The relationship between Russia and the West is becoming increasingly dangerous with potential flashpoints developing in both eastern Europe and Syria. After repeated incursions into Turkish airspace by Russian warplanes on bombing raids over Syria, NATO’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg warned Moscow that it stands ready to “defend all allies”. Meanwhile Britain announced it would send troops to Baltic states to defend NATO’s eastern boundaries against possible Russian aggression beyond Ukraine.Russia’s military presence in Syria has been steadily increasing over the past few months. Its warplanes are carrying out regular bombing raids against both Islamic State position and, reportedly, other rebel groups opposed to the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Its warships are launching cruise missiles against the same targets. But the latest reports are that Russia has also deployed its most modern electronic warfare system to Syria – the Krasukha-4 (or Belladonna) mobile electronic warfare (EW) unit.
The downside is, the Russians are displaying a capacity to jam and disrupt some of our critical systems. For instance, if you can jam GPS signals, our bread and butter precision weapon, JDAM, is greatly (though not completely) degraded, as are a host of other precision weapons that rely on GPS to update their inertial navigation.
On the upside, simply being able to watch a jamming system in action gives us information and lets us learn now to counter those countermeasure, known as ECCM, or Electronic Counter-Countermeasures. It is often worthwhile to not actually employ that ECCM at the present time, and instead reserve that capability until a time of your own choosing, so the enemy can’t then find a counter-counter-countermeasure.