Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) has called attention to the importance of preparing for hybrid influencing in the aftermath of suspected interference with global positioning system (GPS) signals in Finnish Lapland.
“We aren’t talking about a small issue, because it has endangered civil aviation safety,” he underscored during his weekly interview with YLE Radio Suomi on Sunday.
YLE on Friday reported that Air Navigation Services Finland (ANS Finland), the state-owned company responsible for managing the use of Finnish airspace, issued a so-called notice to airmen (NOTAM) due to widespread disturbances in GPS signals in Finnish Lapland. The warning was issued on Tuesday and lifted late on Wednesday.
The disturbances have been linked to Trident Juncture, a military exercise organised in Norway by Nato. Norwegian authorities have indicated that similar disturbances in the country's airspace have likely been caused by Russia.
Sipilä on Sunday stated that it is indeed possible that the interference was carried out by Russia. He also reminded, however, that the investigation into the widespread disturbances has yet been completed.
“Let’s just say that technology-wise it’s relatively easy to disturb a radio signal transmitted across an open space. It’s possible that Russia was the cause of the disturbance; it’s known to have such capabilities,” he said.
“The message to everyone involved in the military exercise is surely that [the country] has such capabilities.”
Sipilä also revealed that similar interference has been detected in conjunction with a couple of earlier military exercises but assured that all stakeholders practise both how to conduct and respond to such interference.
Jukka Tarkka, an independent political columnist, similarly reminded that the organisers of military exercises in all likelihood are prepared for GPS interference.
“If it hadn’t been taken into account in planning the exercise, the party responsible for the interference did Nato a service. The defender must be able to take action also when faced with something unexpected. It’s very likely that they had also prepared for interference. The only thing that’s odd is if its effects weren’t communicated to civil aviation in advance,” he wrote in his blog.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi