American forces in Syria are increasingly facing attacks from Russian and Syrian electronic warfare weapons, as Moscow uses the conflict to test its future arsenal. General Raymond Thomas, head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, said that Syria has become “the most aggressive electronic warfare environment on the planet”.
Speaking at a geospatial intelligence conference in Florida, Thomas said that Russian and Syrian forces “are testing us every day, knocking our communications down, disabling our [EC-130 aircraft].”The Lockheed Martin EC-130 Compass Call is one of America’s most advanced electronic warfare weapons. Based on the C-130 Hercules, the plane was developed to disrupt enemy communications, radar and command operations.
The craft’s presence in Syrian skies gives Russia the chance to test its weapons against the best the U.S. has to offer, whether directly or through its Syrian allies.
Earlier this month, four anonymous officials told NBC News that Russia has also been regularly targeting smaller U.S. surveillance drones.
One of those quoted said Russian operations were having a significant impact on U.S. capabilities.
The sophisticated attacks were even successful against encrypted signals and anti-jamming devices, the official said.
Moscow – alongside the other powers fighting in Syria—has been expanding its electronic footprint, gathering information on its own abilities and the responses of its adversaries. With the battlefields of Syria busier than ever, the war offers valuable testing ground for the weapons of tomorrow.