Russia has repeatedly tried to jam the GPS navigation systems used by U.K. Royal Air Force aircraft operating from an airbase in Cyprus.
Two British newspapers The Times and Telegraph 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.
According to the “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 attacks could have prevented the pilot from knowing where the aircraft was or the direction it was flying in and potentially resulted in casualties. None of the attempts was successful.
GPS-jamming equipment can be operated by aircraft, UAVs. More often it is carried on ground vehicles. The source of the GPS jamming on the Akrotiri airbase is believed to be from Syrian territory. As there are no evidence if Syrian forces have a necessary equipment to conduct such attacks on their own, Russia became the main suspect.
The news comes as the chief of defence intelligence at the Ministry of Defence warned that “the future battlefield will not be defined by lines on maps or by geography”.
Lt Gen Jim Hockenhull said: “We will be confronted by complex and integrated challenges below, and potentially above, the threshold of conflict. We will likely be confronted by state and non-state actors who will employ brinkmanship, threshold warfare. terrorism, proxies, coercion and economic warfare.”
The Atlas C1 is the RAF’s latest fixed-wing transport, having entered service in 2014, with tactical and strategic oversize lift capabilities that complement the older C-130J Hercules and the larger C-17 Globemaster III. Since then, the Atlas has also taken on other roles, including maritime surveillance, and is expected to completely take over tactical and special forces transport tasks from the Hercules, the retirement of which is widely anticipated to be announced next week