USAF largest ever “Red Flag 18-1” air war drill January 26 – February 18 includes massive RF jamming of GPS across western U.S

The NBAA Command Center reports the U.S. military will begin training exercises on the Nevada Test and Training Range between 0400Z until 0700Z daily [8 pm – 11 pm PST]. Training maneuvers will impact vast portions of the Western U.S. including California, Nevada, Oregon, Wyoming, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Montana and New Mexico. FAA enroute ATC centers affected include Albuquerque (ZAB), Denver (ZDV), Los Angeles (ZLA), Salt Lake (ZLC), Oakland (ZOA) and Seattle (ZSE). Operations in R-2508 and R-2501 may also be impacted.  
[R-2508 is Edwards Air Force Base, R-2501 is the 29 Palms Complex — both in California]
U.S. commercial aircraft have new GPS dependent systems.
How will this “exercise” impact air traffic?
How will the jamming impact medical devices and implants?
How will this jamming impact the power grid?
How will this jamming affect wildlife including birds, bats, and insects?
It is occurring simultaneously with the Olympics. Coincidence?
Let’s hope that nothing goes wrong in the Western part of the United States if so, we will know whom to blame…
Global Research, January 29, 2018
Zero Hedge 27 January 2018

The United States Air Force is launching its largest-ever three-week premier set of air war drills, called Red Flag 18-1, starting on Friday and will conclude February 16, said the 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs.

On January 26, the air war drill, known as Red Flag, officially kicked off at Nellis Air Force Base, 20-miles outside of Las Vegas. Base officials have warned residents of increased military aircraft activity due to aircraft departing from Nellis Air Force Base twice-a-day to conduct war drills on the Nevada Test and Training Range.

“We’re trying a few new and different things with Red Flag 18-1,” said Col Michael Mathes, 414th Combat Training Squadron commander. “It’s the largest Red Flag ever with the largest number of participants, highlighting the balance of training efficiency with mission effectiveness.”

The drill involves a variety of attack, fighter and bomber aircraft as well as participants from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Army, and Marine Corps. Foreign participants include Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Air Force.

A video from the 2015 Red Flag drill is shown below.

“Red Flag 18-1 primarily is a strike package focused training venue that we integrate at a command and control level in support of joint task force operations,” said Mathes. “It’s a lot of words to say that we integrate every capability we can into strike operations that are flown out of Nellis Air Force Base.”

According to The Drivethe air war drill is the largest of its kind in the 42-year history, as the United States prepares for a possible conflict on the Korean Penisula.

Further, the USAF is going to “blackout GPS over the sprawling Nevada Test and Training Range,” said the Drive, which will provide realistic war-like conditions to challenge aircrews.

Flying.com reports the drills at the Nevada Test and Training Range will cause rolling GPS blackouts for the vast portions of the Western United States from January 26 through February 18. All GPS-equipped aircraft operating in the Western United States should be prepared for possible navigation failure in the region.

The NBAA Command Center reports the U.S. military will begin training exercises on the Nevada Test and Training Range between 0400Z until 0700Z daily. Training maneuvers will impact vast portions of the Western U.S. including California, Nevada, Oregon, Wyoming, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Montana and New Mexico. FAA enroute ATC centers affected include Albuquerque (ZAB), Denver (ZDV), Los Angeles (ZLA), Salt Lake (ZLC), Oakland (ZOA) and Seattle (ZSE). Operations in R-2508 and R-2501 may also be impacted.  

“Arrivals and departures from airports within the Las Vegas area may be issued non-Rnav re-routes with the possibility of increased traffic disruption near LAS requiring airborne re-routes to the south and east of the affected area. Aircraft operating in Los Angeles (ZLA) center airspace may experience navigational disruption, including suspension of Descend-via and Climb-via procedures. Non-Rnav SIDs and STARs may be issued within ZLA airspace in the event of increased navigational disruption. Crews should expect the possibility of airborne mile-in-trail and departure mile-in-trail traffic management initiatives.”

The Drive explains why the USAF is determined to use GPS spoofing and jamming technology but offers no insight into what a GPS blackout might mean for the millions of civilians who live in the Western region of the US.

GPS denial is a becoming a huge issue for American military planners. Peer states, especially Russia, are already putting GPS spoofing and jamming tactics to work during various training events near their own borders. We have discussed this situation in great depth before, and I would suggest you read this article to understand just how deeply the loss of reliable global positioning system data can mean for the U.S. and its allies during a time of war, as well as what is being done to overcome such a monumental hurdle.

The Pentagon has mysteriously tested technology that can jam GPS over a wide area before, and it is likely that this same capability will be put to use in the Nellis Test and Training Range for this Red Flag 18-1. Line-of-sight and distance impact the way in which GPS users, especially other airplanes, operating far outside the training area will be affected. Here is an article on those tests, which emanated from Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, which is located on the western edge of the Mojave Desert in California, in June of 2016.

Below is a released image showing the impact of a GPS jammer unleashed on the Western United States in a June 2016 test:

If there is a concrete reason why the Department of Defense is quietly preparing a massive air war drill in Nevada now, while simultaneously forcing a gigantic GPS blackout for the Western part of the United States, it has not been disclosed aside from the obvious, of course.

We know one thing: this exercise will last a lengthy three weeks and could pose significant risks and threats to devices that rely on GPS signals, which according to the DHS chart below, is pretty much anything with electronics in it these days.

Let’s hope that nothing goes wrong in the Western part of the United States if so, we will know whom to blame…

*

All images in this article are from Zero Hedge.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/usaf-largest-ever-red-flag-18-1-air-war-drill-prepares-for-possible-conflict-in-korea-massive-gps-blackouts-in-the-western-us/5627581

Advertisements

U.S. instructors are in Ukraine to learn how to fight Russia

From Fort Russ

(Photo: Manu Brabo/AFP via Getty)
 
Kristina Rus: 
 
What advantage can the 10 times bigger defense budget buy for the US army over Russia? 
 
“We have great signals intelligence, and we can listen all day long, but we can’t shut them down one-tenth to the degree they can us

Joaquin Flores:  

We saw this article and thought our readers would find it interesting.  While reinforcing the western narrative of intimate Russian involvement, it also talks about a technology gap that the US seems to be suffering in the area of jamming. This may or may not be true: during the Cold War the US often would inflate Russian military prowess in order to justify its own increased expenditures.  These resulted in windfall profits for the military industrial complex.  At the same time, the claim in itself seems possibly true.  The US has not had to focus on developing these technologies, as it had specifically targeted countries that were technologically deficient.  Now that the US is against a more formidable opponent, whether directly or through proxies, it seems to make sense that its own short-comings would be pronounced more now than at any point in the recent past.


Electronic Warfare: What US Army Can Learn From Ukraine
 
 
 

WASHINGTON — The US military has for weeks been training Ukrainian forces in US tactics, but the commander of US Army Europe says Ukrainian forces, who are fighting Russian-backed separatists, have much to teach their US trainers.

Ukrainian forces have grappled with formidable Russian electronic warfare capabilities that analysts say would prove withering even to the US ground forces. The US Army has also jammed insurgent communications from the air and ground on a limited basis, and it is developing a powerful arsenal of jamming systems, but these are not expected until 2023.

“Our soldiers are doing the training with the Ukrainians and we’ve learned a lot from the Ukrainians,” said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges. “A third of the [Ukrainian] soldiers have served in the … combat zone, and no Americans have been under Russian artillery or rocket fire, or significant Russian electronic warfare, jamming or collecting — and these Ukrainians have. It’s interesting to hear what they have learned.”

Hodges acknowledged that US troops are learning from Ukrainians about Russia’s jamming capability, its ranges, types and the ways it has been employed. He has previously described the quality and sophistication of Russian electronic warfare as “eye-watering.”

Russia maintains an ability to destroy command-and-control networks by jamming radio communications, radars and GPS signals, according to Laurie Buckhout, former chief of the US Army’s electronic warfare division, now CEO of the Corvus Group. In contrast with the US, Russia has large units dedicated to electronic warfare, known as EW, which it dedicates to ground electronic attack, jamming communications, radar and command-and-control nets.

Though Ukrainian troops lack the materiel to protect themselves from this form of attack, the Ukrainian military’s institutional knowledge as a former Soviet republic will help it understand how Russia fights, and its troops will have trained to operate while being jammed, Buckhout said. That’s something US ground forces can learn.

“Our biggest problem is we have not fought in a comms-degraded environment for decades, so we don’t know how to do it,” Buckhout said. “We lack not only tactics, techniques and procedures but the training to fight in a comms-degraded environment.”

It’s not hard to see why EW is an attractive option for Russia while the eyes of the world are on it. Not only is it highly effective, but as a non-kinetic form of attack, it is harder to trace and less likely to be viewed as overt aggression, and as such, less likely to incite the ire of the international community, Buckhout said.

In a fight, Russia’s forces can hinder a target’s ability to respond to, say, an artillery attack, allowing them to fire on an enemy with impunity. Ukrainian forces would be unable to coordinate a defense against incoming rockets and missiles, or release counter battery fire.

“If your radars don’t see incoming fire, you can’t coordinate counterfire,” Buckhout said.

The US, Buckhout said, lacks a significant electronic attack capability.

“We have great signals intelligence, and we can listen all day long, but we can’t shut them down one-tenth to the degree they can us,” she said. “We are very unprotected from their attacks on our network.”

Multifunctional EW

Col. Jeffrey Church, the Army’s electronic warfare division chief, acknowledged that since the Cold War, adversaries have continued to modernize their EW capabilities, while the Army began reinvesting its capabilities for Iraq and Afghanistan. Church called the fielding of Army electronic warfare equipment the “No. 1 priority” of his job.

“The  Army must have electronic warfare capabilities that could be used to dominate key terrain on the electromagnetic spectrum against any adversary,” Church said.

A developing Army program, Multifunctional Electronic Warfare (MFEW), is intended to provide an offensive electronic attack capability, able to jam cell phone, satellite and GPS signals, said Lt. Col. Gregory Griffin, chief of the Electronic Warfare Division’s programs and requirements branch. However, the focus had been until recent years on “defensive electronic attack,” namely counter-radio-controlled-IED devices that create bubbles of protective jamming around vehicles and people, and signals collection for intelligence purposes.

The Army has demonstrated some ability to counter enemy communications, not under formal acquisitions programs but as quick-reaction capabilities. In Afghanistan, the Army used a handful of C-12 aircraft equipped with Communications, Electronic Attack, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (CEASAR) jamming pods to jam insurgent push-to-talk radios, and two fixed-site systems — Ground Auto Targeting Observation/Reactive (GATOR) jammer and Duke V2 EA — to jam radios and repeater towers.

On an ad hoc basis, troops in Afghanistan used GATOR — conceived to protect forward operating bases — to suppress repeater towers while on patrol or training Afghan forces, providing themselves the freedom to maneuver while denying communications to potential enemies, Griffin said.

“It was unlimited capability, limited by the number of systems,” Griffin said. “Honestly, we just did not have enough to support the demand that was in the Army.”

The Army’s electronic warfare cadre, which totals 813 officers, warrant officers and noncommissioned officers,  has wielded more theory than hardware, except when deployed. In garrison, it was common for these troops to be assigned other jobs, leading to the joke that EW stands for “extra worker” — though this is changing as the Army ramps up its electronic warfare materiel strategy, Griffin said.

MFEW, due to reach initial operating capability in 2023 and full operating capability in 2027, is intended to offer a suite of powerful, sophisticated sensors and jammers for in the air, on ground vehicles and in fixed locations. The Army is due to consider a capability design document for the “air large” capability, akin to Caesar, potentially for a C-12 or a MQ-8 Fire Scout drone. Last year it tested the Networked Electronic Warfare Remotely Operated (NERO), a jamming pod attached to the Gray Eagle drone.

The Defense Department in March set up a panel to address its electronic warfare shortfalls, which, Griffin said, has generated discussion about accelerating the timeline for MFEW.

‘Future of War Is in the Ukraine’

Forces with US Army Europe have for the last 10 weeks been training three battalions of Ukraine Ministry of the Interior troops, known as Ukraine’s national guard. The second cycle of that training was paused so that troops could participate in a combined multinational exercise, underway through early August, and it will resume and conclude with the third battalion in August.

The Ukrainian military — which is in the midst of a reform and modernization effort even as it wars with Russia — has shown interest in creating a noncommissioned officer corps modeled after that of the US, Hodges said. Ukrainian military officials charged with reform efforts visited Washington in recent weeks and, in a press conference, acknowledged the challenges of corruption and shoddy soldier equipment, which they sought to correct.

But Konstiantyn Liesnik, an adviser to the Defense Ministry’s reform office and head of its working group for logistics and procurement, noted the US military’s experience in recent years has concerned insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, not a powerful, organized and well-equipped adversary like Russia.

The future of war is in the Ukraine, and I think in this case our experience is very important to US personnel how war should be in this century and next century,” Liesnik said.

Beyond electronic warfare, Russian anti-aircraft rockets have prevented Ukrainian forces from using their airplanes, and it has had to consider personal armor that can protect against artillery.

Ukrainian forces interacting with US soldiers have spoken frankly about their difficulties, something Hodges said he saw firsthand when the chief of the Ukrainian Army, at an event attended by senior leaders from other countries, discussed with a group of officers  his force’s battlefield experiences and shortcomings.

“I have been very impressed with the earnestness of the Ukrainian military to fix their shortcomings and improve their capabilities,” Hodges said. “It was one of the most professional things I have ever seen of any army, and they were very candid: We were not prepared to do this, and here’s how we adapted.”

Ukrainian troops have not only had to adapt to Russian electronic warfare, but its artillery and unmanned aerial systems. The Ukrainian Army official, Hodges said, also detailed how unprepared Ukrainian troops have been for the number of casualties and their treatment.

The US provided Ukraine with lightweight counter-mortar radars in November 2014, which Hodges said its troops have “used in ways we have not used it ourselves, and made it more effective than we thought was possible.” These troops, he said, would be savvy enough to operate a more advanced radar with a wider range — which the Pentagon is reportedly in talks to send.

An official at the US State Department said the administration believes there is no military resolution to this crisis, but Ukraine has the right to defend itself. To that end, it announced a $75 million Defense Department aid package in March that includes 30 armored Humvees, 200 other Humvees, radios and unarmed surveillance drones, night-vision devices and medical supplies.

The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based in Vicenza, Italy, had been training Ukrainian troops in western Ukraine, in battlefield medicine, casualty evacuation, and tactical tasks such as anti-roadside bomb techniques and basic battlefield movement.

Saber Guardian, a command post exercise which rotates between Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria, this year was linked to Rapid Trident, an annual field training exercise held in Ukraine, according to the US Army. The combined exercise, which includes roughly 1,800 soldiers from 18 different nations, is meant to focus on defensive operations to ensure a safe and secure environment within the operating environment.

This year’s scenario consists of a host nation that comes under attack. The nation is able to defend itself at great cost. A multinational force is sent to assist the host nation and the challenge is to bring together and train a multinational brigade, which would then be sent to assist the host nation in its defense.

 

http://fortruss.blogspot.com/2015/08/us-instructors-are-in-ukraine-to-learn.html