Russian forces much more exposed to electronic and cyber warfare than anticipated

Since the start of the fighting in Ukraine on February 24, the Russian armies have shown a face that surprised even the most circumspect analysts as to the reality of its military power: weak morale, poor coordination of forces, very questionable strategy, faulty logistics. , malfunction of precision weapons, revelations followed one another to explain the repeated failures of the Russian offensive in the face of a much more modest Ukrainian resistance, with an annual defense budget 10 times lower than that of Moscow. The most surprising of these revelations concern the vulnerability of Russian forces to cyber attacks, as well as their poor mastery of the electromagnetic spectrum, considered so far as areas of predilection for Russia and the famous and yet very misnamed Gerasimov doctrine. .

It is true that in recent years, the demonstrations of force by Russian units, both in the cyber field and in the field of electronic warfare, suggested that Russia had a significant advantage in this field, against Ukraine but also against NATO. Thus, in the field of electronic warfare, the Russian forces demonstrated during exercises their ability to alter the accuracy of the GPS signal and to deteriorate the communication capabilities of the allied forces, whether near the Russian borders or their areas of deployment, such as in Syria. Some unconfirmed rumors have also reported a jamming by a Russian corvette near French frigates during Operation Hamilton in 2018, this being put forward to explain the malfunction of certain MdCN cruise missiles. In the Cyber ​​domain, Russian hacker groups have earned a reputation for efficiency in recent years, managing to infiltrate several Western administrations, but also the information systems of very large companies, and are even held responsible for hacking boxes. emails from the Democratic camps during the 2016 election.

The hypothesis of jamming exerted by a Russian corvette near French frigates has been put forward to explain the failure of certain MdCN missiles during Operation Hamilton to strike Syrian chemical installations

This perception of Russia's excellence has also been exacerbated by the relative weakness of Western armies and services in these two areas. Indeed, focused on external interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq or in Sub-Saharan Africa, Western armies under-invested in these two areas for a long time after the end of the Cold War, and were forced to react more than to act as a once confronted with Russia's revealed capabilities. In fact, before the Ukrainian conflict, and even during the first days of combat, the majority of analysts expected that the Russian armies would take possession of the whole of the Electro-magnetic spectrum in Ukraine, and neutralize the systems of communication and geolocation used by Ukrainian defenders. This was not the case, and it even quickly became clear that in these areas, the Ukrainians were at least on an equal footing with the Russian adversary.


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