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GPS jamming, put the safety in the North of Norway in danger

KIRKENES, norway (The Barents Observer / Dagbladet): - We are dependent on good GPS signals to quickly be able to find areas with missing persons in extreme wea

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GPS jamming, put the safety in the North of Norway in danger

KIRKENES, norway (The Barents Observer / Dagbladet): - We are dependent on good GPS signals to quickly be able to find areas with missing persons in extreme weather such as what we have today, " says visepolitimester Tom Eirik Nilsen in Finnmark Police district to the Barents Observer.

On Thursday moved a powerful wind with snow up into the Barents sea. It caused problems from Svalbard in the north to Troms and Finnmark on the mainland. The storm hit the northern part of Norway at the same time that it was discovered even a jamming of the GPS signals in the areas close to the border of the Russian Kola peninsula.

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- the Caa confirms that we have come with a NOTAM (Notice to Airmen). information to flight crew about important issues relating to flight) due to GPS interference to the west of Kirkenes, says director of communications Frank's Nordheim to the Barents Observer.

He emphasises that the Caa are not concerned about luftfartssikkerheten, and shows that there are other, ground-based navigation systems that can be used when GPS is not available.

according to our routines will all airlines be notified about the GPS interference", says Nordheim. the

Widerøes Dash 8 aircraft operating from airports along the entire coast of Northern Norway. Photo: Thomas Nilsen Show more Fear for life
GPS-jamming, however, may have far more consequences than for luftnavigasjonen.

Ellen Katrine Hætta, chief of police in the county of Finnmark, says that beredskapsstyrkene her often rely on GPS signals when they shall go out as a reply on the alarm.

police cars and other devices use GPS navigation. Last winter we managed to save the life of a missing person because he triggered the GPS nødsenderen. Without the GPS signal, we would not been able to find him in the heavy snow, " says Hætta.

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- This is the fifth time since the autumn of 2017 that the GPS signals are being interfered with in this area.

Police were notified of the aviation authorities in the middle of the day on Wednesday, and sent out a crew to check the situation for their own systems.


- So far we have not detected any lack of GPS signals on the ground. At the same time is a serious challenge for kriseberedskapen our. We do not know when the signals are in place or gone, " explains the superintendent.

Some people have with portable sikkerhetsalarmer of regard to personal safety. These alarms also enlightens precisely where they are, which is important for law enforcement to be able to react quickly, " says Ellen Katrine Hætta.

She explains how important GPS is in all search and rescue missions.

- It is happening now is very worrying, and can put public safety in danger.

Hætta says that the jamming of GPS-signals is not only a matter for the military, but even more for the civilians.

Kirkenes is located just eight kilometres from the border with Russia. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Coming from the Kola

In november of last year confirmed the minister of defence facing the Barents Observer that the GPS-jamming originated from the Kola peninsula. Russia has however denied all allegations.

Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Russian defence minister, claimed that the Norwegian accusations were intended to "distract attention away from the scandal with the new "Helge Ingstad", which sank after a collision with an oil tanker disasters in the north of Bergen, norway, shortly after the major NATO exercise Trident Juncture, in november of last year.

Russia's embassy in Oslo has not answered questions from the Barents Observer about the origin of the recent GPS jamming.

Cooperation with FSB

police Chief Hætta says that her office has taken up the questions around the GPS jamming in the meetings with the Russian security police FSB.

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I have taken up the issue, and explained what kind of consequences it can have for search and rescue. The FSB replied that they would investigate the matter, " says Hætta to the Barents Observer.

the Danger of loss of life

Bent-Ove Aviation, the director of the joint rescue coordination centre Northern Norway (HRSS) fear that the loss of the GPS signals will cause the rescue to be delayed.

- In case of crisis situations on land, at sea or in the air can loss of GPS signals increase the risk of navigation errors, and to do that it takes a much longer time to find a person or a group of people who are in danger , " says Aviation.

He fears that this will lead to greater risk of loss of life.

Bent-Ove Aviation is the director of the joint rescue coordination centre Northern Norway (HRSS). Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Bent-Ove Aviation says that the loss of GPS signals also will lead to greater risk for letings and rescue personnel at the because of misleading navigation.

One can also expect that there is a delay in the rescue attempt because of the cumbersome navigation in the area and less accurate positioning of the persons who are in danger. This can lead to greater risk that lives will be lost. the

Aviation says that the navigation both at sea and in the air partly depends on GPS navigation.

HRSS coordinates all search and rescue operations at sea.

Invasion of Norwegian territory

Visepolitimester in Finnmark Trond Eirik Nilsen says that the frequent GPS jamming, we have seen in the border areas towards Russia in the last year to interfere with the Norwegian politis actions.

"We have encouraged the National kommunikasjonsmyndighet to come to the north to measure the perturbations of the satelittnavigasjonssignaler," says Nilsen.

Police in Kirkenes informs that the earlier the interference of GPS signals has been stronger the closer to the Russian border they have been measured.

Town center is located only eight kilometres from the border with Russia.

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