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US jamming technology is significantly worse than Russia's, ex-Pentagon officials warn

Tom Porter   

US jamming technology is significantly worse than Russia's, ex-Pentagon officials warn
  • Former US officials said the US is falling behind in its electronic warfare capabilities.
  • Russia has developed sophisticated electronic warfare weapons.

The US has been outclassed by its rivals, such as Russia, in its capacity to remotely take out enemy weapons using jamming technology, according to former US military officials.

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, reported Defense One.

Electronic warfare units, which use electronic signals to remotely scramble the GPS coordinates used to guide weapons, have played a key role in Russia's war in Ukraine.

"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 reportedly 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.

Two retired special operations personnel singled out Russia in remarks to the publication. They said that one reason the Kremlin's technology is significantly better, is because it ignored international laws designed to stop jamming of civilian telecommunications.

It had also invested in electromagnetic innovation for decades while the US had focused its jamming technology on gathering intelligence in areas such as the Middle, according to the publication.

Russia has repeatedly used its electronic warfare units to disable expensive precision-guided weapons that the US has given its ally Ukraine in its battle against Russia.

According to reports, they've proven effective in sending GPS-guided Excalibur artillery rounds off course. They have also been effective against the JDAM US-made missiles used by Ukraine's air force, as well as the rockets fired by US-made Himars missile systems.

Last year, Ukraine's outgoing senior commander, Valery Zaluzhnyi, in an interview with The Economist, said Russia's electronic warfare capability had given it an important edge.

The US is closely studying the conflict for information on how to improve its electronic warfare systems. In May, Defense News that the Pentagon is spending millions on developing new electronic warfare systems and technology to evade GPS jamming.

Mark Cancian, an analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, recently told BI that the Department of Defense had been looking at options such as using narrower signal bands or the generation of stronger signals that are able to burn through jamming attempts.

The threats, nevertheless, "remind us to be careful about expecting 'game changers,'" he said. "The other side always develops countermeasures that reduce effectiveness."

In recent months, there have been concerns that Russia's electronic warfare units are scrambling GPS systems used by civilian planes in northern and eastern Europe, with a plane carrying the UK's defense secretary, Grant Shapps, impacted by one suspected attack in March.

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