Russia Is Jamming Royal Air Force Transport Aircraft Flying Out Of Cyprus: Reports
Repeated attempts have been made to jam the GPS navigation systems used by U.K. Royal Air Force aircraft operating from an airbase in Cyprus, the east Mediterranean island that serves as a hub for the service’s efforts in the anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq and Syria. Two British newspapers have concluded that Russia is behind the actions and, in the past, that country has also launched electronic warfare attacks against U.S. drones in Syria, and probably also against U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunships.
Reports today in The Times and Telegraph newspapers cite “military intelligence sources” who say that the electronic warfare efforts targeted the GPS systems of RAF A400M Atlas C1 transport aircraft departing RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus, while troops were on board. GPS systems of this type are widely used for accurate aircraft navigation, increasing safety and efficiency, with most aircraft having backup systems if the GPS is lost.
The same sources cite Russia as being the only “hostile state” able to jam GPS signals in this way in the region and that doing so would be in keeping with its “sub-threshold activity,” referring to warfare that involves confrontation while avoiding open armed conflict.
“The attacks could have prevented the pilot from knowing where the aircraft was or the direction it was flying in and potentially resulted in casualties,” The Times described. Each Atlas can carry up to 116 fully-equipped troops, although a mixed load of personnel and cargo is more common.
“This is an example of another state being hostile and reckless for no apparent reason,” the unnamed source added. “These are transport aircraft bringing in spare parts. It’s not like they are fighter jets.”