The United States has supplied Ukraine with “threat emitters,” or what can be called fake radars, designed to confuse Russian fighter pilots to compensate for the loss of Ukraine’s dwindling stockpile of surface-to-air missile systems.
After more than ten months of hostilities, the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS), which are numerically and technologically superior to the Ukrainian Air Force, have still not been able to gain full control of Ukrainian airspace.
As EurAsian Times has previously discussed, the air war for Ukraine was not so much about air superiority as it was about denying airspace to Russian combat aircraft using a range of air defense systems.
Ukraine introduced medium- and long-range air defenses, such as the S-300 and Buk-M1, which forced Russian fighters to fly below 4,500 meters directly within the range of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS). have resulted in a significant number of downings of Russian aircraft.
Currently, however, Ukraine’s stockpile of these SAMs and SAM launchers appears to be dwindling at a rate that could potentially cause huge problems for the Ukrainian military.
Ukraine is quickly losing the S-300!
Ukraine has lost about 36 S-300 launchers so far, according to figures compiled by military tracking blog Oryx based on visual confirmations. It is possible that the actual number of losses may be higher.
Reports from July indicated that Ukraine’s air defenses were losing S-300 launchers at a rate of at least three or four per week.
Additionally, in recent months, the Russian military has repeatedly filled Ukraine’s skies with rocket vanes and drooling ammunition to overwhelm Ukraine’s air defense systems, which are rapidly depleting Ukraine’s surface-to-air missile stockpile.
Therefore, as Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov recently announced, Kiev is consulting with other countries to replenish Ukraine’s stockpile of S-300 missiles.
“The S-300, they work very well. The fact is that they are not produced in Ukraine; that is, we do not have S-300 missiles, so we use stocks. Therefore, with the defense ministers of the countries that also have the S-300, we are discussing the possibility of replenishing the reserve of these missiles from their warehouses and arsenal,” Reznikov said.
It appears that the US may have provided threat suppliers to Ukraine to bolster its air defenses until Kiev finds another source for the S-300 systems.
The US is providing Ukraine with fake S-300 radars?
The supply of threat transmitters from the US to Ukraine was first reported by Aviation Week on December 4. Threat transmitters emit a radio signal similar to air defense radar without using the same signal processing systems.
The military typically uses them to train their aircrews to identify and respond to threats in simulated combat scenarios, where pilots learn the signatures of hostile aircraft and missiles and learn how their sensors might detect such threats in real-world conditions.
One such system is the Joint Threat Emitter developed by Northrop Grumman. It includes a commando unit led by soldiers and trailer-mounted radar threat transmitters. The command unit can control up to 12 different threats, and each transmitter can simulate up to six threats simultaneously.
However, if deployed in an actual conflict, these threat generators can fool an enemy fighter pilot into believing that local defenses are stronger than they actually are, potentially deterring them from launching a raid.
Employing threat actors is merely a deception tactic that Russia and Ukraine have used against each other since the start of the war, deploying mock-ups or dummies of weapons systems such as HIMARS and the S-300 air defense system, as discussed above at Great length EurAsian Times.
🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️🤦♂️ “Golyy pistol” moved.
— 🇮🇱🇺🇦Дядя Хаим🇺🇦🇮🇱 (@IsraelThreads) August 10, 2022
It is not yet clear what exact threat the issuers presented to Ukraine would replicate. Reports suggest that the threat actors in question may be replicating the 36D6M1-1 air defense radar sold to the US military in 2018 by the Ukrainian radar manufacturing company Iskra.
The 36D6M1-1, also called the “Tin Shield”, is a mobile 3D airspace surveillance radar capable of detecting low-flying air targets under active and passive jamming defense conditions. It is said to be related to the S-300 air defense system.
US Air Force (USAF) Chief of Staff General Charles C. Brown Jr. reportedly said providing threat actors to Ukraine was an example of how the Pentagon can find quick ways to deal with problems during a crisis, while signaling in August that the High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) Delivery of Raytheon AGM-88 to Ukraine.
Brown said that prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the idea of modifying the HARM to integrate with the Mikoyan MiG-29 would have been immediately dismissed as too complicated, but in the face of the crisis, the Pentagon and contractors managed to make it work. .
“So there are ways to work with the industry and those who are actually building the systems to clarify the details and move forward in certain areas out of necessity and urgency,” Brown was quoted as saying by Aviation Week.
The military and industry should continue this activity and not “go back to our regularly scheduled program,” he continued. “We need to think like a crisis before a crisis so that we are better prepared and better prepared.”