The US can use electronic warfare to support Ukraine against Russia

The United States and its allies are belatedly increasing arms aid to Ukraine Russian invasion bogged down by surprising resistance and winter mud. Russian air superiority The U.S. military can stop these arms and ammunition shipments at any time, but the U.S. military can do more to help the Ukrainian military without escalating the conflict.

Political leaders and analysts have suggested activities such as a no-fly zone or attacks on Russian armored columns to help Ukrainian forces halt the Russian advance. While scientifically satisfying, these activities could give President Vladimir Putin exactly the rationale he needs for Russia’s lackluster performance so far and help him establish a narrative about America. is the invader will support at home.

Instead, the U.S. military should engage the conflict in reversible, negating, or peripheral ways. Electronic warfare was one of the U.S. military’s asymmetrical advantages during the Cold War and could slow or confuse Russian forces using reversible and non-fatal effects. live.

Ukraine war map
Map of Russian attacks on Ukraine as of Wednesday, March 2, 2022.
Ukraine War
Establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine could give Russian President Vladimir Putin the ability to view the United States as an aggressor.

US Army MQ-1 Gray Eagle UAV and Air Force or Marine MQ-9 Drilling machine could fly from Romania or Poland into Ukrainian airspace to disrupt Russian communications using jamming equipment, such as Marines Brave tiger electronic attack. These systems could also be used against Russian naval forces in the Black Sea to reduce their ability to coordinate amphibious operations along Ukraine’s western Crimean coast.

The most intense form of electronic attack is high-powered microwaves, which damage electronic equipment such as navigation systems, radios, and sensors. Russian poles approaching Ukrainian cities could be subjected to high-powered microwave attacks, leaving vehicles stranded and vulnerable to Ukrainian ambushes.

The US should send UAVs like the MQ-9 Reaper or usable target drones like RQ-58 Valkyrie into Ukrainian airspace carrying such high-power microwave payloads of the Air Force CHAMP Missiles attack Russian electronic systems. Because microwave attacks leave no visible damage, they can be denied – but Russian military leaders will understand what happened.

Get the latest information update in the Russo-Ukrainian conflict with live coverage of The Post.

Like electronic warfare, cyber activities such as denial of service attacks can create temporary disruptions. Like high-powered microwaves, cyberspace can also create permanent damage. The United States and Russia have limited cyberattacks to civilian targets, but they could be deployed more aggressively against Russian military forces.

Russian logistics failed to keep up with its mobile units, slowing the Russian advance. The United States should further degrade Russian military support by disrupting computer networks used to manage supply inventories and movement from depots. These networks are unlikely to be as well protected as Russia’s operational networks, and attacking them would not be as escalatory as a direct attack on Russian command and control.

Peripheral operations can help Ukrainian forces by limiting Russia’s options and preventing an expansion of the war. Before the invasion, US Navy ships exit The Black Sea, and now Russian warships, have established maritime superiority along the Ukrainian coast. However, NATO allies Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria also have borders with the Black Sea; The United States should step up its posture there as it did in Poland and the Baltics to the north.

Gray Eagle
US Army MQ-1 Gray Eagle UAVs can fly from Romania to Poland to disrupt Russian communications.
Acquisition of the US Army
Ferry in Istanbul, Turkey
Turkey cuts off access to the Black Sea.
Altan Gocher / GocherImagery / MediaPunch

Turkey cut approached the Black Sea this week, but when access is restored, the US Navy should return to protect its NATO allies and freedom of navigation in the international waters of the Black Sea. Meanwhile, US Navy ships should assist Turkey in preventing Russian ships from entering the Black Sea and assist NATO allies in using US P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and UAVs. The MQ-4C Triton operates from Romania or Bulgaria.

The United States has the opportunity to help the Ukrainian freedom fighters build on their early success and let’s hope, end the Russian invasion. More importantly, if the US military does not show the determination and persistence to engage the Russian military at this low level of escalation, the military could lose credibility as a defender of its allies. allies or partners of the United States. For example, Taiwan and Japan have faced aggression in the gray zone from China, which could escalate if Beijing is emboldened by Russia’s experience in Ukraine.

The new US Cyber ​​Command is successful search in confronting the bad guys on the Internet using a persistent interactive approach. The United States should adopt it more widely to frustrate rivals like Russia and China.

Valkyrie Drones
The US could send a Valkyrie Drone into Ukrainian airspace with a microwave weapon that could disrupt Russian electronic systems.
Air Force Research Laboratory

Bryan Clark is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and director of the Hudson Center for Defense Concepts and Technologies. The US can use electronic warfare to support Ukraine against Russia


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