Russia has major electronic warfare advantage – Ukraine
Moscow enjoys a significant advantage over Kiev in terms of electronic warfare, Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yury Ignat has admitted. He cited the disparity as among the reasons why Ukraine is struggling in its long-anticipated counteroffensive.
Russian forces use electronic countermeasures to disable Ukrainian drones, an approach that Kiev wishes it could also adopt, Ignat said in a TV interview on Monday.
“You don’t need to shoot down a drone with missiles or guns. You can simply force it to go down, intercept it with electronic warfare,” the official stated.
“Russia has powerful systems that interfere with the actions of our defense forces. They have plenty of those systems. Ukraine has made some progress, but we started late,” he added.
The Russian Defense Ministry regularly reports the downing of Ukrainian drones without firing a shot. A raid on Crimea on Monday involved 17 UAVs, 14 of which were disabled by jamming, according to the Russian military.
Russian electronic warfare superiority has been widely acknowledged. A study released by the Royal United Services Institute in London last November estimated that by the summer of that year, Kiev had lost 90% of the thousands of drones it possessed at the beginning of hostilities in February. Once Russian electronic warfare infrastructure was deployed, the life expectancy of Ukrainian UAVs over the battlefield dwindled to three flights for quadcopters and six flights for fixed-wing aircraft, it said.
The issue was also highlighted at the weekend by the New York Times. Ukrainian electronic warfare troops find it difficult to jam Russia’s Lancet loitering munitions because they don’t know how exactly operators communicate with them, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, their opponents detect Ukrainian mobile phone signals, interfere with GPS geopositioning, and call artillery strikes on Starlink routers, which are essential for Ukrainian communications.
In a CNN interview this week, Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov acknowledged that Kiev’s counteroffensive was lagging behind schedule, but insisted that otherwise it was proceeding as planned. Russian officials have said Ukraine has suffered tens of thousands of casualties for no tangible gains.