Russia Steps Up GPS Jamming In Nordic Countries


Finland, Norway and Poland have all reported Russian jamming of GPS is affecting not just military units but airlines and air ambulance services. According to the Barents Observer, GPS jamming is practically a daily occurrence near the Russian border where Russia is stepping up “hybrid warfare.” It said the number of jamming incidents has more than doubled since Russia invaded Ukraine two years ago. Russia uses GPS jamming to thwart Ukrainian drone attacks.

The report makes no mention of GPS spoofing, in which receivers are tricked into displaying incorrect navigation data on screens, but it is nevertheless a concern for non-military operators. “We depend on good GPS signals to quickly locate areas with people missing in extreme weather,” said Finmark Police Deputy Chief Trond Eirik Nilsen. Further south, Polish officials say jamming has affected aircraft there and over the Baltic Sea.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. It is true that a lot of satellite positioning network interference has been detected over FINLAND, but the source of the jamming has not been verified. It is naive to believe that only Russia would be capable of jamming. It is also possible that the disruptors are from the same direction as the Nordstream gas pipeline bombers. I repeat again: possible – not certain.

    For example, the airline Finnair has noticed harassment in the southern Baltic Sea.

    Based on data from the GPS Jam website, which collects GPS data, jamming occurred on Sunday in the Gulf of Finland and in the eastern parts of Mainland Finland. During the previous day, interference has also been seen over the Baltic countries.

    It is widely believed that the source of the harassment is in Russia. But as so often – common belief is no proof. So many strange things are happening and have happened in Europe in recent years that they all cannot be explained by just believing in a single evil.

  2. This is happening around the Middle East as well and it’s never going to get better.

    Time to develop and deploy a new navigation solution. I know there are various ideas in the pipeline but it would be good to hear from someone here who is knowledgable on the subject.

  3. I believe there are three brands of GPS services being offered, no mention if all three services are being impacted with jamming.

  4. Although laser referenced inertial navigation has its limitations, one of those being its reliance during long range navigation on external sources for updating, laser refs have become much more able to maintain accuracy long range than were the old INS units. I always felt good having a completely self contained and independent means of navigation on board for precisely the problem this article addresses.

    • I agree, and hope modern AHRS solid state accelerometers and gyros can be improved and made cost effective, sufficiently for inertial nav. An inertial nav system is self contained and immune from external influences.

    • Today’s stand-alone laser ref has a drift rate of up to 2nm/hr, not nearly accurate enough for navigating the current system.

      • Agreed that today’s laser refs are not accurate enough for navigating the current system standing alone in day to day normal operations. However, in abonormal operation scenarios, within range of most land masses they can be updated by sources other than GPS. In the case where they are not in range of non-GPS updating sources, a 14 hour flight with a drift rate of 2nm/hr would result in a 28 GNE. A 28 mile GNE at the end of a 14 hour crossing likely won’t result in a serious traffic conflict and it will not get you so far off course that your intended destination is out of range. But, theoretically, yes it could net you a violation. However, if GPS spoofing after the end of a 14 hour haul crossing is a factor in a GNE, I can’t imagine that scenario would ultimately result in a violation. So, both for safety and legal protection, I still like the odds with today’s stand alone last refs in the case where push comes to shove in a GPS spoofing scenario.

  5. A few years ago I read an article that LORAN could replace GPS in the event it was inoperable. I know LORAN is long gone, and not coming back and VOR’s are being phased out and NDB’s are mostly gone. A jammer the size of a cigarette pack will jam a GPS approach. Bad actors can really upset economics. Jamming is an easy start in asymmetrical warfare.

  6. Europe and Ukraine may not be as good as Russia on dealing with GPS and phones during a conflict yet but I see a desperate tech scramble in the works here.

    Russia can get away with disrupting communication and navigation all over the continent, with short and long range jammers, giving them an advantage thanks to Russia’s Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies (KRET) a military spec radio-electronic, aviation and radio-electronic equipment manufacturer.

    The problem I see is that Europe tends to react instead of being proactive, giving Russia the advantage as they have better technology in this area. To deal with this, NATO countries and Ukraine need to step up their game. They should work on creating technology that can stop or neutralize the jamming devices Russia might use. It’s like developing a shield against their attacks. They should team up, share knowledge, and invest in new ideas to make this happen quickly.

    Besides that, they should also find other ways to communicate that are harder for Russia to play with. This might involve using satellites, secure channels, or networks that are spread out and not easy to disrupt. Where is US military tech on this?

  7. It’s important to consider that there are currently 6 global satnav systems. The Wikipedia entry on SatNav should be required reading for anyone concerned about the Russian jamming of GPS since there are 5 alternatives to GPS.

    Some GPS receivers used in other applications, autos, hiking, cellphones etc, support one or more of these alternative systems. I doubt if many aviation nav systems have this capability now, but clearly will need to consider these alternatives Global Nav systems as a backup to GPS. The EU’s Galileo system is the most mature after GPS.

    One note of caution is that all of these systems operate in the same frequency bands… so, if the Russians can jam GPS, they can jam these alternative systems, but likely not all of them at once. And, they can’t use broadband jamming since their GLONASS system uses the same frequency bands and would also be affected.

    Finally, the US needs to do a better job of maintaining the original VORTAC nav system as an alternative to GPS when needed.

  8. This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows the history of Putin and the Russian military. If Putin is successful in capturing Ukraine, he will not stop there. He plans on recreating as much of the old Soviet Union as he can. His next conquest is likely the Balkan countries that would give him better access to the Baltic Sea and into the North Sea. Plus, his long border with Finland has always been an issue for his perceived security. The disruption of the world’s GPS networks is also a reason why he is planning to launch nuclear weapons into space. (In direct violation of several arms reduction treaties, by the way) The warheads would not be used to attack ground targets, but to destroy our satellites and blind our military’s cruise missiles and aircraft. Anyone who thinks we need to stop sending arms to Ukraine is setting us up for the start of world war III. Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain tried to appease Adolf Hitler in 1939 to avoid war, but ended up guaranteeing that Hitler would attempt to invade England. Bullies can’t be appeased. Those who fail to learn from history are cursed to repeat it.

    • Putin’s desire to recreate elements of the old Soviet Union, as outlined in your narrative, reeks of a broader geopolitical strategy that extends beyond Ukraine. Your reference to potential future conquests in the Balkans and the motivation behind it, namely gaining better access to strategic waterways like the Baltic Sea and North Sea, adds another layer to the perceived threat. Unfortunately, there are strong remains of Neville Chamberlain and little of Patton.

  9. I wouldn’t be so hasty in giving Chamberlain a bad rap, there is a fairly large body of opinion that what he did was to give the UK breathing space in order to rearm, he knew a war was coming but the country was not yet prepared. As to the “Those who fail to learn from history are cursed to repeat it” you need to be sure that you’re taking away the correct lesson.

    • Neville Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement, as per the the Munich Agreement of 1938, is widely regarded as having been a flawed strategy.

      The key points highlighting why Chamberlain’s approach is criticized include:
      1. Failure to Prevent War
      2. Abandonment of Czechoslovakia, and Poland
      3. Misjudgment of Hitler’s Intentions
      4. Empowering Hitler

      Chamberlain’s actions were based on the desire to avoid another devastating war, considering the trauma of World War I. Even so, the appeasement policy ultimately did not prevent conflict and is currently recognized as having contributed to the escalation of hostilities in Europe. Winston Churchill, was a vocal critic of appeasement and advocated for a more aggressive stance against Nazi Germany.

      Nonetheless, granting that the study of history is a complex and ever-evolving process, I agree that historical viewpoints can evolve over time as new evidence emerges and as historians go over events with different approaches and perspectives. You may be correct in defending Chamberlain. Therefore, your defense of Chamberlain may have merit.