- Both Ukraine and Russia rely on anti-battery radars to hit each other’s artillery.
- But Moscow’s troops are facing a critical radar shortage that has only gotten worse during the war.
- The British defense ministry said Russian forces are likely to have only a few key systems left.
Relentless and brutal artillery battles between Russian and Ukrainian forces have become a key feature of the ongoing fighting, leaving both sides dependent on anti-battery detection to detect and counter enemy fire.
But Moscow’s troops don’t have enough critical radar to defeat Kyiv’s artillery, and only a few hard-to-replace systems are likely to remain, according to a new Western intelligence assessment.
Ukrainian forces conducting counteroffensive operations in the occupied eastern and southern regions are facing stiff and vicious Russian defense lines, including elaborate fortifications such as hardened trenches, sprawling minefields, and concrete anti-armor structures.
For ground troops to overcome these obstacles means going through a slow and deadly process, and the Ukrainian forces lack air support. So Kyiv is pushing heavily on weapons like howitzers or the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) to take out heavy guns, command and control positions, logistics and communications positions, and troop positions.
“The viability of Russian ground forces depends on effectively detecting and countering Ukrainian artillery, often with its own artillery,” Britain’s defense ministry said in a briefing on Monday. update. “A key component of this approach is anti-battery radars, which allow commanders to quickly locate enemy gun lines.”
But the defense ministry noted that Russia is “suffering from a worsening shortage of anti-battery radars, especially its modern Zoopark-1M. It is unlikely that only a handful of the Zoopark fleet deployed on first in Ukraine.”
According to the analysis at the open source intelligence site Oryx, at least 38 Russian radars have been destroyed, damaged or intercepted in Ukraine. This includes as few as eight Zoopark-1M, sophisticated systems that allow Russia to track and detect Ukrainian munitions, although they are vulnerable to detection due to their active electromagnetic signature.
An anti-battery radar is designed to detect incoming fire and instantly estimate the position from which it was fired, allowing it to quickly return artillery fire before the enemy teams move their guns.
The British defense ministry said that earlier this month Ukrainian forces destroyed a Zoopark near the site of Russia’s 58th Combined Army (58 CAA), which is monitoring Ukraine’s advance along the front lines of the southern Zaporizhzhia region.
The unit was previously under the command of Maj. Gen. Ivan Popov, who was recently fired after pointing out the lack of anti-battery and artillery reconnaissance capabilities of Russia, which he said caused Moscow’s troops to suffer widespread casualties. the battlefield Ultimately, the Kremlin’s military leadership decided it was better to fire Popov instead of dealing with his concerns.
“The priority given by Popov to this problem shows the continued centrality of artillery in the war,” said the British defense ministry.
Despite being heavily armed by the West, Ukraine has been outnumbered at times during artillery duels with Russia and has lost 69 radar and communications systems, including variants of the AN/TPQ radars provided by the US, according to data compiled. with Oryx.
To combat the never-ending artillery battles, Ukraine is rapidly burning through its stockpile of artillery ammunition as it faces domestic production under pressure from its NATO backers. To help alleviate the supply shortage, the Biden administration announced earlier this month that it will send lethal – albeit controversial – cluster munitions to Kyiv’s military.
“We base our security assistance decision on Ukraine’s needs on the ground, and Ukraine needs artillery to support its offensive and defensive operations,” White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters as he announced the munitions. as part of a new security assistance package.
“Artillery is at the heart of this conflict,” he said. “Ukraine is firing thousands of rounds a day to defend against Russian advances and also to support its own efforts to retake its sovereign territory.”