Air ambulance in Finnmark probably exposed to Russian GPS jamming – NRK Troms and Finnmark

Russia has adopted

Jamming is the term for a way of destroying a signal. Simply sending a signal that overshadows another signal. In this way, communication and navigation systems can be knocked out and lose their function.

” data-term=”jamming”>jamming to protect their airspace from long-range precision weapons.

It is happening after Ukraine carried out drone strikes on military targets inside Russia, according to

This GPS jamming also affects Finnmark, something everyday iFinnmark mentioned earlier this week.

– We are experiencing that we are losing GPS signals in East Finnmark and have several reports confirming this.

This is what Nikolai Hamre, Babcock’s flight commander, tells NRK. It is the company responsible for flying air ambulances in Norway.

– We have not received confirmation that it is from the Russian side. We only know that we lose satellite signals from GPS and GPS based navigation systems when we are in the eastern parts of Finnmark.

The flight commander at Babcock, Nikolai Hamre says there are many indications that the GPS jamming they are experiencing in East Finnmark is coming from the east.

Photo: private

– There are many indications that it is from Russia, but we cannot conclude on this yet, he emphasizes.

But he noticed one thing.

– The further west we fly, the higher in the air we experience the disturbance. This could indicate that we are exposed to GPS ground interference from the east.

Well prepared

Hamre says he has experienced GPS interference at regular intervals over the past few years, but that the cases have risen sharply in the last couple of months.

Widerøe experiences the same.

In December alone, the airline experienced loss of GPS signals in Finnmark 27 times, according to iFinnmark. By comparison, the number had dropped to two or three cases a month before the war.

Hamre assures that they are well prepared for the situation in East Finnmark.

– We have good procedures for this and backup systems that work as they should. The pilots know it can happen in these areas. We also have other navigational aids to descend in the event of a jam, says Flight Commander Hamre.


In the worst case, the jam can mean that the ambulance does not reach the patients or that they are late.

– One consequence of this is that we often have to fly longer. So far, fortunately, we’ve only been a few minutes late. And if we were to lose GPS signals at a critical stage, it’s an additional but manageable burden.

Air ambulance, Finnmark.  Babcock's plane.

Air ambulances are experiencing more and more problems with GPS signals.

Photo: Jan Harald Tomassen / NRK

Hamre explains that the closer to the ground they lose GPS signals, the worse.

– Until now, we have only experienced jamming at a relatively high altitude. It didn’t happen close to the ground during a GPS approach. So it’s more critical. At low altitude, in the worst case, it can prevent us from entering airports where there is a patient waiting.

– We have yet to experience a patient not being reached due to jams.

Big increase

National Communications Authority (Nkom) senior engineer Nicolai Gerrard says there has been a significant increase in GPS jamming in East Finnmark since the end of February this year.

In the last couple of months it has peaked.

– Especially until November, there was a lot of activity. We then recorded 22 days of cases in East Finnmark.

Nkom made several measurements in eastern Finnmark and near the Russian border. Based on the results, most indications are that the GPS interference is coming from the Russian side.

– Yes, we have an idea about it. We cannot say this 100%, as we only have the authority to take measurements on Norwegian territory. But this is what the measurements indicate.

Nicolai Gerrard

Nkom’s Nikolai Gerrard says there is an increase in the number of GPS jamming in East Finnmark in 2022.

Photo: David Jensen

– How likely is it not from Russia?

– When we receive reports, we work to exclude various sources. In the vast majority of cases, potential other causes are ruled out. While we can’t say anything for sure that’s 100% sure, we’re pretty sure this is coming from somewhere outside the Norwegian authority.

Increase after February

In 2022, Nkom recorded 93 days of GPS jamming. More cases are recorded than in the years between 2017 and 2021:

– There wasn’t a perfect overlap with February 24, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, but we saw a significant increase in GPS jamming during the same period after the invasion, Gerrard says and adds:

– We have seen similar increases in the past, for example during the NATO Trident Juncture exercise in 2018, but not to the extent we are seeing now.

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