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West must help Ukraine thwart Russian plans: ISW points out an important step

ISW points out why the West should help Ukraine to break Russian electronic warfare systems

Both Ukrainian and Russian forces continue to struggle with the problems posed by electronic warfare systems at the front today. However, if the West were to provide military support to Ukraine to help break it down or bypass it, it would increase the Ukrainian Armed Forces' ability to disrupt its attacks and continue its offensives.

This was pointed out by analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). At the same time, the Ukrainian military says that the aggressor country has already begun to lack such equipment.

Earlier, The Economist reported that Russia's superior electronic warfare systems impede Ukraine's intelligence, communications, and strike capabilities. Citing Western experts, the journalists said that Russia has paid "enormous attention" to the production and development of "superior" electronic warfare, while Ukraine is "struggling" to produce equivalent systems and EW-resistant weapons domestically.

In his essay "Modern Positional Warfare and How to Win in It," the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, stated that the Defense Forces need to implement the necessary management and control processes for electronic warfare systems, increase the production capacity of electronic warfare systems, optimize interaction with organizations that provide the Armed Forces with smaller electronic warfare systems, as well as improve Ukrainian measures to counter enemy electronic warfare and develop new electronic warfare-ready drones.

Later, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine stated that it was already working on developing drone variants that are more resistant to Russian electronic warfare systems and producing successful variants on a large scale.

West must help Ukraine thwart Russian plans: ISW points out an important step

Margarita Konaev, deputy director of analysis at the Center for Security and Emerging Technologies (CSET), and Owen Daniels, a CSET research fellow, argued on September 6 that Russia's adaptation to deploying electronic warfare systems continues to pose challenges for Ukrainian drones that transmit target information and provide protection for Ukrainian signals. The Russians themselves had previously attributed the greater capabilities of their electronic warfare to the protection of troops from Ukrainian counteroffensives in the south in June 2023.

At the same time, propagandists have also repeatedly expressed concerns and complaints about the alleged shortcomings of Russian electronic warfare systems. In particular, they attribute the superiority of Ukrainian electronic warfare and aerial reconnaissance systems to the Ukrainian Armed Forces' offensive south of Bakhmut. According to them, Ukrainian electronic warfare systems also significantly disrupted Russian communications in the western part of the Zaporizhzhia region in August 2023.

Against this background, ISW estimates that the effectiveness of Russian electronic warfare systems is inconsistent along the entire front, which allows the Armed Forces to continue using drone-based reconnaissance and strike systems to disrupt the occupiers' offensives.

"Russian bloggers are inconsistent in their assessments of which side has superior electronic warfare systems, indicating that neither Russia nor Ukraine currently has a decisive advantage over the other side. Western assistance in support of Ukraine's efforts to destroy, disable, or circumvent Russian electronic warfare systems would enhance the Ukrainian Armed Forces' ability to accurately hit targets near the front line, disrupting Russia's offensive and creating conditions for further Ukrainian offensives," the analysts concluded.

Oleh Kalashnikov, press officer of the 26th Separate Artillery Brigade named after Roman Dashkevych, noted that the Russian Armed Forces have begun to lack electronic warfare systems. According to him, the occupiers used to have a lot of electronic warfare systems: about one system per 10 kilometers.

"However, now they are severely lacking them as they install them less frequently and they cannot fully cover the entire territory as they used to, so they have gaps in their defense," he explained.

He also emphasized that at the same time, the Armed Forces of Ukraine are using electronic warfare systems (including their own developments) to destroy enemy drones, both reconnaissance and attack.

As reported by OBOZ.UA, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine recently demonstrated the testing of new drones. The drones were tested, among other things, under the influence of radiation from an electronic warfare system. At the same time, the defenders destroyed the Russian Borisoglebsk-2 electronic warfare system, which cost about $200 million, using a modernized Punisher drone.

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