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Russia’s jamming technology reducing accuracy of U.S. weapons in Ukraine to just 10%
By Richard Brown // May 30, 2024

Many high-tech American weapons systems in Ukraine are being rendered ineffective due to Russian military jamming technology.

Russia's interference with the guidance systems of modern Western weapons, including Excalibur GPS-guided artillery shells and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), has severely undermined Ukraine's defense capabilities. As a result, officials in Kyiv are urgently seeking upgrades from the Pentagon and arms manufacturers.

The success rate of United States-designed Excalibur shells plummeted to less than 10 percent, leading Ukraine's military to abandon their use last year, according to confidential Ukrainian assessments.

Six months ago, after receiving reports of these issues, Washington stopped supplying Excalibur shells due to their high failure rate, Ukrainian officials said, speaking anonymously on a sensitive security matter. In contrast, for other weapons like aircraft-dropped JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) bombs, manufacturers provide fixes to allow for their continued use on the battlefield.

Russian electronic warfare systems and air defenses pose significant threats to Ukrainian pilots. Some Russian jammers even disrupt the navigation systems of planes. Analysts have warned that Russian defenses are so dense that Ukrainian pilots feel constantly targeted.

HIMARS launchers, which were initially successful in striking enemy ammunition depots and command points, became ineffective in the second year of the invasion due to Russian electronic warfare disabling satellite signals.

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"This ineffectiveness led to the point where a very expensive shell was used increasingly to strike lower-priority targets," a senior Ukrainian military official said.

A new ground-launched version of an air-to-ground weapon, developed rapidly for Ukraine, also failed due to Russian electromagnetic warfare, according to Bill LaPlante, the Pentagon’s acquisition chief.

LaPlante suggested Ukraine might no longer be interested in the weapon, likely the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), based on his description.

The GLSDB, boasting a range of 90 miles, was approved for funding in February 2023 and reportedly used by February. However, its effectiveness has been compromised by Russian jamming.

GPS spoofers used by Russia send false location data to GPS navigation devices, overriding correct signals with stronger, false ones. These spoofers can be created cheaply with a software-defined radio and open-source software.

Meanwhile, the weapons they counter are costly: a GMLRS (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System) missile costs around $160,000, an Excalibur round up to $100,000, and a GLSDB around $40,000.

Military-industrial complex using Ukraine conflict to test out its weapons

The military-industrial complex has turned Russia's special military operation in Ukraine into a testing ground for its latest arms, which had never faced adversaries that could match their capabilities, such as Moscow's GPS jamming technology. (Related: Russian electronic warfare systems are successfully disabling “sophisticated” US-supplied Ukrainian weapons.)

The conflict is providing valuable real-world data on how U.S. precision weapons perform under modern threats like electronic warfare. This intelligence helps build on years of research and discussions among U.S. defense companies and Pentagon officials about the impact of electronic warfare and the ways to adapt. The Pentagon is exploring options such as narrower signal bands and stronger signals to counter jamming attempts.

Doug Bush, the Army's acquisition chief, noted the constant cycle of innovation, with both sides developing countermeasures to each other's advancements. The U.S. Air Force recently announced a contract to enhance JDAMs with add-on seekers to resist jamming and target the source of the jamming.

Efforts to adapt precision weapons to electronic warfare threats are part of a broader strategy. Establishing electromagnetic superiority in future conflicts will be crucial to prevent enemies from interfering with U.S. weapons. As the U.S. and Ukraine learn from the current conflict and adapt, the cycle of innovation and countermeasures will continue.

Watch this video of Alex Christoforou commenting on Russia's GPS jamming technology.

This video is from the channel Oldyoti's Home Page on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

EU member claims Putin using top-secret electronic weapon to jam GPS on flights, ships

WSJ: U.S. drones sent to Kyiv are vulnerable, expensive and “no match” for Moscow’s electronic countermeasures

Peer-reviewed academic paper: Chinese naval vessels could penetrate military radar systems of the U.S. and its allies

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