It should have been no surprise, then, that
would apply EW to its operations in
the Russia Middle
East and , in particular. The Air Force has acknowledged that AC-130
gunships are being adversely affected by Russian/Syrian EW efforts. Syria
"Right now in
, we're in the most
aggressive [electronic warfare] environment on the planet from our
adversaries," Gen. Raymond A. Thomas III [head of Syria Special Operations
Command] said April 25 before an audience at the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence
Foundation's GEOINT 2018 Symposium.” (1) U.S.
"They're testing us everyday -- knocking our communications down, disabling our AC-130s, et cetera," Thomas said during his speech …” (1)
This is some of the best news I’ve heard in a long time. It means that we’re being given a hard lesson in EW, we’re being forced to learn how to operate in an EW environment, and we’re being shown which of our equipment works and which doesn’t. We can only benefit from this.
Recall that during the Cold War, the Navy became masters of modern ASW because there were Soviet submarines seemingly everywhere. We were forced to practice real ASW against the actual opponents we would face in a war. It made us better.
There were reports of Russian aircraft directing EW attacks at the USS Cook in the
The claim was that they “shut down” the destroyer. The claim has been generally discredited and
it is even doubtful whether any attempted attack occurred. I hope it did and I would like to see conduct regular EW attacks against
our naval forces. Russia
There have been confirmed GPS spoofing attacks in the
Black Sea, presumably by although the source doesn’t really
matter (2). I just hope that our naval
forces are subjected to GPS denial attacks.
It can only benefit us to be forced to learn how to navigate without GPS
or in a GPS contested environment. Russia
“Russia has installed a modern mobile electronic warfare system in Crimea to eavesdrop on U.S. ships in the Black Sea and potentially jam their communications, a
confirmed to USNI News on Monday.” U.S.
“The system is designed to both collect signals emanating from adversary ships or aircraft as well as jam high-frequency communications.” (3)
The article cited sources that suggested that the Aegis system would not be affected but that data links could be. I can only hope that
attempts to use the full
capabilities of their system against our ships.
We can only benefit from the attempts. Russia
An obvious corollary to Russian EW attacks is the question, why aren’t we conducting our own EW directed at Russian assets? To be fair, it’s possible that we are and just aren’t talking about it. However, if we were, I’m sure that
would be screaming to the world
about our use of death rays and brain zappers against passive, law-abiding
Russian service members. Thus, it seems
obvious that we aren’t. This may be due
to a desire to keep our abilities secret, which is understandable if misguided,
or may be due to a lack of effective capabilities, which is a more likely
reason, or may be due to a paralyzing fear of escalation and a lack of
intestinal fortitude to confront the Russians, which is the most likely
Withholding EW actions due to a desire to keep capabilities secret is theoretically valid but fails the reality check test.
and Russia undoubtedly know all about our
capabilities through their extensive hacking so there’s not much point trying
to hide the capabilities. We’ll gain
more by real world testing than we’ll lose by protecting secrets that are
unlikely to actually be secret. China
So, regarding the Russian EW aimed at our forces, ComNavOps says, “Thank you
You’re doing us a huge favor.” Russia
(1)DoDBuzz website, “General: Electronic Jamming a Growing Problem for Aircraft in
”, Oriana Pawlyk, Syria 30-Apr-2018,
(2)The Maritime Executive website, “Mass GPS Spoofing Attack In Black Sea?”, Dana Goward,
(3)USNI News website, “U.S. Official: Russia Installed System in
Crimea to Snoop on U.S. Destroyers, Jam
Communications”, Sam LaGrone, 1-May-2017,