Cell Phone Signal Allows Ukrainians to Bomb Russian Outpost

Russia has admitted that the use of cell phones by Russian soldiers, detected by the Ukrainian military, led to a rocket attack, which killed 89, the Associated Press reported. There are a number of ways the location of that cell phone could have been pinpointed. The emissions of a cell phone include metadata that may have given away its location, Kevin Kennedy, Major General, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), President and CEO, Warriors 4 Wireless, told Inside Towers.

“The analogy is as simple as driving down the road with your phone on. The network knows where your phone is at. Your mapping function won’t work if you won’t share your geolocation,” Kennedy said. 

The attack, which destroyed the building where the soldiers were stationed, was yet another blow to the Russian offensive inside of the Ukraine borders. It came a little more than two months after reservists were called up to the front by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The use of a personal cell phone at a forward operating base could be a breakdown in discipline among the troops.

“The use of a personal cell phone wouldn’t be allowed. In fact, you would not be allowed to even take your personal cell phone into a battlefield,” Kennedy said. “The soldiers involved may have been working at a civilian job the week before.”

Kennedy has experience in avoiding detection by the enemy. While he was in the Air Force, one of the airplanes he flew was a Northrop B-2 Spirit, known as the Stealth Bomber. “In order to hide from our adversaries, we had to manage all of our RF emissions, because we didn’t want anybody to find us by picking up on our signals,” he said.

By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor

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