This has been a strange week for technology related news. Recall that just two days ago I blogged about Chinese claims to have developed a "quantum entanglement" radar that can more easily detect stealth aircraft at a distance of 60 miles, a claim I found dubious for the simple reason that 60 miles would not be a very valuable operational range for such a radar, since aircraft can close that distance very quickly. If such a technology exists, and I have no doubt it does, I suspect the Chinese have drastically understated its range.
Then yesterday I blogged about the impending test of the EM drive in outer space, a test arriving rather late to the field, if the arguments of Dr. Paul LaViolette regarding tests of microwave propulsion devices in the 1950s are correct (and I tend to think they are.)
But now Mr. B. has shared this story about Russian claims to have a GPS satellite jamming capability:
The first three paragraphs here are worth considering:
An integrated jamming system to screen strategic facilities from cruise missiles, smart bombs and drones using GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and Beidou global positioning systems for homing has entered service with the Russian armed forces, the newspaper Izvestiya wrote citing a Defense Ministry source in Moscow.
Dubbed as POLE-21, the system consists of jamming modules installed on mobile phone towers and working as a single whole to cover entire areas and making them impregnable to satellite navigation systems.
Besides being powered by a tower’s circuit, the Pole-21 modules also use their GSM antennas as a backup channel for signal control and transmission. “The system has already been successfully tested and is now operational,” the source told the newspaper.
In effect, the Russians are claiming a jamming system that provides a kind of "stealthiness" to permanent installations, or to troop concentrations and movements, rendering interdiction by cruise missiles and other means problematical.
Whatever the reality of these claims (and I am inclined to take them seriously), the US military must take them seriously, for the claims are clearly a message: think twice before beginning any direct confrontation with Russia. These follow on a series of incidents in which Russia has demonstrated sophisticated jamming capabilities, beginning with the USS Donald Cook incident in the Black Sea just a couple of years ago.
Recall during that incident an obsolescent Russian Sukhoi 24 fighter bomber approached the American frigate, when suddenly the frigate's electrical system, including computers, apparently were taken down, while the Russian aircraft executed no less than 12 mock attack runs on the ship. The Donald Cook beat a hasty retreat to the Romanian port of Constanza, while American authorities denied this action had anything to do with the Russian aircraft or the apparent "malfunction" of its electrical systems. This was followed by the Russian intervention in Syria, during which similar capabilities were demonstrated against NATO electrical equipment.
This latest claim therefore cannot but help be taken seriously by analysts in the Pentagram, for in addition to a tactical and operational capability, the Russians are now in effect claiming that this capability extends to the strategic plane as well. The nightmare, as far as those analysts are concerned, is whether or not the Russians may have discovered a method to jam satellites directly, from the ground.
See you on the flip side...