Review of up-to-date Russian EW systems

Electronic warfare systems (EWS) usually lose public attention to jet fighters, tanks, air defense missile systems etc. However, their importance in modern combat conditions is quite high and versatile.

From jamming remotely exploded improvised explosive devices (IED) and interfering with enemy’s communications to countering enemy’s air defense systems or aircraft.

Electronic warfare includes three areas:

  • An electronic attack is a combination of measures and actions related to functional soft kill, electronic suppression and employment of weapons self-guided to emissions of enemy’s radio and electronic facilities.
  • Electronic counter-countermeasure is a combination of measures and actions related to elimination or mitigation of interferences with own electronic and cyberspace facilities by enemy’s electronic warfare, countermeasures against enemy surveillance and electromagnetic compatibility of own electronic means.
  • Electronic warfare support is a combination of measures and actions related to detection of enemy’s electronic and cyberspace facilities in order to carry out an electronic attack as well as to monitor operations of own electronic and cyberspace facilities for their electronic counter-countermeasures.

Underestimating enemy’s EW capabilities may result in very serious consequences. So, during the war in Lebanon in 1982 it was massive application of most advanced electronic warfare by Israel available at that time that played a key role in blinding the Syrian air defense forces deployed in the Lebanese Bekaa valley.

Russia is one the world’s leaders in electronic warfare. It is impossible to describe all electronic warfare systems manufactured by Russian enterprises within this article due to their vast variety, that is why what there follows is a description of the best-known specimen and companies that manufacture them.

“Radioelectronic Technologies” Corporation (KRET)

“Radioelectronic Technologies” Corporation (KRET) included in Rostec SC plays a leading role among Russian designers and manufacturers of electronic warfare. This designer and manufacturer of airborne electronic equipment and avionics, electronic warfare, friend/foe state identification, special-purpose measuring equipment, etc.

KRET incorporates 97 research institutes, factories and other enterprises including such well-known EW companies as Kaluga Research Radio Institute, research and production enterprise NPO “Kvant” (Veliky Novgorod), All‑Russian Research Institute “Gradient” (Rostov-on-Don), Bryansk Electromechanical Plant, Taganrog Research Institute of Communication. Products manufactured by KRET are actively purchased for the Russian armed forces and in the field of electronic warfare it covers ground, airborne and shipborne systems.

According to open sources the share of “Radioelectronic Technologies” Corporation has been around 60% over recent years in the domestic electronic warfare market.

Ground systems

One of the most interesting ground electronic warfare systems are systems of “Krasukha” family. They are designed to blind radars (RDR) installed on enemy’s aircraft and helicopters at a distance of up to 300 km. The systems detect and analyze a signal coming from an enemy’s object and then when required engage powerful jamming with enemy’s RDR to hinder target detection and high-precision weapon guidance.

EW complexes “Moskva-1” are designed for electronic reconnaissance of air space at a distance of up to 400 km, in other words, they detect radiation that comes from aircraft or weapon electronic systems. Whenever an enemy is detected, the information is transmitted to electronic attack systems, air defense systems (ADS) and air forces, which respond to a threat. Thus, these complexes “Moskva-1” operate as a passive analogue of air surveillance radars, enhancing the enemy detection capabilities of air defense systems without disguising their own location.

A new complex called “Divnomorie-U” was developed on the base of previous systems, however, there is very little information about it. According to data from open sources, it should replace complexes “Moskva-1”, “Krasukha-2” and “Krasukha-4”, in other words, it will be operating both as an electronic air space reconnaissance system and electronic countermeasure equipment for enemy’s airborne RDR.

KRET manufactures complexes “Rtut-BM” to protect personnel and equipment against projectile weapons with radio proximity fuses. They detect emissions from radio proximity fuses of projectiles when the latter are fired and determine its frequency and form jamming, which make these projectiles detonate prematurely or cause their fuse to go into contact operation mode, which reduces firing efficiency. In addition, these systems can suppress enemy’s radio communication. “Rtut-BM” has a coverage area of 50 to 123 acres.

A ground-based EW complex called “Murmansk-BN” draws attention as well, it is designed to blanket up enemy’s short-wave radio communication over great distances. When deployed this complex covers an area equal to 640,000 sq. m and its telescopic hydraulic antenna mast go up to 32 m.

Airborne and shipborne systems

Among airborne EW systems manufactured by KRET the most interesting one is active jamming station “Rychag-AB”. When equipped with this station, jammer helicopter MI-8MTPR-1 provides group protection of own front-line aircraft by way of EW jamming of enemy’s aircraft radars and air missile defense systems. According to statements made by KRET officials, the area covered by this station is up to several hundred kilometers. There is also jammer aircraft IL-22PP “Porubshik”, its electronic equipment is also designed by KRET enterprises.

Jammer airplanes and helicopters are intended to provide group protection, while airborne electronic warfare complexes of the “Khibiny” family are designed for individual protection of airplanes against missile attacks by enemy’s jet fighters and air defense missile complexes. The “Khibiny” complex includes an active jamming station, which is located in the containers attached to the aircraft wing tips. It is known that the “Khibiny” complexes were supplied to the armed forces for SU-34 front line bombers and SU-35S and SU-30SM multi-purpose jet fighters. And the SU-34 can also carry the active jamming station containers for group protection – SAP-14 “Tarantul”.

Individual electronic defense systems are manufactured for other aircraft as well. For example, active jamming stations are included in individual defense complexes “Vitebsk-25”, which are installed on SU-23SM3 attack airplanes. As for new generation jet fighters SU-57, there is a completely new electronic complex designed, it is called “Gimalai”. Elements of this complex are integrated directly into the airframe of this aircraft.

Up-to-date shipborne electronic warfare systems from KRET are represented by various multi-functional complexes for ships of different classes. Electronic countermeasure complex 5P-28 is designed for large ships, there is also complex TK-25 designed for smaller ships and complex MP-405 designed for small-size ships and boats.

Roselektronika Holding

EW systems are designed and manufactured by one more enterprise of Rostec SC – “Roselektronika” Holding. It combines over 120 research organizations and companies, which develop and manufacture radio and electronic components, communication devices, automated control systems, robotic complexes, SHF electronics, computing and telecommunications equipment.

Concern “Sozvezdie” in “Roselektronika” first of all develops and manufactures electronic warfare systems. Companies incorporated in the corporation specialize in manufacture of automatic communication and control systems as well as ground-based electronic countermeasure equipment for radio communication. It is possible to say that the most well-known are electronic countermeasure complexes “Borisoglebsks-2” and “Infauna” supplied now to the Russian army.

Complexes “Borisoglebsks-2” are designed for radio reconnaissance and jamming enemy’s radio communication within HF and VHF bands, radio navigation systems and mobile satellite communication systems. Powerful jamming stations make it possible to have an efficient impact on different radio-controlled objects as well as to blind drone control channels, etc.

Complexes RB-531B “Infauna” are designed for radio reconnaissance and jamming enemy’s communications within VHF band as well as to provide protection against remote detonated mines and explosive devices by way of barrage jamming and protecting nearby vehicles against enemy’s aimed fire by way of setting aerosol screens.

The latest EW system from “Sozvezdie” Corporation that has just been supplied to the army is the “Palantin” complex. It is also designed for electronic reconnaissance and jamming enemy’s communications within HF and VHF bands. The complex is also capable of blanketing enemy’s mobile and trunk communication. An important feature of “Palantin” is its ability to link different EW systems into the unified operating network.

It is worth paying attention to such products by “Sozvezdie” Corporation as small-sized portable jamming transmitters RP-377VM1, RP-377UVM2 and RP-377UVM3, designed to blind the radio control channels of mines and explosives devices or blanket a radio signal from bugs (listening devices). And this is only some part of еру corporation’s products.

One more designer and manufacturer of electronic warfare incorporated in “Roselektronika” Holding under Rostec SC is All-Russian Research Institute “Etalon”. It specializes mainly in information security and radio control systems. Among manufactured products there are the following: automated radio, technical and special information protection efficiency monitoring complexes “Plavsk” and “Dzudoist”, active countermeasure equipment “Neitralitet” to counter enemy’s radio reconnaissance systems, technical monitoring, electronic simulation and jamming complex “Leer-2” and many others.

Almaz – Antey” Air and Space Defense Corporation and Defense Systems Group of Companies

There are other companies specializing in design and manufacture of electronic warfare systems apart from above mentioned Rostec’s companies. One of them, “Academician A.I. Berg Central Research Institute of Radio Technologies” (TsNIRTI) is incorporated in “Almaz – Antey” Air and Space Defense Corporation. It has a special position, because it specializes in designing space and aircraft systems for remote Earth probing, it participated in designing electronic reconnaissance satellites “Lotos-S”. In addition, TsNIRTI also develops various ground-based and airborne electronic warfare systems, for example, containerized portable jamming station MSP-418K for individual protection of MIG-29 jet fighters or radio countermeasure system “Omul” for protection of SU-25 attack airplanes.

One more well-known Russian company operating in the field of electronic warfare is Research Center for Electronic Warfare (”NTC REB”) – founded in Moscow in 2005, this company is incorporated in a Group of Companies “Defense Systems”. “NTC REB” manufactures the following systems – ground-based complexes (passive radar) “Avtobaza-M” for electronic reconnaissance of airborne and maritime objects, countermeasure complexes “Repellent” to counter small-sized drones, electronic countermeasure systems “Pole-21” for blanketing global satellite user equipment, etc.

Private companies

Voronezh Research Company “PROTEK” incorporated in a private company “EGO-Holding” manufactures automated jamming complex R-330M1P “Diabazol”. This complex is designed for electronic reconnaissance and electronic countermeasures of mobile VHF, cell, trunk and satellite communication systems within a frequency band of 100 to 2,000 MHz.

The complex consists of different electronic jamming stations, which can be employed autonomously as well. For example, station R-330Zh “Zhitel” automatically detects, guides and analyzes signals from radio sources within an operating frequency band, jams subscriber terminals of satellite communication systems INMARSAT and Iridium, user equipment of satellite navigation system GPS and mobile GSM standard communication base stations.

One more private company is Saint Petersburg “Special Technological Center” (STC) mainly specializing in manufacture of radio monitoring equipment and “Orlan” family drones. Therefore, the electronic warfare manufactured by this company is related to this company’s expertise. In the field of radio monitoring this STC has developed stationary EW complexes “Svet-VSG” and mobile systems “Svet-KU”. They are intended for radio and technical monitoring and data security to prevent leakages via wireless communication channels.

Regarding drones, one of the most well-known EW systems manufactured by the STC is complex RB-341V “Leer-3”. This complex is designed for radio reconnaissance and blanketing GSM standard mobile communication networks; its distinction is that the “Orlan-10” drone is used as a jamming source carrier. On the other hand, among products manufactured by STC there is a system designed to counter drones, which employs electronic blanketing of radio navigation and control channels.

Yuri Lyamin

©New defence order. Strategy  №1 (60) 2020

Our partners