In the wake of an alleged gas attack that left at least 70 people dead in Syria, the United States military’s efforts to monitor the situation have reportedly run into some difficulties. Specifically, officials who spoke with NBC News revealed that Russia has figured out how to jam American surveillance drones in the area, thereby significantly debilitating (or outright stopping) efforts to keep tabs on what’s happening there. Whether or not these revelations will have an impact on President Trump’s decision to “reluctantly” keep troops in the area, however, remains to be seen.
The Kremlin was apparently “concerned the U.S. military would retaliate for the attacks and began jamming the GPS systems of drones operating in the area.” For despite all the technology that goes into making and operating them, one expert notes that “GPS receivers in most drones can be fairly easily jammed.” As a result, it’s not always that difficult to jam smaller unmanned surveillance aircraft if one possesses the necessary equipment. Russia was previously able to do this during the Crimean invasion in 2014, when the Kremlin’s efforts to hinder U.N. surveillance “had a pretty significant impact.”
In a statement, Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon said, “The U.S. military maintains sufficient countermeasures and protections to ensure the safety of our manned and unmanned aircraft, our forces and the missions they support.” However, as another official explained it to NBC News, “The tactic is having an operational impact on U.S. military operations in Syria.”
(Via NBC News)