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Pentagon Admits U.S.-Supplied GPS- Guided Weapons Failing in Ukraine Due to Russian Electronic Warfare

April 30, 2024 (EIRNS)—The Pentagon admitted last week that GPS-guided munitions supplied by the U.S. are falling prey to Russian electronic warfare. William LaPlante, the acquisition chief of the Defense Department, told an event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies last week that a new ground-launched version of an air-to-ground weapon, developed for Ukraine on a rapid timeline, failed to hit targets, in part because of Russian electromagnetic warfare. LaPlante suggested that Ukraine may no longer be interested in the weapon. “When you send something to people in the fight of their lives that just doesn’t work, they’ll try it three times and they’ll just throw it aside,” he said, reported Defense One.

LaPlante did not name the weapon he was referring to, but his description fits that of the GPS-guided Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB). The GLSDB was jointly developed by Boeing and Saab by attaching rocket motor to the air-dropped small diameter bomb so that it can be fired from a ground launcher. Boasting a range of 150 km, it was advertised as a cheap way to get precise firepower at distance into Ukrainian hands. The problem is, however, that the Russians quickly found a way to render the GLSDB ineffective by jamming the GPS signals it depends on to hit its targets.

The GLSDB is not the only weapon affected by Russian jamming. Defense One notes that in Congressional testimony in March, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Daniel Patt said the targeting system for the GPS-guided 155mm Excalibur round “dropped from 70 percent effectiveness to 6% effectiveness over a matter of a few months as new EW [electronic warfare] mechanisms came out.”

Russian electronic warfare attacks have also directed HIMARS rockets off course, CNN reported last spring. The missiles are similarly guided by a GPS. Russia has also successfully used electronic warfare against GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), which is an iron bomb with a guidance kit attached to it.