Russia claims military aircraft exposed to US F-16s guidance systems over Syria
A Russian military aircraft was exposed to "the guidance systems" of F-16 fighter jets of the U.S.-led coalition during a routine patrol over Syria's southern border, Rear Admiral Oleg Gurinov was quoted as telling TASS news agency on Thursday.
According to Gurinov, who serves as the deputy head of the Russian Reconciliation Centre for Syria, the F16s "affected" the Russian aircraft with their guidance systems. He provided no further details.
The guidance systems on fighters jets are the mechanism which allow air-to-air missiles to lock on to potential targets. One aircraft being exposed to the guidance system of another is usually considered a hostile act.
Russia intervened in the Syrian civil war in 2015, tipping the balance in favour of the regime of dictator Bashar al-Assad, deploying a host of brutal tactics such as targeting civilian neighbourhoods and infrastructure in opposition-held areas of Syria. Moscow has since expanded its military facilities in the country with a permanent air base and also has a naval base.
The U.S. is leading a coalition against the Islamic State militant group and has carried out air strikes in Syria this year.
Gurinov also made fresh accusations that the pilots of the coalition had violated Syrian airspace several times over the past day.