Pokrova system against missiles and Shahed drones: is it really a game changer?
Ukraine deploys the Pokrova nationwide electronic warfare system to counter Russia's missile and drone strikes. It is able to jam the satellite radio navigation field and suppress it along the entire front line and across most of Ukraine's territory
Defense Express writes that the announcement of the deployment of the Pokrova nationwide electronic warfare system, made by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, is not just of great, but truly strategic importance.
Even though information about it is extremely limited, it is known that its purpose is to "spoof the satellite radio navigation field, suppress satellite radio navigation along the entire line of contact and in most of the territory of Ukraine."
Shaheds will be more affected by weather
All systems that use satellite navigation will not work when it is turned on, not only in the frontline area but almost all over Ukraine. More precisely, they may either not work if Pokrova is set to suppress signals or show incorrect data if coordinates are changed.
From a civilian perspective, this means that all navigators with GPS, GLONASS, and other similar systems will not work at all, or will display incorrect data. Even drivers who use navigation programs will have to use paper maps or memorize routes.
The satellite navigation system will not work for weapons either. This will be extremely crucial for many. For example, the Shahed-136 uses only satellite navigation and a rather primitive inertial navigation system, which, in case of signal loss, allows it to continue flying in a straight line towards the target, but without compensation for wind and with a constant accumulating error.
Spoofing replaces real signals from satellites with false ones. In other words, the conditional Shahed continues to believe that it is flying along the correct route, but in fact, its real position differs from the coordinates it receives.
Can Pokrova be effective against cruise missiles?
It should be noted that the mere suppression of GPS or GLONASS is not something out of the ordinary. Therefore, to ensure the reliable operation of satellite-based guidance systems, Russia is actively installing jamming-resistant Kometa-M systems in its weapons, including Shaheds, cruise missiles, and planning and correction modules for air bombs.
But in September, the head of Ukraine's Main Department of Electronic Warfare, Ivan Pavlenko, said that "we already have the ability to counteract this system."
This means that by deploying continuous satellite navigation jamming fields, the effectiveness of the enemy's use of Shahed-136 drones will be significantly reduced.
The Pokrova electronic warfare system should also help defeat cruise missiles, but not as effectively as in the case of Shahed. The fact is that cruise missiles use much more accurate inertial navigation, as well as DSMAC and TERCOM systems that compare the image of the terrain and relief under the missile during flight with a reference image stored in memory. But without satellite navigation, their accuracy will suffer.