Spy planes on the brink of collapse in Ukraine


Since the invasion began, NATO surveillance planes have been deployed on the border without hiding

Ukraine’s southern border, on the shores of the Black Sea, is a wasp’s nest every day of NATO spy planes permanently monitoring what is happening in the country invaded by Russia. Most notably, this military device is not hidden, but any digital application that allows to track commercial flights in real time shows the evolution of the advanced models intended to collect electronic information from the Ukrainian and Russian armies. Drones, reconnaissance platforms and huge tanker planes are permanently over Romania, just 20 kilometers from the site of the conflict, and are visible to the whole world. An unusual transparency in a war.

One of the most obvious questions before this exhibition is how it is possible that NATO spy flights are public and therefore Russian intelligence itself can know where these devices are located. According to experts consulted by this newspaper, the simplest explanation is that the Western military is sending a message to the Russian invaders by not hiding their devices. In other words, they want the Moscow government to know that they are under constant surveillance. Indeed, the same sources point out that if the Atlantic organization’s aviation were to want, while meeting the identification requirements required by the use of commercial air routes, it could make its flights much more opaque.

In any case, the aircraft that every citizen can locate from his computer with applications such as ‘Flightradar24’, for example, lacks the ‘Stealth’ technology -undetectable by radar- and which undoubtedly also operates in the conflict region . In the flight log, on the other hand, neither the fighters nor other combat devices appear. The airspace over Ukraine – in which all kinds of Russian warships are undoubtedly moving – is empty as if nothing is happening there.

The most modern aircraft deployed every day in the Black Sea is the ‘Global Hawk’, one of the newest drones in the US arsenal. This unmanned aerial vehicle has radar and information-gathering systems that can operate both during the night and during the day, as well as through thick cloud layers. Being secret technology, many of its uses are unknown so the level of data this platform can collect every day is unknown. This drone, on the other hand, flew constantly over Ukraine in the days before the Russian troops entered the country, but once the invasion was confirmed, it moved to Romania.

Almost routinely, in the early morning hours, the drone takes off from NATO’s base in Sigonella, on the Italian island of Sicily, flies over Greece, Bulgaria and Romania, turns east and begins to orbit over the waters of the Black Sea. . His flight takes him within a hundred kilometers of Sevastopol, on the Crimean peninsula. Among the different routes of the spy planes, this is one of the most delicate as it is placed not far from a region of Ukraine that unilaterally declared its independence in 2014, to immediately join Russia. Neither Kiev nor the majority of the international community recognize their sovereignty.

Approaching Crimea, the “Global Hawk” is also approaching the bases maintained by the Russian Black Sea Fleet. It is in these waters that the flagship of Putin’s navy, the ‘Moscow’, was sunk by a Ukrainian missile. In that sense, the drone monitors some important coasts in the war. The Kiev government has indicated on several occasions that Russian warships coming from this peninsula could attempt to land in the city of Odessa, in Ukraine. In any case, the movement of ships needed for an amphibious operation would be immediately detected by both the drone and the satellites. The island of Snakes, an islet captured by Russia in the early days of the invasion, is also not far from the deployment area – it was there that a Ukrainian soldier ordered the sailors of the “Moscow to “fuck the ass.” ‘ when asked to surrender – and where fierce fighting is now going on with missiles, drones and fighter jets.

Not far from the ‘Global Hawk’ are also two other NATO surveillance aircraft: the ‘Sentry’ and the ‘Rivet Joint’. The first is an airborne command and control warning system – ‘Awacs’, for its acronym in English – and it is unmistakable because of the huge turret on the hull and which houses a long-range radar. The ‘Sentry’ is able to collect information about the movements of all types of vehicles at a distance of approximately four hundred kilometers. In addition, it could become a platform from which to organize the flight of dozens of aircraft, especially fighter jets. However, it is an outdated model and is being renovated.

Every day, one of several models of this spy plane takes off from a base in Turkey or Greece and starts circling a few kilometers from the border with Ukraine, in Romanian airspace. At that time, an important city like Odessa is barely 200 kilometers from the plane’s radar. This city is the third largest in the country and the most important connection to the sea in Ukraine. On April 3, Russia attacked it with missiles, but authorities were warned, giving the population time to flee and some missiles were even shot down.

A second NATO aircraft approaching Ukraine, the ‘Rivet Joint’, is a much more sophisticated spy system than the ‘Sentry’. This device, recognizable by its elongated arc, is capable of tapping all kinds of electronic signals to monitor enemy communications. Departing from both Turkey and NATO bases in the UK, these ships are dedicated to making long passes for the Ukrainian border.

To keep this device active, other models travel daily to Romania: the tankers that refuel the spy planes in flight. Two ‘Stratotankers’, which can carry up to 37 tons of fuel in their holds, are also located near the border and during the day they are visited by the ‘Sentry’ and the ‘River Joint’ for refueling. Thus, the wasp nest of spy planes remains for hours and hours at the border, in full view of the whole world.

Russia is no stranger to the actions of NATO spy planes on Ukraine’s southern border. On March 16, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced that Russian missiles had destroyed the communications center in the Ukrainian city of Vinnitsa, which allegedly received information from Western aircraft. This statement came after the Alliance admitted to passing data on the invasion to the armed forces in Kiev.

In the weeks leading up to the start of the conflict, official spokesmen for the Moscow government denounced that at least 56 spy planes – 40 planes and 16 drones – were constantly monitoring their country. In addition, they warned that fighter planes had taken off twice over the possibility of NATO planes violating Russian airspace.

Since the invasion, there have been no incidents between NATO planes and Russia, something that had already happened since 2014, when Moscow recognized Crimea’s independence. In January 2018, a Sukhoi 27 fighter jet approached an ‘Orion’ spy plane flying over the Black Sea, believing it was getting too close to Russian borders. This incident happened again last year.

cryptologists and linguists

This model, the ‘EP3 Orion’, is an electronic warplane specializing in anti-submarine warfare. However, there is also an electronic warfare version that has cryptologists and linguists in its crew to intervene in enemy conversations. Occasionally a ship of this type is included in the current surveillance operations over Romania.

While most known spy flights are on the southern border, activity in the north is much more discreet. In that area, the flights of the ‘Blackhawk’ helicopters of the US military are common. These planes take off every day from the Polish airport Mielec, near the border with Ukraine. United States Rapid Reaction Forces – the 82nd Airborne Division – have been deployed to this city in Poland, and the airport is being used to deliver NATO military aid to Ukraine.

Mielec is also an important place for aviation, as it is home to one of the largest aircraft factories in the region. This company is owned by the North American firm Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.

Source: La Verdad


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