In the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, a new dimension of warfare is emerging as a crucial battleground: electronic warfare (EW). Recent developments on the Ukrainian front demonstrate the increasing significance of this modern form of combat.
The Rise of Electronic Warfare
Electronic warfare involves the use of the electromagnetic spectrum in military operations. Both Ukrainian and Russian forces are employing EW tactics, primarily through electronic jammers that disrupt GPS-guided targeting systems.
This technology has become a pivotal element in the conflict, with both sides striving to gain the upper hand in this sophisticated arena of warfare. A recent incident underscores the intensifying focus on electronic warfare.
In early November, a drone video posted online by a Ukrainian drone commander showed a targeted strike destroying what was claimed to be a Russian Pole-21 electronic warfare system near Donetsk on the eastern front. This attack not only highlights Ukraine's efforts to counter Russian technological advancements but also signifies the evolving nature of the conflict, where electronic capabilities are increasingly decisive.
Importance of Destroying EW Systems
Ukraine's counteroffensive, which has been ongoing for nearly six months, has revealed the extent of Russia's formidable electronic defenses. Ukrainian forces, such as the 59th Motorized Brigade, are adapting rapidly to these challenges.
Pavlo Petrychenko, the drone commander responsible for the November strike, emphasized the critical importance of neutralizing these systems. Successful strikes against Russian EW capabilities, such as the Pole-21, are vital for Ukraine to regain control of more territory.
Petrychenko detailed the evolution of Russian EW tactics, initially aimed at disrupting Ukrainian communications and drone operations. However, as Ukraine began receiving foreign military equipment, Russia shifted its electronic warfare strategies to target these advanced systems.
The HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) and Excalibur 155, both US-provided technologies, are particularly affected by these EW tactics due to their reliance on satellite guidance. The battle for electronic superiority is becoming increasingly central.
Ukraine's ability to counter and neutralize Russian EW systems could be a determining factor in the trajectory of the war, influencing both tactical operations and broader strategic outcomes.