In time immemorial, when the USSR had a lot of lovers of listening to the “Liberty” and “Free Europe” radio stations at night, it was quite difficult to catch “enemy voices” in the VHF band and in medium waves. The “voices” wheezed, swam, or even disappeared altogether – people believed that it was the “KGB jammers” that prevented listening to the “truth from the West.” In principle, this was the case, only the special services then had no direct relation to this, the function was assigned to the military units of electronic warfare (EW), which had been actively developing since the 30s of the last century.
EW systems have always been under military intelligence and today are the main organizational structure of the General Staff (GRU) of the General Staff of the RF Armed Forces. This is such an invisible special forces, able to find and help destroy an enemy that cannot be visually detected. The Russian army has significantly succeeded in developing electronic warfare systems, including specialized ones, designed to counter radar detection systems, to suppress communication channels in various ranges, including civilian ones. This is a universally recognized fact and the same US military has repeatedly recognized that they lag behind Russia in improving electronic warfare methods.
Now the US military has completely showed their powerlessness in this industry, while at the same time saying that the personnel are poorly trained in electronic warfare techniques, and the exercises are “too simple.” The American edition of Breaking Defense, for example, cites U.S. Army lieutenant colonel Gary Laika, who states that the US army is slower than any other in improving electronic warfare methods, and during exercises, military personnel do not even turn off their mobile phones, revealing their exact location. Here we can recall the words of the commander of NATO forces in Europe, Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, who believes that “the Russian EW units have transcendental capabilities.” Brigadier General Frank Gorenk echoes him: “Russia’s achievements in the field of electronic warfare nullify all the advantages of high-tech weapons that are in the arsenal of NATO.”
In general, the Americans were not the first to realize (and admit) that the latest Russian electronic weapons are capable of completely paralyzing the functioning of electronics mounted on rockets, planes and ships. One can already consider the story of the US Navy destroyer Donald Cook (Donald Cook DDG-75) equipped with the powerful Aegis missile defense system, whose electronics was completely neutralized by the Khibiny electronic warfare station, by the Russian Su-24 front-line bomber. American sailors then simply did not see the aircraft on radar, although it made more than ten simulated attack calls to the ship. The Cook destroyer then hastily retreated to the NATO parking lot in Romanian Constanta.
Recall a more recent example of the use of electronic warfare when Russian stations “blinded” Norway — it was in April 2019. Then Norway, the country of NATO, on the territory of which there are tracking stations for Russian nuclear submarines in the Barents Sea, and the United States is building its own radar station there, complained that, supposedly, the Russian electronic warfare systems “jam” GPS signals and pose a serious threat to the country’s security. Images on which you can see the range of the GPS signal and the established interference, which almost completely drowns out the normal operation of the global positioning system in a radius of 150-200 kilometers were even presented. At the same time, as analysts noted, despite the fact that the Krasukha-4 complexes are actually located on the Russian-Norwegian border, there is no reason for their constant work. But if necessary, even during NATO exercises near the Russian borders, electronic warfare systems can be included. At full power.
It is no coincidence that Americans are now complaining about the low potential of their electronic warfare equipment and the lack of training of personnel. For several decades, neither the United States nor other NATO armies fought in the face of communications suppression, so some experience was lost, and development in the field of electronic warfare was hindered. This is despite the fact that American intelligence has powerful potential that allows you to “wiretap” around the world. With the means of suppression, everything turned out to be much worse for the Americans. Russia, on the other hand, pays special attention to EW means, considering them as one of the elements of armaments and is constantly improving.
EW assets were actively used during the war in Afghanistan, in military operations on the territory of Chechnya, where they were used mainly to detect enemy communications. Now in Syria, EW tools allow you to fight against air targets, including unmanned drones, depriving them of control and forcing landing.
The Russian military-industrial complex supplies the troops with numerous types of electronic warfare equipment for various purposes. This is a whole arsenal, which includes both “heavy” systems and portable stations that can be used at the level of army units. And, for example, if the Mercury-BM mobile complex is designed to protect against artillery shells with radio fuses, the Infauna system neutralizes the fuses of high-precision air-to-ground and ground-to-ground missiles, and also infects communications and control systems. The aforementioned Khibiny aviation complex makes the aircraft invisible to electronic equipment.
The “babies” in the family of Russian electronic warfare equipment are portable and small-sized complexes like “Pishchal”, “Sapsan-Bekas”, “Solaris-N”, which are convenient and effective in use against drones. “Pishchal”, for example, weighs only 3.5 kg, looks somewhat like an automatic machine with a volumetric casing instead of a barrel, acts for 2 kilometers in conditions of direct visibility of the target. The principle of operation is based on remote jamming at the frequencies of satellite navigation systems and communication and control channels. Sapsan-Bekas is already capable of detecting a drone at a distance of up to 10 kilometers (it is heavier and mounted on a car) it tracks its movement and disables when approaching 6 km. The system is equipped on the principle of “friend or foe” and does not affect the UAV, which is included in the database of the complex.
Mobile systems “Krasuha-4” and “Moscow-1” paralyze offensive and defensive weapons of any type. It is known that the Krasukha-4 complex, within a radius of 300 kilometers, suppresses spy satellites, ground radars and AWACS aircraft systems, making Russian weapons completely invisible. He is also able to inflict radar damage to enemy electronic warfare equipment and communications. Blocks the complex and control channels of drones. The complex “Moscow-1” in the passive electronic scanning mode (without emitting radio waves) monitors the space within a radius of 400 kilometers, detects not only aircraft and missiles, but also enemy shells.
The effectiveness of the real application of “Kraukha”, in addition to panic caused in Norway due to the blocking of GPS signals, is not particularly advertised. At the same time, the complex is credited with participating in Syria as part of the Russian Aerospace forces group. It is assumed that it was with the participation of Krasukha-4, which is being tested in the Middle East, that 36 American Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from an American destroyer in the Mediterranean Sea at the Syrian air base were neutralized. The Russian electronic warfare complex, as expected, gave the missiles a “false mark” as a result of which they fell into the sea without reaching the target.
It is difficult to judge how true this information is, for example, when in March 2014 there was an assertion that the Avtobaza electronic warfare complex had intercepted and forced to land an American drone in the Crimea, they immediately hastened to refute it. In Rostec, they said that Avtobaza was not used in Crimea, and a Pentagon spokesman said there were no US drones there. Well, if they said so than it wasn’t- the fact remains the fact, UAVs (Israeli-made MQ-5B) were shown in the news. Maybe it was not a powerful Avtobaza, but, for example, the EW Resident complex, which is also capable of fighting drones.
Among the well-known electronic warfare systems, the Leer-3 complex can be named, which is capable of blocking phones in GSM networks and sending false messages. This complex is officially called the “aerodynamically thrown jamming transmitter for GSM mobile subscriber terminals”. It consists of two light UAVs that simulate the operation of a cellular network base station and thereby interfere with the normal operation of subscriber terminals. The equipment allows you to block the operation of any devices in the ranges of GSM-900 and GSM-1800. Cellular networks are completely blocked.
Of the promising means of electronic warfare, one cannot fail to mention the Alabuga complex – an electromagnetic weapon that beats an impulse.
Representatives of the developer, the Radioelectronic Technologies Concern (KRET), argue that this can be either a normal interfering effect with a temporary disabling of the enemy’s weapon systems and military equipment, or a complete electronic damage resulting in energetic, destructive damage to the main electronic elements, boards, blocks and systems. “Alabuga” is not an electronic missile, as is commonly believed, but a whole range of studies on the creation of a new type of weapon using an electromagnetic pulse. And the rocket itself is just a means of delivering a charge to the battlefield. The complex is designed to disable, in the full sense of the word “burning out”, all electronic equipment of surface ships, enemy aircraft (aircraft, helicopters, drones, cruise missiles), ground units.