Increasingly Effective Russian Electronic Warfare Turning the Tide on the Frontlines – Reports

By Military Watch Magazine Editorial Staff

The Ukrainian Armed Forces have face growing difficulties employing Western-supplied precision guided weapons systems due to the growing effectiveness of Russian electronic warfare assets, according to interviews with personnel on the frontlines conducted by a number Western media outlets. Some of the most seriously affected munitions types have included Excalibur GPS-guided artillery shells, HIMARS rocked artillery systems, and JDAM precision guided bombs, with the former two in particular having taken a major toll on Russian forces when operating effectively in the past. Speaking to the Washington Post, an unnamed Ukrainian official claimed that the United States had completely ceased deliveries of Excalibur shells six months prior in late 2023 after Russian electronic warfare systems had rendered them ineffective. Despite its prior reputation as a “one shot, one target” weapon, which had led it’s deployments to cause considerable concern among the leaders of Russian-aligned militia groups, the paper concluded: “the Excalibur technology in existing versions has lost its potential.” Encounters with Russian jamming were seen to have undermined its reputation.

Launch From HIMARS Artillery System

Regarding the HIMARS system, a senior Ukrainian military official lamented regarding its declining effectiveness that in 2023 “everything ended: the Russians deployed electronic warfare, disabled satellite signals, and HIMARS became completely ineffective.” As a result Ukrainian forces have been forced to resort to deploying the “very expensive shell” against lower-priority targets which do not require precision guidance to strike. The JDAM was also criticised for its “non-resistance” to jamming, leading the bombs to miss targets between 200 meters and 1.2km. Ukrainian officials stressed that“an overly bureaucratic process” in Washington had seriously limited the ability to address the issue of “failing weaponry.” The Washington Post’s report follows revelations three weeks prior by U.S., British, and Ukrainian sources familiar with the matter cited by CNN that HIMARS in particular had become “increasingly less effective” in terms of its accuracy when employed against Russian forces due to the growing sophistication of countermeasures being employed

Excalibur Artillery Round (artwork)

Excalibur Artillery Round (artwork)


While undermining the effectiveness of Ukrainian precision guided weapons, Russian electronic warfare systems have also seriously disrupted Starlink internet capabilities provided by the Pentagon, which has from the outset of the conflict being vital to allowing Ukrainian and allied forces to coordinate, collect intelligence and launch drone attacks. Speaking to the New York Times, Ukrainian officials, soldiers and electronic warfare specialists have reported that a major facilitator of recent Russian advances has been the mass “outages” of Starlink in the theatre. This seriously slowed frontline troops’ ability to communicate, and often resulted in reliance on text messages for communication. 

A deputy commander from the Ukrainian Army 92nd Assault Brigade’s drone battalion was among the sources to observe: “We’re losing the electronic warfare fight… One day before the attacks, it just shut down. It became super, super slow.” “We needed to be to be fast in communicating,” another drone operator said, lamenting that the loss of Starlink connectivity “made everything more complicated” and “time consuming.” The New York Times concluded that if disruption of Starlink by Russian forces“continue to succeed, it could mark a tactical shift in the conflict, highlighting Ukraine’s vulnerability and dependence on the service provided by Mr. Musk’s company.” This also raised “broader questions about Starlink’s reliability against a technically sophisticated adversary.” With the Russian Armed Forces cooperating closely with China, North Korea and other Western Bloc adversaries, it is expected that this valuable knowhow will be proliferated. 

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