According to Izvestia, a Russian newspaper, Moscow is developing a new modular electronic warfare (EW) system to secure its warships and auxiliary vessels against anti-ship missiles and drones.
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According to sources within the Russian military, cited by Izvestia, the new EW systems will be installed in standard 40-foot sea containers and can be easily mounted on the deck of various Russian Navy surface vessels, including auxiliary vessels such as tugs, transports and others.
According to Izvestia, these protective containers should reliably cover ships and ships from enemy missiles and drones, blocking their electronics.
Russian military sources told Izvestia that the Project 22160 series patrol ships will be the first set of platforms within the Russian Navy to receive the new electronic warfare system. Project 22160 ships are large vessels designed for patrol, surveillance and protection in open and closed seas.
Project 22160 ships will be used to defend the coast and coastal bases in the event of a conflict. They can also be used to escort groups of ships and individual ships and in search and rescue and anti-piracy operations.
Most importantly, the ships of Project 22160 have a modular architecture, which means that they can accommodate a variety of weapon systems and equipment for various purposes.
Former Russian Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Valentin Selivanov told Izvestia that the presence of powerful electronic warfare means is important for the modern naval fleet.
“Now electronic warfare is used against drones, tactical aircraft and cruise missiles,” he said.
“And patrol ships, as the name suggests, patrol the coastal zone and will precisely protect the coast from air strikes. Attacks from the sea can be resisted – ships are tracked. But airstrikes can be sudden. But if there are powerful means of electronic warfare, then they will be able to fight with drones, planes and missiles,” Selivanov said.
“Electronic warfare means force the drone to drop its ammunition or land where necessary, that is, to disrupt its attack,” Selivanov explained.
The retired Russian admiral recalled that the Russian armed forces already have experience in the use of electronic warfare equipment in combat conditions in Ukraine.
How EW Shapes Ongoing Conflicts
As EurAsian Times reported in April, media coverage of the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict focuses primarily on the use of missiles, artillery and aircraft. An unseen struggle between the two sides in the electromagnetic realm shaped the war significantly.
Russian EW systems deployed in Ukraine include the RB-341® “Leer-3” supported by Orlan-10 drones, the most advanced RB-301B “Borisoglebsk-2” electronic suppression system, and the RB-636 “Svet -KU” and the RB-109A “Bylina” and Tirada-2.
Capture of the Russian Borisoglebsk-2 electronic warfare system. https://t.co/8Hz2YSSz1T
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) March 13, 2022
The RB-341® “Leer-3” in conjunction with the Orlan-10 drones are aiming to intercept satellite navigation signals, 3G, 4G communications and text messages, while the RB-301B “Borisoglebsk-2” is intended to block Ukrainian military high frequency (HF) and ultra high frequency (HF) ground and air radio channels frequency (UHF), and the RB-636 “Svet-KU”, whose role is to locate and intercept radio signals.
RB-109A “Bylina” and Tirada-2 are used to degrade and jam communications satellite transmissions.
The R-934B “Sinitsa” jamming station can also disrupt and, if necessary, even damage the communication and guidance systems of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO).
In addition to this, there are the 1RL257 “Krasukha-C4” and R-330Zh “Zhitel” automatic jamming stations for reconnaissance and electronic attack (EA) aimed at jamming long-range radar signals from AWACS E -3 of the US Air Force. Sentry and AEW E-2 Hawkeye airborne warning and control aircraft, trying to locate Russian fighters in flight.
During the first months of the war, this vast array of Russian electronic warfare systems appeared to be failing, baffling many military experts who had followed Russian electronic warfare capabilities and concepts for years.
However, since the conflict has shifted to eastern and southern Ukraine, close to Russian territory and the Russian-controlled Crimean Peninsula, the performance of Russian electronic warfare units appears to have improved considerably. improved, especially against Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles (drones).
Ukrainian drones blocked?
It is important to note that drones were instrumental in Ukrainian successes on the battlefield during the first months of the war, when the Russian army was advancing towards Kyiv to seize the Ukrainian capital.
Social media at the time was abuzz with videos showing Russian tanks, air defense systems, helicopters and supply trucks being knocked out by drones or drone-assisted artillery strikes.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) May 1, 2022
However, that began to change after Russia made Donbass the sole focus of its military campaign in Ukraine.
Reports began to emerge that the Russian military is increasingly using its electronic warfare systems due to shorter and more easily defendable supply lines. This allowed Russian electronic warfare equipment to be deployed closer to the front lines. Whereas, in the initial phase of the war, Russian military convoys were blocked due to lack of fuel and other logistical problems.
Moreover, according to Dr. Thomas Withington, an expert in electronic warfare, radar and military communications, eastern Ukraine is very different from Kyiv, where the Russian military is primarily fighting in an open country that facilitates electronic attacks against drones, because it minimizes the risk of jamming signals blocked by large buildings.
In June, a Ukrainian intelligence official revealed that Russian jamming of GPS receivers on drones that Ukraine uses to locate the enemy and direct artillery fire is particularly intense “on the line of contact”.
They claim that Russian electronic warfare equipment was used against the drone; hence the poor image quality. pic.twitter.com/l4kSX6UJbj
— 🇺🇦 Ukrainian Weapon Tracking (@UAWeapons) July 3, 2022
Similar reports even come from the region of southern Ukraine where the Ukrainian army is carrying out its offensive in Kherson.
Wounded Ukrainian soldiers who were part of the ongoing offensive in Kherson have revealed their drones were hijacked by Russian hacking tools, leaving Ukrainian operators helpless.
That said, it is also important to remember that it is impossible to get a definitive picture of the use and effectiveness of Russian electronic warfare capabilities amid the fog of the ongoing war, because the electromagnetic spectrum is an invisible domain and the information available is sketchy.