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Who's got the power? US jams IS phone signals

The US forces are disrupting mobile communications between Islamic state militants [AFP]

Date of publication: 17 December, 2016

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The US air force is using electronic warfare to deny IS militants the ability to communicate by phone and coordinate attacks against Iraqi forces in Mosul.

The US is ramping up its use of electronic warfare in Iraq to deny Islamic State group militants the ability to communicate and coordinate attacks via mobile.

The US air force has deployed a compass call aircraft to the Mosul front, which jams communication lines between militants.

"When the compass call is up on station supporting our Iraqi allies, we are denying IS' ability to command and control their forces, to coordinate attacks," said Lt. Col. Josh Koslov, the 43rd Expeditionary Electronic Attack Squadron commander. "If you can't talk, you can't fight. It's very simple."

The US is leading an international coalition working alongside Iraqi forces on the ground fighting to retake Mosul, the country's second city, from IS control.

A victory could spell the end of IS in Iraq after more than two years.

The aircraft employs around a dozen airmen, including a flight crew, electronic warfare officers and linguists.

"(The linguist's) weapon is language," Koslov said. "They help us to efficiently find, prioritise and target (IS). They prioritise the signals we're targeting from the strategic (level) through the tactical level and they also help the electronic warfare officer make jamming decisions in order to provide the effects desired by the ground force commander."

"We are inducing massive confusion and friction into their operations that make them ineffective as a fighting force," Koslov added.

The statement on the US air force website added the kit can offer a "distinct advantage" for US, Iraqi and coalition forces.

Earlier this month, IS warned its members to stop using messaging apps on smartphones due to concerns that messages sent through them are helping the US-led coalition geo-locate the whereabouts of its commanders.

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