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Kiev’s forces struggling against Russian jamming systems – NYT

Ukrainian troops have reportedly been unable to effectively use their drones after Russia improved its electronic warfare capabilities

Russian forces have secured an advantage in the field of electronic warfare in Ukraine, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing military experts as well as Ukrainian soldiers. The outlet claims that Kiev’s troops have been unable to effectively use their drones on the battlefield due to constant jamming by the Russians.

Drones have played a key role throughout the conflict and have been extensively used by both sides. For Kiev, as noted by the NYT, cheap commercial First Person View (FPV) racing drones have seemed like an effective alternative to artillery shells. 

“FPVs play a critical role for us, as these toys are essentially mobile artillery that compensate for the lack of artillery ammunition,” one Ukrainian drone operator told the outlet. 

However, over the past year, Russia has improved its jamming capabilities, significantly reducing the impact of Ukraine’s drones and straining its limited supply of the off-the-shelf devices. This is threatening to completely sideline this “key component of Ukraine’s arsenal.” 

“Some days everything goes smoothly, other days the equipment breaks, the drones are fragile and there is jamming,” another Ukrainian soldier told the outlet. 

According to the NYT, electronic countermeasures have now become one of the Russian military’s most formidable weapons due to their ability to both suppress Ukrainian signals and broadcast on their frequencies. 

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FILE PHOTO. Russian ZALA Lancet kamikaze drone
Ukrainian expert admits Russian drone superiority

Last summer, the superiority of Russia’s electronic warfare capabilities was also acknowledged by Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yuri Ignat, who explained that Kiev’s much-hailed counteroffensive was stalling precisely due to Moscow’s latest jamming technologies. 

“Unfortunately, in this regard, [Russian forces] are far ahead of us. The drone does not need to be shot down by anti-aircraft missiles or anti-aircraft guns. You can just force it to land and intercept it with electronic warfare,” Ignat said. 

In December, Ukrainian military expert Maria Berlinskaya also stated in an interview that Kiev was significantly lagging behind Moscow in the development and production of UAVs. She stressed that Ukraine was “ill-prepared” for the highly “technological war” while Russia, on the other hand, had fully embraced electronic warfare and advanced drone development.  

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stressed the importance of further developing drone technology and equipping the Russian army with cutting-edge weapons, including those based on artificial intelligence.

March 13, 2024 at 06:34PM

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