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Defense News: Electronic warfare, F-16s, and long-range missile systems – key to countering Russian glide bombs, says expert

In the ongoing war, Ukraine faces the challenge of Russian glide bombs. The defense expert suggest that with the right combination of advanced air defenses, electronic warfare capabilities, and strategic planning, Ukraine can effectively neutralize this threat and protect its critical infrastructure.
A Ukrainian kindergaten destroyed by a Russian glide bomb in the Kherson Oblast. Credit: Oleksandr Prokudin.
Defense News: Electronic warfare, F-16s, and long-range missile systems – key to countering Russian glide bombs, says expert

The most practical counter to Russian glide bombs is to destroy the launching aircraft on the ground or in the air, which can be done by employing a mix of tactical missiles, air-to-air capabilities, and electronic warfare, says John Hoehn, an associate policy researcher at the think tank Rand, according to Defense News.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claims that only in March 2024, Russia conducted aviation strikes with 3,000 glide bombs on Ukraine. Russian aircraft launch the bombs dozens of miles behind the front lines. According to Ukrainian officials, Patriot air defense systems could help Kyiv in preventing such strikes.

Another way that Kyiv can eliminate the threat is to use the American-made ATACMS missile system. However, the US has allowed the use of these to hit targets in Russia near Kharkiv city.

According to the expert, new Western weapons could offer a second way to neutralize glide bombs: employing F-16 fighter jets and two Swedish airborne early warning and control aircraft.

“Pairing them would create a new capability, especially if the US provided long-range (or 20-plus-mile) Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles. They could strike many aircraft before bombs were launched,” said Hoehn.

Swedish aircraft are capable of identifying targets up to 250 nautical miles away and tracking planes and air defenses at long distances. Air instructors from Sweden could help Ukraine by training its pilots to use the equipment efficiently.

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