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Russia’s Evolving Electronic Warfare Capability: Unlocking Asymmetric Potential

Tuesday, April 24, 2018   (0 Comments)

By: Roger McDermott  |  April 17, 2018  |  The Jamestown Foundation - Eurasia Daily Monitor


Since first initiating the reforms of the Russian Armed Forces in the fall of 2008, Moscow has developed a number of complimentary niche capabilities. The unifying themes of these reforms have been asymmetry and the recognition that the means and methods of modern warfare have changed. In large part, this has meant the adoption and integration of command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) in the Armed Forces, itself a reflection of the move away from platform-based operations to operating in a networked-informational environment. One critical component of this shift has been in the level of progress in electronic warfare (Radioelektronnaya borba—EW) (see EDM, March 6). While this might appear abstract, Russian military scientists and top brass treat the task of EW development quite seriously, seeing it holistically as part of a greater effort to counter a high-technology adversary. Recent developments in this important field were addressed in an interview by the chief of the EW Forces, Major General Yury Lastochkin. His comments reinforce his published work and that of other Russian EW specialists, as well as shed fresh light on the potential deterrence value of these combined niche capabilities (Krasnaya Zvezda, April 16).

General Lastochkin’s interview in Krasnaya Zvezda marked the annual April 15 celebration of EW specialists. He placed EW priorities and capability in the context of fighting in a single information and communications space, with the importance of protecting force assets and targeting enemy C4ISR. Lastochkin highlighted the changed nature of modern warfare and role of EW in such an operational environment: “Traditional frontal clashes of large groupings of troops at the strategic and operational level are gradually disappearing; remote non-contact impact on the depth of the operational construction of the enemy becomes the main way to achieve the purpose of the operation [combat].” Lastochkin explained that in this information environment, distinctions blur between strategic, operational and tactical levels, adding, “In these conditions, asymmetric actions that make it possible to level out the enemy’s information superiority acquire special significance.” He elaborated that the probable adversary would seek dominance in the aerospace and information domains, which increases the potential threat to Russia’s security and enhances exponentially the role of EW (Krasnaya Zvezda, April 16).  READ MORE...

With over 13,000 members internationally, the Association of Old Crows is an organization for individuals who have common interests in Electronic Warfare (EW), Electromagnetic Spectrum Management Operations, Cyber Electromagnetic Activities (CEMA), Information Operations (IO), and other information related capabilities. The Association of Old Crows provides a means of connecting members and organizations nationally and internationally across government, defense, industry, and academia to promote the exchange of ideas and information, and provides a platform to recognize advances and contributions in these fields.