Aegis Jammed?

As you may be aware, the Aegis Combat System is a combined computer and radar system used for the guidance of weapons on board several different classes of U. S. naval vessels as well as those of several other countries, e.g. Japan, Spain, Norway. There’s an interesting but unverified report coming from Russian Radio that casts a dramatically different light on the recent incident in which a Russian jet buzzed a U. S. naval vessel in the Black Sea:

Russian Sukhoi Su -24 with the newest jamming complex paralyzed in the Black Sea the most modern American combat management system “Aegis” installed on the destroyer “USS Donald Cook”. Pavel Zolotarev, Deputy Director, Institute of USA and Canada, shares details about this version which is being actively discussed in the Russian media and by bloggers.

US destroyer “Donald Cook” with cruise missiles “Tomahawk” entered the neutral waters of the Black Sea on April 10. The purpose was a demonstration of force and intimidation in connection with the position of Russia in Ukraine and Crimea. The appearance of American warships in these waters is in contradiction of the Montreux Convention about the nature and duration of stay in the Black Sea by the military ships of countries not washed by this sea.

In response, Russia sent an unarmed bomber Su- 24 to fly around the U.S. destroyer. However, experts say that this plane was equipped with the latest Russian electronic warfare complex. According to this version, “Aegis” spotted from afar the approaching aircraft, and sounded alarm. Everything went normally, American radars calculated the speed of the approaching target. And suddenly all the screens went blank. “Aegis” was not working any more, and the rockets could not get target information. Meanwhile, Su-24 flew over the deck of the destroyer, did battle turn and simulated missile attack on the target. Then it turned and repeated the maneuver. And did so 12 times.

In other words rather than being just another random but provocative incident, it was a successful test and missile guidance on the U. S. vessel was shut down.

I don’t generally deal in rumors but this one is sufficiently interesting that I thought I’d pass it along as that—a rumor.

I can think of several possibilities:

  • The story is a fabrication, full stop.
  • The story is disinformation being spread by the Russian government, presumably to encourage the Russian people and those who sympathize with them in Ukraine and elsewhere.
  • The story is the truth. If so, I imagine there have been some sleepless nights lately at the Pentagon.
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Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. Ron Beasley says:

    We will never know.

  2. JR says:

    I doubt the veracity of this story. Russian Radio is not exactly the most reliable source. I Did though check out and here’s there take

    “The aircraft, reportedly a Russian Air Force Su-24 Fencer, flew within 1,000 yards of the USS Donald Cook, the U.S. Navy destroyer currently operating in the Black Sea. According to the Associated Press, the Fencer flew at 500 feet ASL (Above Sea Level) and performed passes that the ship commander considered “provocative and inconsistent with international agreements.”

    The ship, that has been operating in the Black Sea since Apr. 10, issued several radio calls and warnings to the Fencer, that was unarmed and was never in real danger of coming in contact with the ship.

    Noteworthy, the U.S. warship was also being shadowed by a Russian Navy frigate, but this is just routine during operations conducted in international waters east of Romania.

    Such close encounters are quite frequent is seas around the world. Some years ago a pair of Tu-95 Bear flew quite close to USS Nimitz in the Pacific. For sure, when this happens in the Black Sea and amid raising tensions”

    If Russia and China has a way to penetrate Aegis, they would be more aggressive in the Pacific.

  3. Mu says:

    Sure we will. When the Navy puts out requests for emergency development funding to address shortcomings in radar systems you know the Russians were right.

  4. gVOR08 says:

    I expect this story is propaganda for the Russian people. Intelligence v/ counterintelligence can be a real mess of deception and I know that he knows that I know… If they can defeat Aegis, why tell us? If they attempted to defeat Aegis, why tell them whether or not it worked?

  5. NoZe says:

    According to the article, “all the 27 members of the crew filed a letter of resignation” when it arrived at port in Romania…I find that difficult to believe!

  6. James Pearce says:

    I’m leaning toward fabrication based on the source and this detail:

    “And suddenly all the screens went blank. “Aegis” was not working any more…”

    I’m assuming “all the screens went blank” is the non-technical description of a very technical problem. Fifteen years of troubleshooting has taught me to mistrust the technical explanations of non-technical people.

  7. rudderpedals says:

    What NoZe said. This takes something obvious – a long range surveillance radar is going to have trouble with a kilowatt class emitter zooming around within rock throwing distance – but the story falls apart at that point. ISTM the Flanker was trying to goad someone into illuminating it with targeting radar, to take advantage of the ESM on the Russian ship shadowing the destroyer. I’m going with a).

  8. Ron Beasley says:

    @Mu: Sorry Mu, if they do ask for money to fix it it will be off budget and we will never know about it.

  9. gVOR08 says:

    @James Pearce: And the Russians would know all the screens went blank how?

  10. James Pearce says:


    “And the Russians would know all the screens went blank how?”

    It was their mole that kicked the power strip.

  11. michael reynolds says:

    Sniff. . . sniff. . . Yep. That’s bullsh!t I smell. Not even good bullsh!t.

  12. Ben Wolf says:

    You propagandists are all wet; the Russians have released video of their pilot and RIO jamming the ships’ radar systems here:

    How they got footage from the ships’ CIC I don’t know, but the Americans’ reaction is belligerent.

  13. David in KC says:

    @Ben Wolf: Well played, sir.