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Russia uses signal jammers to block US drone operations in Syria

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American military officials claim Russian scrambling technology has caused significant disruptions to US drone operations in Syria.

NBC News reported last week that Russia was wary about US retaliatory drone strikes against the Syrian regime, following a toxic gas attack against civilians in the city of Douma near Damscus. The attack killed at least 42 people, including many children, and injured hundreds of others. The use of chemical weapons is considered a war crime and is prohibited by multiple international treaties.

Drones navigate using GPS technology. Disrupting the connection between a drone and its controller can be as simple as pointing a “Dronekiller” device towards the vicinity of a drone and ‘firing’ radio waves. The waves scramble the signal and cause the drone operator to lose control. Larger Predators and Reaper drones are said to have been unaffected but smaller drones have been adversely affected.

The US military has declined to confirm whether any of their drones have crashed as a result of the Russian jammers citing operational security.

Russia have denied the use of such technology.

Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security Yevgeny Serebrennikov was quoted in media denying the country’s forces had used drone blocking technology.

“This is more fake information from American media, which appears so often in recent times. Russia has repeatedly said that its actions, including in Syria, are made only in accordance with international treaties, such actions could not really have taken place,” he said.

Don’t military drones have protection against signal jammers?

Despite US drones being equipped with anti-jamming technology, NBC quoted US officials stating that Russian disruption technology was “very sophisticated, proving effective even against some encrypted signals and anti-jamming receivers.”

Drone footage of decimated cities in Syria. It is reported that as many as 500,000 people have died since the war began in 2011.

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