Russia blamed for crashing Swedish air traffic control to test electronic warfare capabilities

By Mary-Ann Russon

April 14, 2016 16:48 BST

Sources in the Swedish government have blamed Russian intelligence for causing a major cyberattack on Sweden’s air traffic control system that lasted for at least five days in November 2015, allegedly due to Russia testing out its electronic warfare capabilities.

Between 4-9 November 2015, hundreds of domestic and international flights were grounded at multiple airports across Sweden due to its air traffic control system going offline. The attack caused the radar systems to stop working, which made the computer screens to go blank. This meant that air traffic controllers were unable to see any aircraft on their screens at all.

At the time, the Swedish Civil Aviation Administration publicly blamed a solar storm for knocking out air traffic control systems, which also impacted radar stations in Norway and Estonia. According to a Swedish military leaks news site, however, the real story was much deeper.

Anonymous sources told that during the attack, Swedish authorities traced the source of the attack to an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) group that has previously been linked to the Russian military intelligence agency, Spetsnaz GRU. Although Sweden is not part of Nato, it was so concerned that it sent urgent messages warning neighbouring countries that are Natoallies about the ongoing cyberattacks.

“The message was passed on to NATO either by Sweden’s National Defence Radio Establishment [Försvarets radioanstalt, FRA] or the Swedish Military Intelligence and Security Service [Militära underrättelse- och säkerhetstjänsten, MUST],” a senior Nato source told


This is the Krasukha-4. It is a highly sophisticated electronic warfare system that is now being used to cloak its actions in Syria from NATO, as well as from IS and other rebel groups. VItay V.Kuzmin, Wikimedia Commons

The source also says that at the same time that Sweden issued its warning to neighbouring Nato countries, at the same time Nato independently detected that Russia instigated electronic warfare activity in the Baltic Sea region that was jamming air traffic communication channels. Nato traced the signals and they led to a large radio tower in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, to the south of Lithuania.

In October 2015, a month before the cyberattack on Sweden’s air traffic control systems, a leading electronic warfare expert reported that Russia was using electronic warfare to both jam Islamic State (Isis) communications in Syria, as well as to mask its military activities from Nato.

The Swedish Civil Aviation Administration is currently investigating the true cause of the air traffic control system outage, but currently is not ready to release results from its analysis of data during the attack. Nato and the Swedish Armed Forces have both said they cannot comment on the issue.

Original post


Наземный модуль радиоэлектронного подавления 1РЛ257Э Красуха-4 (1RL257E Krasukha-4)

1РЛ257Э Красуха-4 (1RL257E Krasukha-4)МАКС-2015 – Комплексы ПВО, РЭБ, БПЛА и прочее (MAKS-2015 – Air defence, EW, UAV and other) | Vitaly V. Kuzmin МАКС-2015 – Комплексы ПВО, РЭБ, БПЛА и прочее (MAKS-2015 – Air defence, EW, UAV and other) | Vitaly V. KuzminThe business end of the Krasukha-S4 mobile ground-to-air X-band jammer includes three large reflectors, each with its own robust feed system, and a mast-mounted set of horn-type receive antennas. Credit: Bill Sweetman/AW&ST

Russian Electronic Warfare Updates

A new and complementary jammer, the 1RL257E Krasukha-S4, is being delivered to the military this year, according to Kret. It is an X-band system designed for use against tactical airborne radars and AGS systems. Both Krasukha systems can operate independently, but are mainly intended to work as part of a multiplatform electronic attack force, with multiple, widely separated jammer locations used to increase the chances of jamming through a target’s main beam.

Actual picture from Syria of 1RL257E Krasukha-4

USE CC choose your langauge

Комплексы РЭБ “Красуха-4”- Грозное оружие против любых воздушных целей

Google Translate

Complexes EW “Krasuha-4” – a formidable weapon against any airborne targets

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