The DEFCON Warning System™

Ongoing GeoIntel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.  DEFCON Level assessment issued for public notification.  Established 1984.

Why and How Russia Is Jamming American Fighter Jets Near Iran

Russian forces have been jamming GPS systems in the Middle East. The electronic-warfare campaign could affect U.S. forces gathering in the region in advance of potential strikes on Iran.

“Since last spring, pilots flying through the Middle East, specifically around Syria, have noted that their GPS systems have displayed the wrong location or stopped working entirely,” The Times of Israel reported in late June 2019.

The signal that has been disrupting satellite navigation for planes flying through Israeli airspace in recent weeks originates inside a Russian air base inside Syria, according to data collected by a U.S.-based researcher.

This interference to the Global Positioning System reception does not appear to be specifically directed at Israel, but rather the Jewish state is likely collateral damage in an effort by Moscow both to protect its troops from drone attacks and to assert its dominance in the field of electronic warfare, Todd Humphreys, a professor at the University of Texas, told The Times of Israel.

Israeli sources “are increasingly convinced” that three weeks of GPS disruptions for civilian flights are a side effect of Russian jamming and spoofing in Syria, Breaking Defense reported. “Moscow is trying to interfere with both Western airplanes — including cutting-edge stealthy F-22s and F-35s — and improvised terrorist drones.”

The U.S. Air Force starting in April 2019 has deployed F-22 and F-35 stealth fighters to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, respectively, as part of a wider build-up of forces as Washington clashes with Tehran following U.S. president Donald Trump’s decision unilaterally to withdraw the United States from the agreement limiting Iran’s nuclear program.

Now, the situation is rife with rumor, with the Israeli government avoiding any official statement and still investigating other sources. But if Russia is indeed disrupting a friendly nation’s GPS by accident, why haven’t they stopped?

The answer may lie in the limits of Russian electronic warfare, which — while far more potent than U.S. military [electronic warfare] — still relies on raw power more than precise targeting.

Read more at National Interest

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Ongoing Geointel and Analysis in the theater of nuclear war.

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The DEFCON Warning System is a private intelligence organization which has monitored and assessed nuclear threats by national entities since 1984. It is not affiliated with any government agency and does not represent the alert status of any military branch. The public should make their own evaluations and not rely on the DEFCON Warning System for any strategic planning. At all times, citizens are urged to learn what steps to take in the event of a nuclear attack.