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In this October ~7, 2022 Reddit post, I'm reading some conflicting information on whether the Tirada-2S satellite communications electronic jamming system can be used to jam the Starlink network:

Interruptions in work with Starlink in Ukraine may be related to the field tests of the Tirada electronic warfare systems, designed to suppress enemy satellite communication lines, conducted this week. Says the Russkie rybar channel

Ukrainian troops are complaining about disruptions in the Starlink satellite communications system owned by American billionaire Musk, the Financial Times writes, citing sources.

A senior Ukrainian government official told the publication that some of these outages resulted in "catastrophic" loss of communications and caused panic.

Problems with the operation of the devices were serious in the regions of Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, they were also observed in the Kharkiv region and during the activities of Ukrainian troops against the troops of the DPR and LPR.

Question: Can the Tirada-2S satellite communications electronic jamming system be used to jam the Starlink network?

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    $\begingroup$ Do you have links to where you are reading it? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble reddit.com/r/RussiaUkraineWar2022/comments/xyb462/… $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 20:24
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    $\begingroup$ the answer is almost certainly yes. Generating broadband electronic noise sufficient to reduce the signal-to-noise ratio of consumer-grade equipment like Starlink is trivial; it would likely be much more difficult to engineer it to not interfere with Starlink, which the Russians wouldn't be motivated to do $\endgroup$
    – Erin Anne
    Commented Oct 9, 2022 at 22:00
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    $\begingroup$ as an aside - there's a few reports that the delays are due to geofencing of Russian occupied parts of Ukraine, and the Ukrainians were basically advancing so fast that the Starlink system wasn't kept up to date. It might be a mix of things causing this $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 1:50
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    $\begingroup$ it turns out Elon Musk Interference can be worse than ElectroMagnetic Interference! but i guess everyone knew that already $\endgroup$
    – Erin Anne
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 23:19

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Per @ErinAnne's comment:

the answer is almost certainly yes. Generating broadband electronic noise sufficient to reduce the signal-to-noise ratio of consumer-grade equipment like Starlink is trivial; it would likely be much more difficult to engineer it to not interfere with Starlink, which the Russians wouldn't be motivated to do – @Erin Anne

I strongly agree. Here is an article about it mentioning:

“Connection to the network “fell” in several regions at once: Kharkiv, Zaporozhye, Kherson, as well as in a number of territories of the DPR and LPR. And it's been going on for more than a day now. Equipment vendors have suggested that everything that is happening is the result of Starlink's protective measures due to unauthorized access attempts. However, officials from Elon Musk's company have so far refrained from commenting. Meanwhile, a different, and very logical, version is being put forward: the Russian military decided to use the Tirada-2S satellite communications electronic jamming system (REPS) in combat conditions., - report the journalists of the publication "Military Review".

It isn't hard to perform this. Another word for this is Radio-jamming:

Radio jamming is the deliberate jamming, blocking or interference with wireless communications. In some cases, jammers work by the transmission of radio signals that disrupt communications by decreasing the signal-to-noise ratio.

Unfortunately information on the Russian EW is classified, so this is the best I can come up with.

Wikipedia also states:

The Russian Armed Forces have, since the summer of 2015, begun using a multi-functional EW weapon system in Ukraine, known as Borisoglebsk 2. It is postulated that this system has defeated communications in parts of that country, including mobile telephony and GPS systems.

On 26 January 2022 as apart of their 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the Russian army confirmed the deployment of Borisoglebsk-2 units to the Vistula Motorized Rifle Division of the Western Military District in the Belgorod Region (close to the border with Ukraine) in order to “reduce the time needed to obtain necessary information [about military movements].”

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    $\begingroup$ Ha, thanks for the quote. A couple minor things: "Unfortunately information on the Russian satellite is classified" - Tirada/Tirade isn't a satellite, it's a truck-mounted EW suite. I don't think the Borisoglebsk system is for the same purpose, though I don't claim to know enough about whether it would interfere with Starlink at useful ranges. You've got my +1 though. $\endgroup$
    – Erin Anne
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 23:16
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This is very questionable at least.

  • Earth curvature. Tirada-2 is a ground based satellite jamming system. The frequencies the satellites use are in the range of several tens of GHz. The waves so short do not bend over horizon - transmitter and receiver must be in the range of the direct visibility. This also means that jamming transmitter must also be within the range of direct visibility. With satellites flying at the height of 300 km, the radius where the jamming station works cannot be above 1979 km (as computed with Wolfram alpha), but only if exactly the satellite, not just the ground terminal is impacted by the jammer. If both Tirada and Skylink terminal are at the ground level, the Earth will shield them from each other in few tens of kilometers at most.

  • Direction. The satellite is, obviously, up in the sky. The jamming station is on the ground. Hence a directional antenna can be used to differentiate between the satellite and the jamming station, further reducing the radius of efficient jamming even if Tirada would otherwise be near enough.

  • Irreversible damage. It is not very obvious that a truck based transmitter can damage a receiver that is located 300 km away and features at least basic means of protection like a voltage limiting varistor. Varistors easily handle few amps and I do not think it is possible to pump that much into antenna over such a distance, not at least with 1 meter dish I see in the picture of Tirada-2.

  • DOS (spend all their electrical power on trying to counter the jamming signals). This requires to break through the satellite network firewall first that likely features at least basic SSL encryption that is still considered unbreakable just by intended communication (social engineering and side channel attacks are required for breaking into networks). With everything properly set up, I do not think that Tirada-2 can manage to break into the network, leaving all damage it can do for the area of direct visibility only.

Hence I think this jamming station can only work over limited range. It can be efficient in some limited area like Ukraine, but even there it is not obvious if it would be capable of complete suppression. It is unlikely to be capable of disrupting Starlink services everywhere over the world.

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  • $\begingroup$ "by poorly technical means " - typo that changes the semantics. But such short edits are allowed only to the post author. $\endgroup$
    – Vorac
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 6:47

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