Matthew Gordon-Banks

The Increased Russian Electronic Warfare Threat

In recent weeks I have spoken of one of the major issues which will undoubtedly affect UK and NATO if there were to be a direct conflict between them and the Russian Federation. In such a situation satellite and GPS links would be ‘taken down’ by Russia; leading to the necessity of doing many things ‘blind’ and affecting the guidance systems of many modern weapons and of navigation on land, at sea and in the air.

We have now seen an important article in the UK Daily Telegraph, published in the last few days. The remarks of the Estonians quoted in the article underline entirely the views I have expressed since last year.

“A highly secret Russian electronic warfare system is interfering with the GPS guidance of airliners and ships on NATO’s eastern flank. A surge in disruption had been detected in an area stretching all the way from Finland, through the Baltic states and Poland, Estonia’s military chief” told The Telegraph 

Russia has deployed a large, fixed jamming system named Tobol in Kaliningrad and a number of other places. These are defensive systems designed to deal with Russia’s fear of western longer-range guided missiles. The Russians have long been concerned by global satellite navigation in weapons systems and the conflict in Ukraine has shown that she is more advanced in capability than NATO. These defensive systems will not prevent missiles exploding but they are likely to make them miss their intended targets.

In testing these systems it is clear from intelligence sources in Europe that the Russian capability is causing, at times, significant problems for current civilian uses of satellite navigation systems such as at sea and in the air. Reports suggest commercial airliners have suddenly dropped off tracking sites, and there have been warnings that ships could collide if and when they lose connection to the satellites.

Of course these EW jamming devices are vulnerable to missiles, but only if the missiles can hit the target!



Scroll to Top