At the end of 2023 there were GPS signal interference noticed in the Baltic Sea region. This problem delayed communication between air and sea traffic participants. Russia is blamed for this.
At the end of December, GPS signal tracking platform Gpsjam.org noticed GPS signal interference in the Baltic Sea region. Interference was observed in Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Poland, Sweden and Russia, as reported by Estonian public media ERR.
ERR reports that the was the most interference in Estonia on the 31st of December. Gpsjam.org images show that wide-scale interference observed along the country’s eastern border and southern parts. Significant GPS signal interference was also observed in Latvia and eastern parts of Finland.
Estonian army reports that GPS signal interference was not significant, and operations of the country’s navy and air forces was not affected. Estonian Ministry of Defence reports that it will not publicly comment incidents like that.
Estonian air navigation service provider Lennuliiklusteeninduse, which is in charge of Estonian air traffic, told ERR that GPS is only one of the navigation systems used in this field. This means interference was not significant.
Estonian Consumer Protection and Technical Regulation Authority (TTJA), which monitors frequencies, reveals that a slight interference with GPS signal has been observed since June.
TTJA frequencies management service’s head Erko Kulu said the source of the interference is located in Russia’s Leningrad Oblast.
Swedish Transport Agency says that the first report about GPS navigation system interference was received from Southern Sweden Civil Aviation Authority on the 18th of December.
According to the agency, the biggest GPS system interference in the region was observed shortly after. It affected Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Poland and Baltic States.
Lieutenant Colonel Joakim Paasikivi of the Norwegian Academy of Defence told Swedish public television SVT that it is possible Russia is responsible for this sabotage. He also said it is unconfirmed, however.
Polish media, too, reported “mystical and wide-scale” GPS signal interference ranging from the south of Sweden in the Baltic Sea all the way to Poland and Lithuania.
During Christmas Polish Air Traffic Service distributed a warning to airlines. Local experts said it is possible the interference was due to weather conditions.
Gpsjam.org owner John Wiseman mentioned on X that this was the biggest interference event every observed by the platform in two years since its foundation.
Latvian National Armed Forces (NBS) do not have information regarding this interference, as LETA was told by NBS.
On the 22nd of December 2023 Russian Ministry of Defence reported that the Russian Baltic Sea Fleet’s radio-electronic combat unit engaged in exercises in the exclave of Kaliningrad. According to information from Russian authorities, 100 troops and approximately 20 military vehicle units participated in those exercises.
During this exercise “specialists practised […] navigation and radio communication interference activities of potential enemies,” the statement mentioned.
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