One of the two U.S. RQ-4 Global Hawk drones conducting reconnaissance near Russian borders reported loss of communication and made a sharp turn to return, while it was flying close to Belgorod Oblast, recently.
The alleged incident is said to have taken place on April 24. The aircraft took off from Sigonella Air Force Base in Italy and headed towards Ukraine’s Kharkiv. They were conducting reconnaissance near Russian borders and Crimea, unconfirmed Russian media reports say.
There is no mention of the incident by official U.S. sources.
The reports speculated that the drone may have suffered a technical issue or could have been jammed by Russian electronic warfare systems.
At the said airbase, NATO’s RQ-4D drones are housed. These Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) aircraft achieved initial operational capability in February 2021.
On April 22, Defence Blog reported citing U.S. officials that Russia was trying to find a way to jam and block signals from U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawks. Pentagon reconnaissance aircraft, including RQ-4s, had been making regular day-to-day appearances, up to two or even three times daily, at Russia’s borders. U.S. military intelligence had been snooping on almost all Russian military facilities on the Black Sea, in Crimea, and eastern Ukraine.
The report said that Russia was using its latest ground-based and air-based EW systems to jam drones to thwart U.S.’ intelligence activities. Russia’s EW capability has used to disturb a radio signal of the global navigation system and to jam signals from drones.