Espreso. Global
Review

Technology war. How do electronic warfare systems change the course of hostilities? Serhiy Zgurets' column

14 March, 2024 Thursday
12:00

FPV drones and EW systems are pivotal in modern warfare, with Ukraine and Russia advancing their own production to adapt to contemporary battlefields

Ukraine attacks Russian oil refinery complex

Ukraine continues to systematically move the war into Russian territory, targeting critical points of the Russian economy. Ukrainian strikes have hit oil refineries in Russia, including facilities in the Ryazan region, Kirishi, Novoshakhtinsk, and Kstovo, which are among the five largest refineries in Russia. These attacks aim to reduce Russia's economic potential and cut off resources funding the war against Ukraine. As a result, fuel prices in Russia have already begun to rise sharply, prompting the Russian government to impose a six-month ban on gasoline exports starting March 1st.

Ukrainian long-range kamikaze drone Liutyi

Ukraine has targeted oil refineries in Russia using long-range kamikaze drones named Liutyi. These drones were used for strikes on Taganrog on March 9th and a strategically important metallurgical plant in Lipetsk at the end of February this year. From publicly available data, it is known that these drones have a flight range of over 1000 km and can carry a payload of 70 kg. Additionally, as observed, they demonstrate a high level of accuracy in hitting targets.

Additionally, in one of the videos depicting the attacks of Ukrainian drones on oil refineries in Russia, another long-range UAV was observed. This was a drone named "Beaver," which is already more familiar to experts.

Ukrainian long-range kamikaze drone Bober (photo: building-tech)

US announces new military aid package for Ukraine

The systematic use of kamikaze drones by Ukraine for attacks on Russian territory is becoming more pronounced. However, against this backdrop, some experts have begun to suggest that if attacking objects within Russia yields successful results, strikes should also be conducted on Russian airfields where the same Su-34 aircraft used by the enemy for precision bombing missions are stationed. I believe this observation is quite valid, and with a sufficient number of long-range drones available, the list of targets within Russian territory could indeed expand.

Ukraine strikes Russian territory with own technological developments, but we still need weapons from our partners, and this week we received positive signals from the United States. Yesterday, the U.S. administration announced a new $300 million military aid package to Ukraine. This aid package was announced by White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who stated that when Russian forces advance, Ukrainian soldiers often lack ammunition to fire back, leading to territorial losses. He also acknowledged that this package would only cover a short period of time. The package includes a significant amount of ammunition, and it is mentioned that it will also include projectiles for the HIMARS rocket artillery system. Some publications have also suggested the possibility of including ATACMS missiles in this military aid package, especially considering that the need for these missiles in the U.S. military is not critical.

Technology warfare: development and adaptation of electronic warfare systems to combat conditions

Ukrainian defense forces and the Russian occupying army are competing on the battlefield in two key areas - FPV drones and EW capabilities. Today, an article titled "Suppression" was published in the New York Times, discussing how digital technologies are changing the landscape of the Russian-Ukrainian war. The article emphasizes the strengths of the Ukrainian army but also acknowledges the successes of the Russian army, particularly in EW capabilities and their approaches to their utilization.

Anton Mikhnenko, the editor of Ukrainian Defense Review magazine at Defense Express, explained that Russia has a fairly good potential in developing EW systems. Russians have developed a range of different EW systems, touching upon tactical and operational-tactical aspects, and are used to suppress various communication systems. Mikhnenko noted that Russians are working quite well in this component, although they lack some coordination in action, as these systems need to work more harmoniously. On the other hand, Russians have discovered a direction related to tactical EW. In 2022, there were still questions about using signal suppression systems at the tactical level, but now the situation has changed.

Russians, leveraging their expertise in this component, have begun to deploy EW systems at the tactical level. However, this does not mean that our adversary can use such systems effectively. According to Mikhnenko, EW systems evolve and change according to the conditions of combat operations. The adversary adapts to these conditions, just as Ukraine does. On our side, Ukraine has a number of manufacturers that have proven themselves well before 2014. After 2022, Ukraine has seen the emergence of additional manufacturers working on the development and production of effective EW systems.

Warfare is evolving. According to Mikhnenko, it's difficult to say how the adversary applied EW systems in 2022 and how they do so now. For example, there is much talk about jamming all frequencies. However, in modern war conditions, this wouldn't be practical as it obstructs one's own forces. If the army applies EW that covers the entire frequency range, it creates problems for the use of its own communication tools and drones. Therefore, tools are needed that suppress the specific frequency range on which a particular drone operates. Such tools exist and are being implemented in the Ukrainian army. However, as Mikhnenko noted, these things are quite costly. In general, EW systems are an expensive affair.

Ukrainian electronic warfare system Pluton

Anton Mikhnenko also addressed a pressing issue – timely warning for units operating deep within Russian territory about the presence of drones. Recently, the enemy has been successful in destroying Ukrainian equipment by first detecting it with reconnaissance drones. Today, Ukraine manufactures the Pluton EW system, which detects Russian drones. This system specifically identifies drones associated with the Russian Federation. It can identify signals from known enemy drones.

Ukrainian specialists can already distinguish each type of Russian drone based on its signal. The specificity of the signal helps Pluton detect them, allowing timely warnings about enemy drones in the sky. However, as Mikhnenko emphasized, the fact that the enemy has begun flying drones deep into the front lines means they are using more resilient EW-resistant tools. This poses a challenge for Ukrainian EW systems, and this situation requires immediate resolution.

Anton Mikhnenko reported that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have already received a certain batch of Pluton EW systems. In some units, the system is already actively being used. The current situation suggests that our army will receive significantly more of these systems in the future.

Cooperation between Ukrainian and foreign producers of electronic warfare

Anton Mikhnenko explained that many countries are closely watching what is happening in Ukraine, analyzing events on the front lines. This includes foreign weapons manufacturers drawing conclusions about the use of EW in wartime conditions. Mikhnenko noted that today, many EW systems produced by our partners are used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. He also emphasized the importance of cooperation between Ukrainian companies and foreign ones in the production of EW systems. Since our partners have good mathematical solutions, amplifiers, and software solutions for signal processing, it would be beneficial for Ukrainian manufacturers to collaborate with them. In other words, they have a range of solutions that would be interesting for Ukrainian EW system producers.

Tags:
Read also:
  • News
2024, Sunday
14 April
17:55
Zelenskyy comments on impact of aid slowdown to Ukraine
17:25
Russian forces push west of Bakhmut, targeting Siverskyi Donets-Donbas Canal, Chasiv Yar
16:56
Russia shells Kherson residential neighborhoods overnight, hitting high-rise building
16:26
Scholz kicks off three-day China tour to discuss China's support for Russia
15:56
Russian forces use drone to drop explosives on civilian truck in Sumy region, killing driver
15:30
OPINION
Iran-Israel conflict: Impact on Tehran's relations with Moscow
15:00
Russia develops deportation method for Russian passport holders in occupied territories
14:30
Reign of unchecked terror: Kovalenko on how rogue nations thrive
14:03
Exclusive
Ukraine's new UK minehunters will dock Black Sea only after hostilities end — Ukrainian Navy Reserve Captain
13:30
OPINION
No point to rush for Putin
13:00
Iran's strikes on Israel echo Russian tactics in Ukraine – ISW
12:30
Exclusive
"A woman must be self-sufficient and rely primarily on herself" - paramedic Yevheniya Kolesnichenko
11:50
Russia loses 900 soldiers, 34 artillery systems, and 24 armored vehicles in one day – General Staff
11:20
Russian army kills two civilians in Kharkiv region village
10:42
Updated
Ukraine strikes Russian Center troop group command post in occupied Luhansk
2024, Saturday
13 April
20:00
Exclusive
Ukraine needs energy 'Ramstein', special official, more solar and wind power plants: former energy minister explains top priorities
19:45
OPINION
Mobilisation, demobilisation and reservation: three problems of current war
19:25
Russia aims to level Donetsk region to ground: guided bombs dropped on 5-storey building in Ocheretyne
19:04
Ukraine has 500 defense enterprises employing almost 300,000 people - Zelenskyy
18:35
"Republicans are killing Ukraine": Stephen King on delay of US aid to Kyiv
18:00
Germany to hand over third Patriot system to Ukraine
17:36
Air defense missiles are in deficit: Ukraine's presidential adviser explains why Kyiv seeks help
17:07
Situation escalates: Syrskyi to reinforce problematic defense areas in eastern Ukraine
16:40
Exclusive
All Ukrainians may be forced to take up arms: former General Staff spokesman on drafting women
15:40
Russia disperses forces between Robotyne and Verbove: new Russian tactics in Zaporizhzhia sector
15:10
Ukrainian army controls Bohdanivka, intense fighting continues for this village — Defense Ministry
14:39
Review
No space for maneuvers: how to stay with electricity when there are no thermal power plants left in Ukraine
14:02
Review
Russia's attacks on energy sector, use of Kh-69, comparison of battles in Bakhmut, Avdiivka, Chasiv Yar. Weekly military review
13:30
Second anniversary of Moskva cruiser destruction: Navy spokesman reveals details of special operation
13:00
Updated
Ukrainian army eliminates 1,030 Russian soldiers, 23 tanks, 47 armored vehicles per day - General Staff
12:28
Ukraine is in active talks on two Patriot and one SAMP/T, Kuleba says
12:00
Ukraine needs air defense systems to protect its defense industry - ISW
11:31
Ukrainians may have up to 5 million weapons, almost all of them registered - Interior Ministry
11:00
British POW, who fought Putin’s troops in Ukraine, wins lawsuit against Russia
10:30
Ukraine negotiates with Poland, Romania, Spain on air defense systems supply
2024, Friday
12 April
21:40
Review
Victorious news of 779th day of war: former SBU officer’s car blown up in Moscow, Netherlands allocates €1bn in military aid to Ukraine
21:20
Ukrainian forces repel most Russian attacks in Bakhmut sector over last day - General Staff
20:54
Exclusive
Which countries have Patriot air defense systems Ukraine needs: expert tells
20:35
Exclusive
Mass, cheapness win in war of attrition: expert on dynamics of technical changes at front
20:15
Ukrainian forces target Russian UAZ-469, dugout, trailed howitzer, ATGM
More news