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Tue, Aug 23, 2005

Russian Authorities Try To Jam The Jammers

Acting On US Protest, They Try To Evict GPS-Jammer Maker From MAKS

US and Russian authorities apparently agreed on one thing Friday -- Aviakonversia has got to go. So, Russian authorities tried, but failed, to throw the company's representatives out of the Moscow Air Show, MAKS.

With a huge American presence at MAKS this year, Russian authorities seemed eager to avoid any sort of confrontation. So, at the apparent urging of US officials, Russian law officers went to the show to confront the company, which had a booth there.

Aviakonversia makes a GPS jammer that seems to have caused American forces so much trouble in the early days of the 2003 Iraq war, President Bush reportedly lodged a strong personal protest in a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. American officials accused Russia of sending advisors into Iraq during the air raids and subsequent invasion. Russia denied the allegation.

"Our GPS jammer puts all US high-precision weapons out of order," Antonov said. "They have turned billions of dollars that the US government has spent into dust."

While Antonov denied that he sold this jamming technology (crude homemade example, above) directly to Saddam Hussein's regime, he didn't deny selling to people who might have delivered the goods to Saddam.

"Right before the war," he said, "there were a lot of people in Moscow with suitcases full of money shopping for anything that could deter US troops."

Friday, at least three Russian agencies sent representatives to MAKS to throw the jammers out. They failed.

"They demanded we pack up, but we have the right to be here -- we paid the rent for this stall," Antonov told the Times after meeting with the Russian federal agents. "We have made the product using our own money and do not need the approval from the Defense Ministry, a grocery director or a banya director."

FMI: www.aviasalon.com/en

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