems have come and the warning has not affected the number of flights to Lapland.