Scoop: Russia Fine-tuning Electronic Warfare Systems to Suppress Ukraine’s F-16s
18:59 GMT 06.10.2023 (Updated: 19:04 GMT 06.10.2023)
© Sputnik / Pavel LisitsynRussia's Krasukha EW system. File photo.
© Sputnik / Pavel Lisitsyn/
NATO countries plan to deliver several dozen F-16 Fighting Falcon fourth-generation fighter jets to Ukraine beginning next year, with pilot training commencing in the US and Denmark in recent weeks.
The Russian military is optimizing its electronic warfare systems to target F-16s in anticipation of the warplanes’ delivery to Ukraine, an informed source has told Sputnik.
“Russian electronic warfare systems used in the special military operation zone will received optimized settings to suppress radars and onboard equipment of NATO F-16 fighters which Western countries plan to supply to Kiev,” the source said.
“Based on what we know about the onboard avionics of NATO frontline fighters Kiev will be getting, it will be easier to suppress them than the Soviet-designed aircraft in Ukraine’s inventory,” the source added.
This information complements info provided to Sputnik by another source last month that Russia’s electronic warfare systems have been successfully forcing Ukrainian combat aircraft to prematurely abandon their combat missions and return to base due to jamming by systems including the Krasukha mobile, ground-based electronic warfare system.
Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway plan to transfer up to 71 F-16s to the Ukrainian Air Force starting in 2024 at the earliest, with the training of Ukrainian pilots beginning in earnest in Denmark and the US in in August and September.
However, Commander of US Air Forces Europe Gen. James B. Heckler warned in August that building Ukrainian pilots’ proficiency in flying the planes could take at least “four or five years” to muster, meaning that even after the F-16s arrive, they might “help a little bit,” but won’t be a “silver bullet.”
Further complicating the Ukrainian Air Force’s mission is a high loss rate, with the Russian military reporting that over 470 Ukrainian fixed wing aircraft and nearly 250 helicopters have been knocked out to date, including many of the Soviet-era planes and choppers delivered to the country from NATO’s Eastern European members’ armories.
The unprecedented scale of the proxy conflict with NATO in Ukraine has forced Russia’s air defenses and electronic warfare units to rapidly adapt to the alliance’s latest and most modern weapons systems, including advanced strike drones and long-range cruise missiles. However, as Western officials and media have admitted, the F-16 fighters Ukraine will be receiving are a fighter platform that’s well over forty years old, with Russian air defense technology designed specifically to target the NATO standard aircraft going back to the 1980s.
6 September, 12:18 GMT