Russians suffering from critical radar shortage while artillery central in war: UK

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Russia is suffering from the lack of counter battery provision in Ukraine, the UK Ministry of Defense said on Monday in an intelligence update on the war.

The British ministry reported that after being sacked as commander of Russia’s 58th Combined Arms Army (58 CAA) in Ukraine, General-Major Ivan Popov claimed that one of his key complaints had been about the lack of counter battery provision.

The ministry said in its update: “Russian ground forces survivability relies on effectively detecting Ukrainian artillery and striking against it, often with its force’s own artillery. A key component of this approach is counter-battery radars, which allow commanders to rapidly locate enemy gun lines.”

It added: “Russia is suffering from a worsening shortage of counter-battery radars, especially its modern ZOOPARK-1M. Only a handful of the originally deployed ZOOPARK fleet are likely to remain operational in Ukraine.”

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The ministry’s war update said: “Open-source footage showed another ZOOPARK being destroyed near the 58 CAA’s area in early July 2023. The priority Popov apparently gave to this problem highlights the continued centrality of artillery in the war.”

Counter-battery radars play a crucial role in modern warfare by detecting and tracking enemy artillery fire to provide timely and accurate information for defensive actions. These radars are designed to locate and track incoming artillery shells, rockets, and mortar rounds, enabling military forces to pinpoint the source of the enemy fire and respond effectively. By rapidly calculating the trajectory and impact points of enemy projectiles, counter-battery radars enhance situational awareness and enable prompt counter-fire, minimizing the effectiveness of enemy artillery and protecting friendly forces.

For Russia one notable example is the Russian-made 1L219M Zoopark-1, a mobile counter-battery radar that provides precise tracking and localization of enemy artillery systems. The Zoopark-1 is capable of detecting and identifying artillery fire up to a range of several tens of kilometers. It can accurately determine the firing position of enemy artillery and provide real-time data for effective countermeasures. The Russian military has been actively deploying and upgrading such counter-battery radar systems to enhance its artillery defense capabilities and protect its forces during battle.

According to Oryx, a military blog which records both sides' losses based on verifiable visual evidence, Russia lost 38 radars since the invasion, 25 were destroyed, four damaged and nine were captured. Those included two 1L219 (for Zoopark counter-battery radar complex), 2 1L259 for Zoopark-1, and 8 1L261 for Zoopark-1M counter-battery radar complex.

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