The Russian-Ukrainian War demonstrated the whole spectrum of electronic warfare, which had never been witnessed previously. Satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment, missiles, and aircraft, among other military technologies, rely on wireless communication satellite broadband service, which is connected to the Internet and involves the jamming of navigation satellite signals on the ground. Think about what it would be like if your abilities to fly and fire correctly were suddenly taken away. Because of the jamming that takes place in space and on the ground, the entire foundation of precision strikes is rendered ineffective and unnecessary. How far has the Indian Armed Forces gone in embracing such a reality, ask Manish Kumar Jha and Ankit Bhateja, given our leadership in space technology?
When fiction becomes science in today’s world, it demolishes the established order at such a rapid pace that it becomes difficult to keep up. The dimensions of combat that we are referring to are not located far over enemy lines and out of sight, but rather in outer space, where the battle is taking place. When the Russian-Ukraine crisis erupted in full spectrum last month, it involved the jamming of satellite broadband service that is connected to the Internet, and it also featured the jamming of navigation satellite signals on land. Think about what it would be like if your abilities to fly and fire correctly were suddenly taken away. Because of the jamming that takes place in space and on the ground, the entire foundation of precision strikes is rendered ineffective and unnecessary.
The Use of Space Technology to Increase the Effectiveness of Electronic Warfare
Electronic warfare will become more prevalent in modern wars, particularly in the early stages of combat when the battlefield must be shaped. It is generally agreed that a nation’s ability to win a war is characterised by its ability to integrate new technologies into its military and intelligence gathering capabilities. This modern-day battlefield has opened up a new area for advanced intelligence and electronic warfare technology as a result of the intensity of the fight currently underway between Russia and Ukraine.
Putting it simply, electronic warfare (EW) is comprised of three main components and concepts: electronic attack (EA), electronic warfare support (ES), and electronic protection (EP) (EP). The use of electromagnetic (EM) energy, directed energy (DE), or anti-radiation weapons to attack individuals, facilities, or equipment is what the electronic attack is all about in a war.
Increasingly, modern military technologies such as satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment (ISR), missiles, aircraft, and other systems rely on wireless communication methods for effective operations. This has also enabled high throughput information transfer, which has resulted in widespread use of the internet on a global scale.
The advancement of these technologies has allowed the world’s leading militaries to improve their attacking capabilities and use them as a deterrent; on the other hand, it has evolved into a new spycraft and technology warfare tool, allowing the militaries to combat the enemy with greater efficiency and efficacy at the same time. –
With Russia’s technologically advanced military being one of the most advanced militaries in the world, the Russian military is utilising its advanced electronic warfare capabilities to degrade Ukraine’s self-defense capabilities by jamming GPS signals, resulting in widespread disruptions in UAV flights, as well as to protect its own troops from GPS-guided missiles.
This portable jammer technology, which is installed on military trucks, works by emitting an overpowering electronic disturbance or noise in the same frequency band as the target receiver, making reception impossible for the target receiver. While these jammers have not been shown to be successful in mountainous areas, they have the potential to play a significant role in producing widespread signal disruptions in a flat metropolitan setting.
One of the reports by the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSC) stated that in April 2021, Ukraine SMM’s long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight had experienced dual GPS signal interference, which was assessed to be caused by jamming, and that this interference continued uninterrupted for the remainder of the flight. According to the report, Russia has significantly increased its electronic warfare capabilities in recent years. The aircraft made an emergency landing in a field about 600m north of its scheduled landing place on its third landing attempt, completing the mission.
Following the shipment of thousands of Starlink terminals to Ukraine in February of this year to provide an alternative internet infrastructure for the country, Russia used its capabilities to jam SpaceX’s Starlink internet satellite signals that are beam down to Ukraine in accordance with the company’s founder Elon Musk, prompting SpaceX to release a software patch for its Starlink kits in order to circumvent the jamming.
In addition to offensive capabilities, electronic warfare also includes defensive capabilities such as self-protection and force protection measures such as flares, chaff, low-observable technology, towed decoys, protective jammers, and DE infrared (IR) countermeasures.
While this technology is important on the battlefield, it can also have a significant influence off the battlefield, causing interruptions in logistics, crisis response, air transport, and a variety of other services that rely on navigation satellites to be disrupted or eliminated.
Finnair, the national airline of Finland, reported GPS problems on March 9 in flights passing close to the Baltic exclave of Kalinigrad, resulting in the cancellation of flights between the capital Helsinki and the city of Savonlinna for nearly a week, approximately 2 weeks after Russia launched its attack.
Capabilities of the Indian Armed Forces
In the beginning, the Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) developed the Tranquil RWR and later the Tarang for use on MiGs and Su-30 MKI fighters to intercept signals. The work began in this manner, despite the fact that there were some constraints because these were primarily worked around the background noise. As a result, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, Jaguar, MiG-21, MiG-27, and even the TEJAS are all equipped with Airborne Self Protection Jammer (ASPJ) pods as standard equipment.
In order to counter a wider range of radio frequency threats, it is now imperative to add greater depth to the jamming and signal intelligence systems currently in use. Among these include the incorporation of artificial intelligence and machine learning into next-generation systems, which will allow them to respond more quickly.
In addition, increased usage of digital engineering can aid in the military’s ability to model new equipment on a computer and work out the kinks before going through the time-consuming and inefficient traditional acquisition and testing procedure.
It is also possible that space technology will emerge as a cost-effective option that will provide a competitive advantage over current surveillance systems such as the Phalcon AWACS and the NETRA AEW&C aircrafts, which provide 24-hour worldwide coverage. As military forces rely on the Electronic Warfare Support (EMS) for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), the advancement in electronic warfare must be measured in terms of the Electronic Warfare Support (EMS). The absolute control of the EMS is critical to the success of military operations.
Important here is the indigenisation of the essential data relay and storage infrastructure for defence applications, since this infrastructure plays a critical role in national security and in current war situations. Geospatial and Signal Intelligence technologies have a tremendous amount of potential to counter contemporary-day dangers, as seen by the rising reports of the use of electronic warfare capabilities on the battlefield, as well as the potential risks posed by modern technology. Given the fact that India is surrounded by hostile countries with a history of border conflicts, capacity building in this vital sector can play a significant role in enhancing the nation’s offensive and defence capacities. It is past time to use and synchronise our space technology in order to break through into EW and construct new systems that are significantly more resilient and faster.