Foreign-made components help guide Russian missiles to Ukraine, says Ukraine’s intelligence

25 November 2022, 07:13 PM
Consequences of Russia's missile attack (Photo:REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Consequences of Russia's missile attack (Photo:REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Russia is using off-the-shelf components made by foreign companies to build the guidance systems of missiles used to attack Ukraine, the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine’s Defence Ministry reported on Nov. 25.

According to the agency, to guide its cruise missiles, Russia uses its GLONASS navigation system, a Soviet-era analogue of GPS.

“Although GLONASS is a dual-purpose system, it is primarily used by the Russian military to target Ukrainian cities,” the agency said.

The intelligence agency said the Russian navigation system still has a weak point, namely GLONASS depends on microchips produced by foreign companies.

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“Russian missiles and drones are equipped with foreign-made GLONASS-enabled microchips – usually civilian chips, but the Russians use them for military purposes,” reads the report.

“The chips receive and process coordinates from GLONASS, and the missiles use this information to navigate and aim at Ukrainian civil and energy infrastructure.”

The intelligence stressed that many foreign companies continue to produce microchips with GLONASS support, such as:

  • Linx Technologies (the United States);
  • Broadcom (the United States);
  • Qualcomm (the United States);
  • Telit (the United States);
  • Maxim Integrated (the United States);
  • TRIMBLE (the United States);
  • Cavli Wireless (the United States);
  • U-blox AG (Switzerland);
  • STMicroelectronics (Switzerland);
  • Sierra Wireless (Canada);
  • NovAtel (Canada);
  • Septentrio (Belgium);
  • Antenova (the United Kingdom).

Russia, in turn, continues to purchase GLONASS-enabled microchips through numerous shell companies and distributors. They are used at least in such weapons as Orlan-10 and Shahed-136 drones, Tornado-S andSmerch MLRS, Iskander, Kalibr, and Kinzhal missiles, as well as aviation and cruise missiles Kh-101, Kh-555, Kh-38, Kh-59MK, and Kh-31.

“Without foreign-made GLONASS-enabled chips, the Russians would have to build their microelectronics from the ground up,” the agency said.

“In this case, export control and control by manufacturers will not work because Russia is constantly inventing new ways to circumvent sanctions and purchase technologies.”

The intelligence pointed out that foreign companies should realize the direct impact of their products on Russia’s defence capabilities, stop producing chips with GLONASS support, and remove the function of supporting this navigation system from all their devices.

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