Russia has made repeated attempts to jam the GPS navigation systems of the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft operating from an airbase in Cyprus, according to reports. Earlier, Rusia faced similar accusations from the US.
Located in the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus is a key RAF base from where it is launching a military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Two British newspapers The Times and Telegraph quoted “military intelligence sources” as saying that a “hostile state” had repeatedly tried interfering with satellite communications of the RAF A400M Atlas C1 transport aircraft.
Developed by Airbus, the Atlas C1 is the RAF’s latest fixed-wing transport and entered services in 2014.
The aircraft came with tactical and strategic oversize lift capabilities which complemented the older C-130J Hercules and the larger C-17 Globemaster III.
The Atlas C1 has since then adapted to carrying out other roles that include maritime surveillance. It is also expected to completely take over tactical and special forces transport tasks from the Hercules after its retirement.
The aircraft had been leaving Cyprus’s large Royal Air Force station of RAF Akrotiri when Russia tried to jam its GPS systems in an act of electronic warfare.
GPS systems like these are widely used to provide accurate aircraft navigation in a bid to increase safety and efficiency, with most aircraft having backup systems if the GPS is lost.
According to reports, the incident happened when troops were on board the RAF A400M transport aircraft. As per The Times, the attacks on the RAF aircraft could have prevented the pilot from knowing where the aircraft was or the direction it was flying in, which could have put the lives of soldiers on board in danger.
This is not the first time that Russia is behind such an incident. In the past, the country was accused of launching electronic warfare attacks against United States’ drones in Syria, with there being a probability of a similar attack against US Air Force AC-130 gunships.
Electronic Warfare (EW) represents the aircraft’s ability to use the electromagnetic spectrum waves to either disrupt, intercept, or sabotage enemy electronic systems in offensive operations or to protect interested assets using the same.
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