Downed Russian Su-34 jets found with basic GPS ‘fixed in cockpit’

Downed Russian Su-34 fighter jets are being found in Ukraine with rudimentary GPS receivers “attached to the dashboards” because their built-in navigation systems are so bad, UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said.

Speaking at the National Museum of the British Army in London on Monday, Wallace paid tribute to servicemen who died in World War II and called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “meaningless and self-destructive”.

He added that there was evidence suggesting that Russian military equipment was being pushed to the breaking point by the invasion of Ukraine.

Cockpit of a Russian Su-34 with a portable GPS mounted on the dashboard, during operation in Syria in 2021.

At the beginning of the speech, he also mentioned that “as an aside, the large amount of Ukrainian drone footage suggests that Russia also lacks broader air defense and anti-UAV system”.

While the minister did not delve into the topic of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles like drones) in depth, it is likely that his message was referring to how Ukrainian forces creatively used drones to first stop a convoy heading to Kiev, then to target and eliminate soldiers with precision. The use of drones, including hobby drones in this war, led manufacturer DJI to stop selling them in Russia and Ukraine.

A Russian Su-34 shot down in the early days of the Ukraine invasion.

“’GPS’ receivers were found attached to the panels of downed Russian Su-34s so pilots would know where they were, due to the poor quality of their own systems,” he said.

The Su-34 was first manufactured in the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, but it is still one of Russia’s top fighter jets. Last year, images of Su-34 jets operating in Syria were released with basic GPS in the cockpits.

Ukraine has shared abundant evidence in what it says are Russia’s attempts to fix problems with old military equipment and circumvent equipment shortages.

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