Russian EWs disable newly developed US bombs – Pentagon said

An intriguing report from the Pentagon reveals that a recently-engineered weapon, specifically designed for use by Ukraine, is faltering when tested on the battlefield. Russia’s superior electronic warfare systems seem to be undermining the weapon’s effectiveness. This insightful report emerged on May 1, from the Pentagon’s desk. 

Despite speculation, the use of GLSDB bombs in Ukraine didn't occur
Photo credit: SAAB

Though the weapon remains unnamed in the report, it’s identified as a precision air-to-ground armament, tailor-made for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Citing Russia’s electromagnetic warfare as a prime factor, Bill LaPlante, the Pentagon’s head of acquisition, acknowledged the failure of the ground-launched version of this air-to-surface weapon during a CSIS think tank event. 

Notably, some experts, including Brian Clark, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, speculate that the weapon in question might be none other than the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb [GLSDB].

Awarded with bragging rights, GLSDB boasts a phenomenal range of 90 miles, significantly surpassing the reach of the Guided Multiple Launch System [GMLRS] missiles, which Ukraine had previously deployed to disrupt Russia’s logistics bases. It is reported that funding for this formidable weapon was approved in February 2023, with Ukraine allegedly operationalizing it by February 2024. 

At its core, the weapon utilizes GPS to pinpoint its targets. In addition, it incorporates an inertial navigation system to estimate target locations using accelerometers and other measuring instruments. 

The efficacy of Russian electronic warfare systems in Ukraine is certainly showcasing its potent efficacy. For context, BulgarianMilitary.com reminded us just last year about the 155-mm M982 Excalibur extended-range guided missiles, generously gifted by the United States to Ukraine. These were adversely affected by the Russian Polye-21 radio-electronic warfare systems. The key function of Polye-21 disrupt the GPS signal on the American projectile, thereby causing paralysis of the system.

In a congressional hearing in March 2024, Daniel Patt from the Hudson Institute, a renowned senior fellow, highlighted that the guidance system of the Excalibur GPS-guided missile plunged from 70 percent efficiency to a paltry 6 percent within a few months due to the introduction of “new radio-electronic protection mechanisms” in Ukraine. Patt’s insights were based on the expertise of Jack Watling, a scholar at the RUSI think tank, who made multiple visits to Ukraine to converse with Ukrainian commanders. 

Russian Polye-21 radio EW jams the 155mm M982 Excalibur - US
Photo credit: Reddit

Shedding light on Russia’s formidable military prowess, a British report from May 2023 underscores its robust defense capabilities. According to the Royal United Services Institute [RUSI], Russia neutralizes around 10,000 Ukrainian drones every month. As the report points out, a significant aspect of Russia’s combat strategies is its extensive deployment of electronic warfare, which is believed to significantly contribute to the high attrition rate of Ukrainian drones. 

The figures, which translate into a staggering confiscation of over 300 drones per day, were derived from the revelations of three unidentified Ukrainian officers interviewed in the early months of 2023. Despite the possibly exaggerated numbers, James Patton Rogers, a Professor of Military Science at the University of Southern Denmark and a renowned drone specialist, acknowledges the proficiency of Russian electronic warfare against the rampant use of drones in Ukraine’s conflict arena. 

According to the comprehensive report by the Royal Joint Services Institute, Russia has sagaciously stationed an extensive electronic warfare mechanism approximately every six miles along the estimated 750-mile conflict frontier. These warfare systems, which play a significant role in crippling drone activities, are strategically placed about four miles off the front line, as detailed in the report.

Russian Polye-21 radio EW jams the 155mm M982 Excalibur - US
Photo credit: Twitter

The Russian military has notably managed to implement electronic warfare techniques against GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions [JDAMs], a modernized form of aerial bombs. This development directly counters the precision of US capabilities and poses a significant challenge, as stated by the head of a major US aid coordination group at a conference in December 2023. 

Citing insights shared by Ukrainian military personnel, Clark highlighted that the Russians make use of GPS spoofers to derail these munitions. 

Let’s simplify this: GPS spoofers work by transmitting fake location data to GPS navigation systems. The fact that GPS signals are inherently weak allows for a more powerful, counterfeit signal to override the correct coordinates. It’s important to note that Russia’s use of GPS spoofing tactics in Ukraine isn’t new—it dates back to at least 2018. More alarmingly, technological advancements have now enabled these spoofers to be built inexpensively, using nothing more than a software-defined radio and open-source software.

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