Since the war in Ukraine is being waged not only in the visible, but also in the invisible range, it makes sense to pay attention to the types of weapons that the Armed Forces of Ukraine use against the Russian army. Both mine and gifts. With the latter, it is quite interesting, because samples of NATO electronic weapons are at the disposal of the fighters of the invisible front of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
And it would be strange if they didn't. I have already said in previous materials that the SVO is the most fertile ground for testing samples of military equipment in real combat conditions. And the last time something more or less similar was in 2003, when the Coalition smashed Iraq.
But here it’s even somehow inconvenient in terms of where Iraq is and where the electronic warfare is. No offense, but not for Arabs such subtle matters as electronic warfare. It is not for nothing that the same Saudis have so many foreign specialists in the army.
Since there is an army in the NVO against Ukraine, which is armed with Drones, and RTR, and electronic warfare, with which you will have to work wholeheartedly - it makes sense to carry everything that you can try.
But in Ukraine there are design bureaus, research institutes, factories, and most importantly, there are still people who are able not only to develop, but also to implement what has been developed. At one time, the case brought me to a person who developed software for the electronic warfare systems of Ukraine. And, as he explained to me, precisely because he developed with his team, all interfaces were Russian-language until 2018. Then they were translated into English, but this is a completely different история, because these gentlemen Ukrainian programmers in 2017-18 for some reason ceased to be Ukrainian. But the interface they created was simple, so nothing prevented the following teams from shoveling it as they saw fit.
Work on this complex began much earlier than the announced 2015, the movements began in 2013, and the conversations even earlier. But the ToR was not properly formed, the money was not allocated. In 2015, the first car was already in metal for testing.
In general, electronic warfare systems are usually created for something. Under a certain enemy, under certain frequencies that the enemy uses. Therefore, electronic warfare systems that work against aviation - this is one thing, against missiles and UAVs - another, the Navy - the third. Frequency is the iconostasis that all developers look at.
The Bukovel-AD complex was designed for the early detection of the Orlan-type UAV, which became the main opponent, and the complete blocking of data transmission, control and navigation signals.
The station is ground-based and consists of three modules: UAV detection, control and generation of interference signals. Moreover, Ukrainian engineers managed to make the station very light and compact.
Compactness is expressed in the fact that there is a version of the wearable Bukovel, which is mounted on a tripod and is capable of operating at a distance of up to 15 km. In principle, this is enough to cover the command post, ammunition depot or fuel and lubricants.
But the main trump card of "Bukovel" is the installation on a cross-country vehicle chassis. Initially, it was an all-wheel drive SUV from Mitsubishi L200, the car is very controversial precisely in terms of reliability and cross-country ability. Later, the L200 was replaced by the more passable and less capricious Ford F550 and the Innovators made on its basis.
In general, the Proximus company, which produces Bukovel, is constantly working to improve and modernize the complex, therefore today the seventh version of Bukovel is entering the battlefield. Considering that the complex was adopted in 2016, 7 versions in 7 years - this is exactly once a year an updated and improved version comes out. Very progressive and at the same time hints at the fact that there is a clear connection between developers and operators. And the latter quickly explain to the former what they need to fix, and the former work out, moreover, very quickly.
According to some reports, at the beginning of the SVO, about 50 complexes were at the disposal of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. A lot of? Of course not, especially since some of them have already played their role in the theater.
What is the real advantage of mobile Bukovel?
It's in mobility. A four-wheel drive pickup truck is just a smart solution to the problem of movement. What is the main problem of electronic warfare systems in general? The fact is that when they work, they "shine" on the air like the fourth power unit of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and nothing can be done about it. This is the essence of the work of electronic warfare - generating a signal and transmitting it over a distance.
Accordingly, these impulses are calmly detected by the enemy’s electronic intelligence and, at best, a response impulse flies to the EW complex, at worst, an anti-radar missile or an artillery salvo at the calculated coordinates.
In any case, the prospect is so-so, all the more, we admit, no one will bother with suppression. High-explosive fragmentation shells are very effective, since no one hides electronic warfare stations behind tank armor. She, the station, then will not be moved at all.
Therefore, the process of withdrawing from positions in case of detection is a very important point. When you do not need to fold the antennas, remove the stretch marks, or you can just jump into the back and give the gas to failure - this is just fine for calculation. And the faster the station leaves the place of work, the more likely it is that 152-mm discs will simply plow the field or grove where the fighters of the invisible front were sitting.
Power in the channel not less than: 20 W.
Jamming channels: 6 pcs.
Suppression ranges, MHz: 390-470, 860-960, 1000-1300, 1210-1260, 1550-1620, 2300-2500, 3400-3600, 5000-6000.
The picture shows the antenna of the latest generation module. On the left is the antenna of the detection module. Initially, there was no such module in the design; Bukovel used data from third-party radars. Further upgrades included an RF detection module.
The black arrow on the antenna lobe is for orientation of the detector. The block of receivers directly under the antennas, in the latest version of the receivers there are five. The fifth is presumably related to direction finding.
On the right is a complex radio interference setting module. Inside the casing, panel antennas in the middle and log-periodic along the edges.
Experts (without the slightest doubt) from the Revenge of Goodwill telegram channel allegedly gave the following characteristics to the antennas from Proximus:
Frequency bands: 880-960 and 1700-2170 MHz.
Ku: up to 9 dBi.
Horizontal width of DN: from 60 to 70 degrees.
Vertical width of DN: from 65 to 75 degrees.
Maximum input power: 20 W.
Geometric dimensions: 140x140x15 mm
A good solution to the problem of power losses from generators to antenna-feeder devices: the generation units were placed on the antenna itself at the back.
The software is native. The interface is spartan, nothing more, the main functions on the buttons, as I wrote above, the language was first Russian, then translated into English.
Why not Ukrainian is clear: as such, technical Ukrainian did not exist, but to invent new terms, and even explain them to Western and Eastern Ukrainians ... in short, it was really easier and smarter to do it in Russian. Then they decided to abandon the language of the aggressor, but not start the Ukrainization of electronic warfare? And again, who will work with the terminology? Here they can’t give a damn who the helicopter is in the end, the “helicoptur” or the “guided wing”, and you are talking about high matters ... Therefore, English (which is also the language of NATO) turned out to be handy.
Everything is simple on the monitor. The detection threshold is based on the peak values of the spectra, which are displayed on one screen from all four detection channels, the jamming sector is indicated, the map. Plus an indicator of the circular view of the radar.
I confess that Bukovel did not find a photo of the radar station with which it works (and it definitely works), but this does not mean that it does not exist. The radar must be connected to the station, so Bukovel can work with the radar. This gives a fair increase in the target detection range, in contrast to the module of the station itself.
A radar such as the ELR 55303 can work with Bukovel.
The product of the company "Kvertus Tecynology" from Kyiv, costing only 3,4 million hryvnia. This small in size and weight (Dimensions: 1,2 x 0,5 x 0,75 m, weight 50 kg) radar can cope with tasks, including the search and detection of small aircraft at low altitude. The radar can operate both from AC 220 V and from DC 24 V. Operating range is up to 30 km.
Given the size of the radar, throwing it into the back of a pickup truck will not be any problem.
As a result, the Ukrainian side can be congratulated. They got a light, nimble and fully functional anti-UAV complex. The fact that it is very mobile, and not only in terms of the speed of movement, but also the speed of deployment, is understandable.
The years of civil war in the Donbass were not in vain. There, on the other side, they quickly appreciated how two or three fragments from a mine turn expensive equipment into an object of expensive repairs. Hence the tactics of "spotted - we are washed away", and equipment aimed at the fastest possible deployment and collapse. Curtailment - in particular.
So portability is a definite plus.
The feedback from the manufacturer and those who operate the complex, as mentioned above, can also be considered as a plus. When a manufacturer is happy to meet halfway and make corrections, this is a very positive thing.
Two sensors that work on detection, radio frequency and radar - this is also a plus.
There is also a minus, and it is no less solid than the pros. The unequivocal weakness of the complex in terms of power. Of course, low output power can be partially compensated by directional antennas, but this gives rise to a second disadvantage - a narrow suppression sector. At 20 kilometers, the range of suppression of UAVs of the Orlan type ... well, I don’t really believe in the correctness of these figures. But even 10 km (more realistic) is a decent range for working on UAVs.
In general, a very real electronic warfare complex has turned out, which can be used to cover even the front line, because having quickly worked out and landed the enemy’s apparatus, Bukovel has the opportunity to curl up and leave the place of work before applause from the enemy arrives there.
The declared resource of the latest versions of Bukovel-AD is 7 thousand hours, but the first samples have already worked for 10-15 thousand hours, while maintaining efficiency. This was appreciated not only in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the manufacturer Proximus LLC delivered Bukovel-AD to Morocco and Egypt and continues to work for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Here the question rightly arises: why do we not have this?
After all, if you really look, everything is better with us: locators (especially headlamps), frequency detectors, radio interference modules - everything. Only one thing is missing - a chassis on which you can quickly assemble such a station. It is clear that UAZ is not up to the Patriot right now, but such a machine would be very useful against hordes of Ukrainian drones.
At least in order to simply rush along the front line within a kilometer or two and repel the attacks of Ukrainian UAVs.
By the way, Belarusians have their own such station. "Groza-S". A very strong development, but we will talk about it separately, the entire Thunderstorm line is worth it.
It would be nice to have such a complex for us. There is no need for “unparalleled” with a detection range of 100 km, give a station that will confidently take everything flying at a distance of 5-15 km and bring it down to the ground. The most annoying thing here is that there is everything for this, you just need to give the appropriate orders and assemble everything on the basis of some passable and reliable chassis.