Russia has been thwarting US-made mobile rocket systems in Ukraine more frequently in recent months, using electronic jammers to throw off its GPS guided targeting system to cause rockets to miss their targets, multiple people briefed on the matter told CNN.
Ukrainian military officials, with US help, have had to come up with a variety of different workarounds as it continues to use the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which has been perhaps the most revered and feared piece of weaponry in Ukraine’s fight.
But in recent months, Ukraine’s systems have been rendered increasingly less effective by the Russians’ intensive blocking, five US, British and Ukrainian sources tell CNN, forcing US and Ukrainian officials to find ways to tweak the HIMARS’ software to counter the evolving Russian jamming efforts.
“It is a constant cat-and-mouse game” of finding a countermeasure to the jamming, a Pentagon official said, only to then have the Russians counteract that countermeasure. And it is not clear how sustainable that game is in the long term.
Electronic warfare is carried out by both sides, up and down the front line where there is heavy drone activity used for surveillance and in partnership with artillery targeting.
With a major Ukrainian counteroffensive expected to start very soon and Ukraine’s reliance on HIMARS, solutions are even more of a priority so that Ukrainian troops can make significant headway.
“It’s one thing to be able to hold the Russians off where they are right now. It’s another thing to drive them out,” retired US Army Brig. Gen. Steven Anderson told CNN. “They’re dug in, they’ve been there for a year.”
CNN’s Oren Liebermann contributed to this report.
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