In a speech at the US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation’s 2018 GEOINT Symposium, the head of the US Special Operations Command, Gen. Raymond Thomas, said that the American Air Force had faced challenges in Syria – its AC-130 gunships and communication links had been disrupted due to electronic warfare (EW) attacks.
“Right now in Syria, we’re in the most aggressive EW environment on the planet from our adversaries. They’re testing us every day, knocking our communications down, disabling our AC-130s, etcetera,” Thomas said, as cited by The Drive.
Even though Thomas did not specify the opponents, the news website suggested that it was “almost certainly Russian or Russian-support forces” that perpetrated the non-kinetic attacks on American military activities in the region.
The Drive attempted to explain to its readers the perils EW may bear: an adversary “jamming” AC-130 crews’ communications systems or links could jeopardize US special operators and conventional forces, as well as innocent civilians passing by, as the gunships are dependent on those systems, which help them identify targets and coordinate attacks.
Earlier this month, the NBC channel reported, citing unnamed US officials that Russia had started blocking American drones after a “series of alleged chemical attacks on civilians in Eastern Ghouta.” The Russian military allegedly was concerned that the US army would retaliate for the chemical incidents and began jamming the GPS systems of the unmanned aerial vehicles in the area.
In response to the claims, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security Yevgeny Serebrennikov denied the reports, denouncing them as “fake information from American media.”