Russian jamming in Ukraine has become so effective that even US-made guided weapons sent to Kyiv may no longer hit targets accurately, according to several British military analysts.
A recent analysis by the UK’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) notes that while Moscow’s electronic warriors could not stop the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), their improved jamming skills are taking a toll on the weapon’s accuracy.
This reportedly happens despite multiple anti-jamming upgrades on the JDAMs.
According to the report, Russia’s sophisticated electronic warfare systems are simply drowning out GPS guidance signals from satellites, affecting the trajectory of smart weapons.
“The problem may well be the sheer power of the jamming signal that can be brought to bear,” RUSI researcher Thomas Withington said.
Apart from the JDAMs, the jamming could also be affecting the performance of the US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS.
Improved EW Capabilities
The American JDAMs have reportedly made a significant impact on Ukraine’s fight against Russian aggression.
The effect of the cost-effective smart bomb has unsurprisingly spurred Moscow to develop countermeasures.
Withington explained that the Russian Army currently operates the R-330Zh Zhitel, a truck-mounted jamming system, against GPS and satellite signals with 100 MHz to 2 GHz wavebands.
“Signals from the US GPS satellites which JDAM kits use are transmitted on wavebands from 1.164 GHz to 1.575 GHz,” he said, indicating that the weapon falls within the jammer’s catchment area.
Withington further stated that the Zhitel’s range has been increased to 18.6 miles (30 kilometers), with a 10-kilowatt jamming signal.
Massive EW Campaign
Russia’s investment in counter-GPS technologies is part of a massive electronic warfare campaign to disrupt Ukrainian radio communications and drone operations.
RUSI stated that Moscow has now employed approximately one major EW system per 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of frontage.
Such extended coverage has reportedly contributed to a Ukrainian drone loss rate of 10,000 per month.