Royal Air Force personnel have tested out their new high-tech jammer plane by bombarding Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) communications over Libya.
The action was carried out from a Rivet Joint aircraft, which reportedly attacked the militants’ comms for up to 40 minutes after simply locking onto their frequencies and blasting them with interference.
A defense source told the Daily Mail on Sunday the IS fighters “were very angry and couldn’t understand what had gone wrong. We jammed the frequencies for 40 minutes – long enough to prove the capability, but not so long that IS realized what was happening.”
Rivet Joint usually monitors communications technology but the aircrews “occasionally use jamming strikes to spread confusion among their ranks at vital times.”
“There is a shortage of human sources within IS in Libya so whatever intelligence we can gather from listening to their conversations, the better,” the source said.
Fighting IS from the air means little danger of losing UK personnel. But on the ground in Syria – where some say the war will eventually have to be fought – the use of deadly improvised explosive devices (IEDs) is even more prevalent than in Afghanistan.
Bomb disposal expert Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Middleditch told the Telegraph the homemade bombs – which crippled hundreds of British soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq – are being made on an industrial scale by IS.
“We saw in Helmand, in Sangin, in small patches, high seeding of IEDs, that would replicate this, but this is by the thousands, covering areas protecting areas of an entire town or village. It is significantly more than we saw there,” Middleditch said.
The news comes amid claims that UK special forces are embedded with fractious local militias ahead of a proposed assault on the IS-held city of Mosul.