US-supplied HIMARS 'completely ineffective' against superior Russian jamming technology, report says

  • Russian jamming has rendered US-supplied HIMARS rocket launchers "completely ineffective."

  • A confidential Ukrainian weapons assessment was seen by The Washington Post.

  • Jamming has also affected Musk's Starlink, causing serious communication issues for Ukraine.

US-supplied HIMARS rocket launchers have been rendered "completely ineffective" as a result of Russian electronic jamming systems, a new report said.

A confidential Ukrainian weapons assessment, seen by The Washington Post, stated that Ukraine has had to halt or scale back its use of many US-supplied arms because of targeting problems.

The report mentions weapons such as Excalibur GPS-guided artillery shells and the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.

"The Excalibur technology in existing versions has lost its potential," the assessment found. Its use on the battlefield in Ukraine had disproved its reputation as a "one shot, one target" weapon.

The HIMARS system, which can fire rockets up to 50 miles, was hailed early in the war as a lifeline for Ukraine but has now become much less of a threat on the battlefield, a Ukrainian military source told The Post.

"The Russians deployed electronic warfare, disabled satellite signals, and HIMARS became completely ineffective," the source told The Post. According to the assessment, Russian jamming can cause the missiles to miss a target by 50 feet or more.

Earlier this week, a report revealed that US-supplied glide bombs were also continually missing their targets as a result of Russian jamming.

Other systems, including the UK's Storm Shadow missile and the US Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS), are far less susceptible to Russian jamming.

ATACMS Army Tactical Missile System
ATACMS Army Tactical Missile SystemUS Army/Wikipedia Commons/Public Domain

Jamming is a very inexpensive tactic as the software is relatively cheap and it can take out munitions worth tens of thousands of dollars, Defense One reported.

The Russian jamming system operates from the ground, projecting a "cone" that prevents weapons from communicating with satellites. These satellites guide the missiles toward their targets.

Russia "has continued to expand their use of electronic warfare," a senior US official, who was not named, told The Post. "And we continue to evolve and make sure that Ukraine has the capabilities they need to be effective."

However, earlier this month Mike Nagata, a retired US Army lieutenant general who led special operations in the Middle East, said that the US is "still falling behind" in its electronic warfare capabilities, Defense One reported.

"The gap between where the United States should be and where we are, in my judgment, continues to expand not everywhere, but in far too many places," Nagata said at the SOF Week conference in Tampa, Florida. He called on the US to get more creative to regain its dominance in electronic warfare.

Vehicles with tall poles attached to them.
A Russian R-330Zh Zhitel electronic-warfare jamming station during an exercise in July 2018.Denis Abramov/Russian Defense Ministry via

Russia's jamming technology has even targeted Elon Musk's Starlink service in Ukraine.

Since the beginning of the war, Ukraine's military has used SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet service to communicate and coordinate attacks.

But earlier this month, the Russian military succeeded in disrupting Starlink, creating serious problems for Ukraine's frontline troops, according to The New York Times.

Members of Ukraine's 92nd Assault Brigade said Starlink became extremely slow as Russian troops launched a major assault across the northern border toward Kharkiv.

"One day before the attacks, it just shut down," a soldier who goes by the call sign Ajax told the outlet. "It became super, super slow."

"We're losing the electronic warfare fight," Ajax said.

Read the original article on Business Insider