Russia's thwarting of precision Western weapons in Ukraine shows the value of things like old-fashioned, unguided artillery, European general says

  • Russia has been jamming precision Western weapons in Ukraine through its electronic counterwarfare.

  • The situation has shown there are still uses for unguided artillery, a Finnish general told WSH.

  • “They are immune to any type of jamming,” he said.

Russia’s thwarting of precision weapons provided to Ukraine by the West shows there are still use cases for unguided artillery in technologically advanced warfare, a Finnish general told The Wall Street Journal.

Weapons guided by a GPS system provide precision strikes against enemy targets and have been crucial for some of Ukraine’s prior countermeasures against Russia during the war.

The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), which can hit targets up to 50 miles away, was once seen as a vital lifeline for Ukraine in order to stop Russia’s advance in the summer of 2022.

But those same precision weapons, which are being supplied by the West, are being rendered ineffective as Russia adapts on the battlefield and engages in electronic warfare.

The methods involve jamming or spoofing the GPS system in weapons so that they’re led off course. These electronic countermeasures are often cheap and can also be used against drones, Business Insider previously reported. Both Ukraine and Russia have engaged in electronic warfare.

These measures have also thwarted the Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb, a US-Swedish guided bomb that has a range of 94 miles, that Ukraine received in early February, The Journal reported.

Lt. Gen. Esa Pulkkinen, the permanent secretary of Finland’s defense ministry, told The Journal that electronic warfare has shown that there are still uses for less-advanced, unguided artillery shells.

“They are immune to any type of jamming, and they will go to target regardless of what type of electronic warfare capability there may be,” Pulkkinen told The Journal.

According to The New York Times, precision-guided weapons have been a large point of focus for the US’s broader defense strategy, but in Ukraine, the war is largely fought with unguided artillery.

As a result, the US and others in the West have ramped up production of unguided artillery shells. Pentagon officials have said that the US aims to increase production of 155mm artillery shells, which are shot out of howitzers, to 100,000 per month by 2025.

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