Espreso. Global

Electronic warfare: effectiveness in countering Russian missiles

24 January, 2024 Wednesday
18:06

Electronic warfare systems are capable of countering Russian missiles, especially 'kamikaze' drones, but it is important not to think of them as something extremely magical

This is reported by Defense Express.

Ukraine's Defense Forces are using electronic warfare systems to strengthen their air defense. The Air Force Command notes that not all Russian missiles reach their targets due to active electronic warfare countermeasures.

Understanding the operation of electronic warfare systems and the principles of missile guidance is important to determine the feasibility of creating a continuous defense through electronic warfare.

Electronic warfare vs. satellite navigation

Drones such as the Shahed-136 use a primitive navigation system, including satellite and inertial. When satellite navigation is suppressed, deviations of up to 5% are possible, but they are compensated for when signals are restored. Blocking of satellite navigation can lead to deviations in the final section of up to 5 km. 

The EW field is effective for protecting individual objects, but not for cities. Cruise missiles, like the Kh-101, use TERCOM and DSMAC systems, reducing effectiveness by up to 70% in different conditions. In particular, TERCOM uses a radio altimeter to scan the terrain, while DSMAC compares photos for precise georeferencing. Satellite navigation serves as an additional system, but its shortcomings, together with electronic warfare, can reduce the effectiveness of an attack by up to 30%.

Electronic warfare vs. radar missiles

Some missiles, including the Kh-22, Kh-35, Oniks, and P-35, use radar heads for homing, especially in the terminal phase of flight. However, not all of them depend on these navigation systems, as some can use active homing with radar heads. For example, the Kh-22 has versions with a passive radar head and an inertial system.

In a simplified form, the missile uses an inertial system (in modern modifications, also satellite-based) on the en route section of the flight path, and uses a radar head on the terminal section to identify and target the target. Jamming the radar signals can "blind" the missile at the terminal area, causing it to lose the target. However, to be effective, this requires a specialized electronic warfare system that can blind radar heads at a distance of several tens of kilometers to the target.

It is important to note that such measures require effective and specialized electronic warfare assets, and do not always guarantee successful missile interdiction. Some assets, such as the Oniks, which are considered to be the latest anti-ship missiles, can respond to electronic warfare assets. However, this is only one aspect of countering long-range weapons.

In addition, Russian missiles, such as the Iskander or the Kh-47 Kinzhal, can use radar warheads to compare with a reference and to provide additional targeting in the terminal phase of flight. However, blocking such missiles with electronic warfare systems can be difficult, especially when they fall on target as ballistic missiles.

Thus, electronic warfare systems are an important element in countering Russian long-range weapons, but they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Effectiveness depends on the specific type of missile and the availability of specialized electronic warfare assets, and requires constant development and modernization to effectively counter modern enemy systems.

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