A Swedish Air Force heavily-
On May 1, 2018, a Swedish Air Forcehas started operating in the eastern Med.
Anyway, it looks like the Swedish airplane has now pointed its sensors to the Russian signals in Syria, deploying to Larnaca, Cyprus: the example 102003/”023″, using callsign “SVF647”, was tracked, by means of its ADS-B/Mode-S transponder, twice on May 1, flying off Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt, more or less in the very same way many other aircraft (U.S. Navy P-8s, U.S. Air Force RQ-4 and RC-135s) have been doing for some weeks.
Here’s the first mission in the morning on May 1:
Far from home: Swedish Air Force Gulfstream S102B (102003) departed from Larnaca, #Cyprus, making surveillance mission over eastern Mediterranean Sea off #Syria, #Lebanon, #Israel and #Egyptcoast@BalticWatchpic.twitter.com/N2vTn05vVd
Here’s the second mission, later on the same day (21.40LT):
Swedish Air Force Gulfstream S102B (102003) departed from Larnaca, #Cyprus, making again a surveillance mission over eastern Mediterranean Sea off #Syria, #Lebanon, #Israel and #Egyptcoast@BalticWatchpic.twitter.com/68ZpMXxvtv
Considered the quite unusual area of operations, one might wonder why the Swedish S102B is currently operating close to the Syrian theater, so far from home. We can just speculate here, but the most likely guess is that the aircraft is collecting ELINT off Syria to acquire new baseline data for assets that are deployed there and which may either be currently or imminently deployed in Kaliningrad. Possibly surface vessels too, which might add to the Baltic Electronic Order of Battle. “I think they are just acquiring ELINT that is unique to Syria and might have applications in the Baltic,” says a source who wishes to remain anonymous.
For sure, with all the Russian “hardware” deployed to Syria, often referred to as a “testbed” for Moscow’s new equipment, there is some much data to be collected that the region has already turned into a sort of “signals paradise” for the intelligence teams from all around the world.
Top image: Peter Bakema/Wiki and @ItaMilRadar