Colby Badhwar 🇨🇦🇬🇧 Profile picture
Jun 18 16 tweets 5 min read Read on X
Is Russian Electronic Warfare successfully jamming the GPS signals on American provided precision guided munitions to the point that Ukraine can no longer effectively employ them?

No. No it is not.

Many people seem to believe so though. So what's really going on?


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A lot of the public discourse around Russian EW has focused on their efforts at GPS interference and denial. This has arguably been a successful Russian info operation. Lost in the conversation is that the most vulnerable systems to EW are commercial off-the shelf ones.

These include non-military grade communications and commercial drones. A RUSI report from May 2023 found that Russian EW was jamming Ukrainian comms over Motorolas with 256-bit encryption and was also downing 10,000 Ukrainian UAS per month.

These are significant problems that require more attention. While the low cost of COTS FPV drones may still make them cost effective, delivering military grade communications and UAS with EW resiliency should still be a high priority.

Now, about the GPS guided munitions.

GPS guided munitions are not equally impacted. Some are completely compromised, others are degraded but still effective, especially with countermeasures and others remain largely unaffected. The Russians do learn, so this is an ever evolving challenge.

On one end of the spectrum, the M982 Excalibur 155mm guided artillery shell initially enjoyed a 70% effective rate. Russian adaptations to their GPS jamming efforts were successful in reducing that to just 6% though. Consequentially Ukraine largely abandoned using them.

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Per US Department of Defense figures, Ukraine was only provided with ~7000 of these rounds though, with the last commitment in April 2023. So Ukraine was able to use them for about a year, and their employment has tapered off due to the limited stocks and the GPS denial.

The impact of EW on GMLRS was first reported in May 2023. Fresh documentation of Ukrainian GMLRS fire missions has continued since then though, so it has clearly not been rendered ineffective. EW impacts can be mitigated by allocating additional missiles for each target.

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Reports of JDAM-ER being impacted by EW also first emerged last spring. As with GMLRS, revised mission planning and continuous software patches from the manufacturers mitigate these impacts. JDAM-ER has maintained a 60% average effective rate for most of 2023 as a result.

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Ground Launched Small Diameter Bomb has been one of the failures, both due to EW & other unspecified issues. Boeing is working on resolving the EW vulnerability, though this will take months. It may yet prove to be useful in the future, but right now it's a lesson learned.

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Unlike it’s ground launched derivative, unmodified GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs (SDB) have apparently been 90% effective. This may degrade over time as the Russians make their own improvements to their EW tactics, but so far it has been a very useful addition.

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The arrival of F-16s has the potential to both improve Ukraine's resiliency to Russian EW and improve their counter-EW capabilities. The DoD has already contracted the delivery of Home-On GPS Jam seekers to be integrated onto Ukraine’s JDAM-ERs.

This thread is based on my last column for @InsiderEng. There is more detail available there if you are interested. Note that the focus was on Russian GPS denial efforts. The fight over the electromagnetic spectrum is very complex, so I could not cover all aspects of it.

While Russia does have an EW advantage, Ukraine has significant capabilities of their own. The details around this are heavily guarded though, so my writing was only based on open-source information. Don't take it as a comprehensive overview of the EW battlespace.

Finally, I'll remind people that I don't get to write the headlines. No single system, including F-16s has the potential to give Ukraine an advantage in EW. It's a rapidly evolving fight and no advantage that either side has will be permanent.

I should clarify, I'm talking about systems that are relying on GPS or radio communications. Obviously dumb munitions can't be impacted by EW. But if EW can impact your system, you're never going to make it 100% invulnerable. There is always going to be a new electronic attack technology that will change the game, and then new resiliency technologies to counter it.

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Jul 24
𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗝𝗮𝗸𝗲 𝗦𝘂𝗹𝗹𝗶𝘃𝗮𝗻 𝗯𝗲 𝗳𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱?

"Yes", is a pretty popular sentiment in pro-Ukraine circles. However, the key question is, would it result in substantive change? Is Sullivan the true cause of Ukraine's woes, or is he just a convenient scapegoat?

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Officially the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), or more commonly, the National Security Advisor, Sullivan has held the role since the beginning of the Biden Administration. It is one of the most powerful positions in the White House.

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Previously, Sullivan worked for then Secretary of State Clinton during President Obama's first term. He then succeeded Tony Blinken as then Vice President Biden's National Security Advisor for the first year & a half of Obama's second term.

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May 9
🇨🇦🇺🇦 There are many examples of lacklustre support to Ukraine, but Canada's @RoshelDefence isn't one of them. They have delivered 1000 armoured vehicles to Ukraine, and counting.

This is a thread of highlights from my exclusive interview with Roshel's CEO, Roman Shimonov.

1/11 АрміяInform, CC BY 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons
Please do read the entire interview, linked below, @ArchivesDefense. My thanks to @ThrustWR and the team there for publishing it in full. Here are some of the most interesting things that Roman had to say though. ⬇️

In 2022 they delivered 70 Senator APCs to Ukraine on an urgent requirement contract from the Czech Ministry of Defence in under 3 months, ahead of schedule. A stark contrast to other companies taking years to fulfill orders. Roshel is running 3 shifts to meet demand.

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May 2
INDOPACOM bros, we're so back!

This is thread three of three on the national security supplemental. Today I'll be explaining the Indo-Pacific Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024 (IPSSAA).

IPSSAA appropriates $8,120,242,000, of which:

$5,870,242,000 is for the US Department of Defense

$2,000,000,000 is for Foreign Military Financing program

$250,000,000 is for economic assistance via the International Development Association

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You can see that the majority of the funding in DoD accounts ($3,295,242,000) goes to the US Submarine Industrial Base. Of the rest:

$132,600,000 is for Defense Production Act Purchases

$1.9b is for Taiwan drawdown replacement

$542,400,000 is for INDOPACOM's FY24 UPL

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Apr 30
This is the second of three threads on the national security supplemental that passed Congress last week. Today I'll be explaining the $26.4 billion Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024 (ISSAA).

🧵 1/34
ISSAA appropriates a total of $26,382,000,000, of which:

$7.84 billion is for the US Department of Defense

$8.7 billion is for security assistance to Israel

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The $690 million balance is for miscellaneous purposes.

$400 million of those miscellaneous funds are for the Department of Homeland Security. Specifically, the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Nonprofit Security Grant Program. NSGP helps nonprofits, such as religious institutions, improve their physical security.

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Read 35 tweets
Apr 25
The US Congress finally passed the $95 billion National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, which includes aid for Ukraine, Israel & Indo-Pacific allies, and invests in the US Defense Industrial Base.

But what is actually in the bill, and where does the money go?

🧵 1/36 Image
The Supplemental is actually comprised of 4 bills, which were packaged together by the US House under 1 rule, passed and messaged to the Senate. It includes Supplemental Appropriations Acts for Israel, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific, and an omnibus sanctions bill.

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This thread will exclusively cover the Ukraine Security Supplemental Appropriations Act (USSAA). Threads on the Israel & Indo-Pacific bills will follow next week. Don't expect one on the sanctions bill next week, but my friend @GLNoronha is a great source on that topic.

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Last week, National Defence 🇨🇦 (DND) released a defence policy update, projecting spending of only 1.76% by FY29.

And what about 155mms?

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This isn't a comprehensive summary of everything in the policy update. I'm just going to cover some key pieces, and if you're interested in learning more I would suggest you read it for yourself. All figures discussed in this thread are Canadian $s.

The plan calls for $73 billion to be invested over the next 20 years (avg of $3.65b/yr), but of that only $8.1b is over the next 5 years (avg of $1.62b/yr). This is on top of $26.9b in current (2022-2023) defense spending. In that context, this is a very modest increase. 3/37
Read 38 tweets

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