Azerbaijan Exposes Covert Use of Electronic Warfare by Separatists Against Civilian Aircraft
Azerbaijan’s State Security Service has revealed a disturbing revelation involving electronic devices left behind by separatists in Karabakh. These devices were employed to generate radio interference that posed a significant threat to civilian aircraft, including those operated by Azerbaijan Airlines CJSC and foreign carriers, according to Azerbaijan in Focus, reporting Turan, citing a statement issued by the State Security Service.
Prior to Azerbaijan’s successful restoration of control over the entire Karabakh region, the Ministry of Defense reported a troubling pattern of radio interference against GPS satellite navigation systems of passenger aircraft in the country’s airspace from 2021 to 2023. The sources of this interference were traced to the territory of Karabakh, which was under the control of Armenian separatists and the peacekeeping forces of the Russian Federation. Despite mounting evidence, the separatists consistently denied any involvement in orchestrating the radio interference, which jeopardized the safety of air traffic.
A significant breakthrough came in September 2023 when a special operation uncovered a cache of Russian-made electronic warfare systems, including the “Field-21M,” “Repellent-1,” and improvised electronic warfare complexes, discreetly installed in Karabakh.
Investigations by specialists revealed that the “Field-21M” system was employed to limit signals from satellite navigation systems such as GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, and others to objects located within a radius of up to 150 kilometers. The primary purpose of this interference was to disrupt navigation systems and potentially endanger the safety of aircraft.
The “Repellent-1” complex, on the other hand, was designed for detecting and tracking control signals and data transmissions of radio communications from air objects within a range of up to 35 kilometers. It had the capacity to interfere with the operation of control and navigation systems, posing a serious threat to aviation security.
In addition to these sophisticated systems, artisanal electronic warfare installations were also uncovered, and deployed to suppress signals emanating from GPS and GLONASS navigation satellites and generate radio interference.
This revelation underscores the intricate challenges faced by authorities in the region and serves as a stark reminder of the risks posed to civilian aviation by the covert use of advanced electronic warfare technologies.