A team of investigators from the independent group Conflict Armament Research (CAR) joined the analysis of Russian precision weapons that the occupiers used to destroy Ukrainian cities. It turned out that the Russian Federation uses almost the outdated components of foreign production in various weapons systems.
The CAR Group cooperated with the Ukrainian government and gained access to components of various Russian Kalibr cruise missiles, a Ka-52 helicopter, several types of UAVs, and communication and navigation equipment.
So far, CAR has identified 650 components of Russian equipment from 144 non-Russian manufacturers. Many of these products were manufactured after 2014, already after the introduction of the initial package of EU and US sanctions against the Russian Federation. Some of the devices were manufactured even in 2021.
CAR specialists found that the Russian defense industry uses identical sets of components in various weapons systems, which significantly facilitates their reverse engineering, hacking and development of countermeasures. Furthermore, it is clear that the ability of the Russian Federation to develop advanced weapons systems such as cruise missiles is highly dependent on very specific non-Russian technologies.
The evidence gathered so far shows that the Russian defense industry relied on a constant, uninterrupted supply of parts from Asian, European and American companies. The application of new or adaptation of existing measures may limit the ability of the Russian Federation to purchase these components and produce such systems in the future.
Simply put, if the CIA shuts down the last few sanctions-busting routes, the supply of components will stop and the Russian defense industry will collapse.
CAR does not yet want to publicly identify manufacturers, pending a formal request to trace supply chains according to CAR’s methodology. It should be understood that we are talking about a request from US government structures.
Journalists of The New York Times talked with one of the authors of this investigation and several military experts and learned a few more interesting details.
“Looking at the computer chips in the same positions across multiple circuit boards, they were always made by the same manufacturers,” says Damien Spleeters, one of the authors of the report, “You’d have different dates of production, but always the same manufacturer. When you know that, it becomes easier to target [and destroy] those networks [of supply].”
According to another expert, these components are too outdated, and their integration is done at a low level.
“This is late 1990s or a mid-2000s level of technology at best,” says NASA contractor Arsenio Menendez, “It’s basically the equivalent of an Xbox 360 video game console, and it looks like it’s open to anyone who wants to take it apart and build their own copy of it. A team of college electrical engineering majors could build this.”
“The hodgepodge of parts that Russia uses to build its guided weapons may also help explain why its cruise missiles are sometimes not very accurate,” Mr. Menendez continued. “Errors made by nonstandard GPS units in processing satellite signals can ultimately cause a cruise missile to miss its target by a wide margin.”
That is, as always, the greatness of Russia turned out to be imaginary, and Russia could not create anything of itself.
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