Image: Russian Defense Ministry

What’s New: Russia may have finally found its feet bringing its electronic warfare (EW) capabilities to bear. 

Why It’s Important: This can be really important, if not decisive, in the conflict.

What Else to Know:

  • Russia has long had a focus on electronic warfare to inexpensively counter expensive, high tech western weapons systems. 
  • The U.S. and the west don’t seem to be doing much to improve navigation systems in the short or medium term.
  • We take issue with the sub-head of the article “There may not be much the West either can or will do to help Ukraine.” There are:
    • Anti-jam technologies that can be deployed. See yesterday’s post about “pizza boxes.”
    • Navigation systems that are relatively easy to deploy that could provide drones and other weapons much better navigation capability. This just hasn’t happened, Maybe because the US and other western forces are not using these systems themselves.



Russia is starting to make its superiority in electronic warfare count

There may not be much the West either can or will do to help Ukraine

Most of the attention to what Ukraine needs in its protracted struggle to free its territory from the invading Russian forces has focused on hardware: tanks, fighter jets, missiles, air-defence batteries, artillery and vast quantities of munitions. But a less discussed weakness lies in electronic warfare (ew); something that Ukraine’s Western supporters have so far shown little interest in tackling.

Russia, says Seth Jones of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a think-tank in Washington, has for many years placed a “huge focus” on using its military-industrial complex to produce and develop an impressive range of ew capabilities to counter nato’s highly networked systems. But Ukraine, according to its commander-in-chief, General Valery Zaluzhny, found itself at the beginning of the war with mainly Soviet-era ew systems. Initially the discrepancy had only limited impact, but as relatively static lines of contact have emerged Russia has been able to position its formidable ew assets where they can have the greatest effect.

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