All About Tobol, Russia's Secret Weapon Linked To Jamming Of Planes' Signals

Tobol electronic warfare system was previously linked to jamming of signals of ships on NATO's eastern flank.

All About Tobol, Russia's Secret Weapon Linked To Jamming Of Planes' Signals

A photo of the Tobol system with large satellite dish at Kaliningrad base.

A secret weapon used by Russia to jam the signals could be behind the electronic attacks the commercial flights are facing while flying over the Baltic Sea. According to The Sun, it is called Tobol and is previously used to jam the signals of ships on NATO's eastern flank. The Tobol is believed to be housed at a Russian military base in Kaliningrad between Lithuania and Poland, the outlet further said. The electronic attacks have impacted the satellite navigation (satnav) of thousands of flights, leaving aircraft routes difficult to navigate.

The Sun is carrying images of a large satellite dish mounted on the ground at the Kaliningrad base claiming that it is part of the Tobol, but there is no official confirmation if it indeed is the Russian secret weapon.

The outlet also said that there are 10 such devices across Russia.

By jamming satellite signals, it can protect Russian bases from becoming the targets of NATO's missiles by confusing the weapons. However, it can't stop missiles from exploding.

Explaining how jamming works, The Washington Post said it happens in two ways: In space, by targeting the satellites directly, and on the ground, where weapons can target receivers. In the first type of jamming, a signal is blended with the original broadcast, which distorts the information all the users of that satellite receive.

The outlet quoted researcher Bart Hendrickx as saying that Tobol works in this way.

In January this year, Erik Kannike, of Estonia-based software company SensusQ, had claimed on X that widespread GPS disruptions plaguing NATO assets is Tobol.

Several countries, including Finland, Poland and Sweden, have reported GPS disturbances in the past few months, as per Newsweek. Speaking to Swedish media about it, Sweden's Lieutenant Colonel Joakim Paasikivi said the interference is a result of "Russian influence activities or so-called hybrid warfare".

Russia has experimented with the Tobol in an effort to disrupt Starlink transmissions in Ukraine, The Washington Post reported in April 2023, citing a classified US intelligence report. Ukraine's access to satellite networks like Starlink are critical to many of its operations and communications.