Today, the United States practically does not conduct military operations without active use of electronic warfare (EW), which was clearly shown by the events in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. This is of particular relevance in connection with the situation in Ukraine, which our counter-partners sleep and see in NATO, as well as with the deployment of the third missile defense position region in Poland and Romania. What will Russia oppose? This and other questions are answered by the acting chief of the electronic warfare troops of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, Yury Lastochkin.
Effect of addiction
- What are the recent trends in the development of EW, what are our priorities?
- The accents of warfare are increasingly shifting to the information sphere. With regard to modern technically advanced countries, one can rightly say: their power is largely a consequence of the use of high technology, primarily information. This process is based on the large-scale (total) introduction of radio-electronic equipment and computer equipment to all spheres of warfare, as well as building on their basis network managers (network-centric) structures within a single information space.
The recent armed conflicts have shown that the degree of realization of the combat potential of a group of troops increases significantly not only and not so much through the use of high-precision means of destruction, but primarily due to gaining superiority in the control of subordinate forces and means. It is achieved and maintained with the rational use of modern means of intelligence and control. Thus, receiving timely more accurate and complete information on the battlefield, making adequate decisions and promptly bringing them to subordinates, the party in conflict with superiority in management becomes capable of defeating the enemy several times superior.
The technical basis of all modern weapons and military equipment systems, primarily such as intelligent, high-precision and robotic, intelligence, electronic warfare, control and communications, is made up of radio-electronic means (RES). In order to achieve the objectives of operations, they are usually combined into systems of various levels of complexity and purpose. However, in conditions of high saturation of all spheres of warfare with them, a paradoxical situation emerged. On the one hand, the possibilities for achieving the objectives of operations (combat operations) are sharply increased, on the other hand, a violation of the normal operation modes of the REC can negate all the advantages, even cause a complete loss of combat capability. Thus, it becomes quite obvious the so-called effect of the dependence of the armed forces of the technically advanced states on the quality of the operation of electronic means in the structure of weapons and military equipment.
In such conditions, it is the electronic warfare that, as a relatively low-cost and fairly easy-to-implement method of disorganizing the operation of individual enemy radio installations and protecting oneself, comes to the fore. Under certain conditions, it is the use of EW methods that can be considered as asymmetric measures that level the merits of high-tech systems and means of warfare.
However, all of the above requires a systematic approach to EW. By such, we need to consider a targeted system with appropriate properties, that is, the presence of system-forming, system-preserving factors, synergy, emergence, multiplicativeness, etc. It should be remembered: only a system with a no less difficulty level can successfully withstand the system. In addition, the practice of using EW means shows their higher efficiency in combination with the means of influence (protection, intelligence) of another functional purpose.
Significant expansion of the frequency range, reduction of radiation power and communication distances, increase in data transmission speed, special modes of operation, formation of network structures, wide use of air, space and unmanned systems and tools suggest a number of promising directions for the development of EW systems in general and individual tools in particular .
These areas include:
-expansion of the functionality of individual EW facilities and increase their universality;
-use of open architecture with the ability to change their functionality by adding additional modules;
- the inclusion of EW as an element in the composition of almost all systems of warfare;
-transfer of efforts to defeat electronic systems to the enemy’s territory, the widespread use of unmanned and abandoned (recorded) EW facilities;
-the emergence of the technique of functional destruction of the enemy's RES - weapons powerful directional electromagnetic radiation;
-the use of special means for disrupting the operation of computerized control systems built according to the network principle;
- selection as priority objectives for the impact of airborne, unmanned, robotized and satellite RESs of control and reconnaissance systems;
-developing new ways of breaking (changing) the propagation conditions of radio waves;
-the creation of technologies to reduce the visibility of weapons and military equipment in the interests of countering enemy intelligence;
-creation of a complex radio-electronic situation for the technical means of reconnaissance of the enemy and imitation in the areas of operations (combat operations).
Obviously, these areas may in the long term - medium-term and especially long-term - undergo a transformation arising from the logic of the development of warfare, science and technology, and as a result should be the object of close attention of the scientific community.
- How is the development of the electronic warfare forces going on after the stagnation and large-scale reduction of the Armed Forces in 2012?
- In recent years, the intensity of combat training has increased significantly. Since the beginning of 2014, the EW troops alone have conducted more than 15 exercises of various sizes. In addition, to create a complex and dynamic environment of the active electronic impact of the enemy on all the operational and combat training activities, military units and EW units are involved. The quality of training officers and personnel in general has grown.
The main educational institution of the EW troops of the RF Armed Forces and federal executive authorities is the Military Training and Research Center of the Air Force “Military Air Academy” (Voronezh). It organized training in all major specialties of EW. And junior specialists are trained by the Interspecific Center for Training and Combat Use of Electronic Warfare Troops (Tambov). 110 anniversary of electronic warfare center met with serious results. During the academic year, over a four-month program, it has trained more than 1500 junior EW specialists, radio and radio intelligence in more than 15 specialties. As an experimental site for testing EW equipment and radio intelligence, the center actively participates in military-technical cooperation with defense companies, including Tambov Plant Revtrud, FGUP TNIIR Efir, CJSC Signal.
Regarding the development of EW assets of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation as a whole, it is currently being implemented in accordance with the State Weapons Program for 2011 – 2020 years (GW-2020), approved by the President of the Russian Federation 31 in December 2010. The implementation of the GW-2020 activities is carried out as part of the annual state defense orders (GOZ). Performing the parameters of the HPV-2020 will allow to increase the level of provision of EW troops with advanced equipment to 2020 to 70 percent.
Lessons for Russia
- What experience of using EW in past military conflicts is of professional interest to you and why?
- First of all, Iraq and Yugoslavia, although it would seem that those events are long gone. But, first, far from everything was told. Secondly, such methods, methods of using EW are being used now, for example, during the operation against the same Libya. Thirdly, it is useful to once again analyze those events from the height of our time.
Judge for yourself. In the war with Iraq (1991 year) in the interests of the EF MNS, a space grouping of reconnaissance assets (up to 40 AES) and ground (1550) radio and radio intelligence and direction finding stations were established.
As part of aviation EW grouping, there were 108 aircraft for the suppression of radar, radio lines and the destruction of anti-aircraft missiles. All strike aircraft of the USAF, UK, France and ships have individual stations installed to protect against detection by electronic means and destruction by guided weapons. A significant part of aviation is equipped with hanging containers with electronic warfare equipment of collective protection.
In the area of the conflict in the ground forces grouping, 60 ground stations and 37 EW helicopters were deployed, which allowed solving reconnaissance and electronic suppression tasks for KB, VHF and radio relay communications at the tactical and operational-tactical level of control to a distance of 120 – 150 kilometers.
The main task of the US EW was to suppress and disorganize the Iraqi air defense command and control system throughout the country. Without a successful solution of this task, the massive use of aviation would entail a significant loss of military equipment and personnel. As a result of the use of RTR, REP and control aircraft together with anti-radar missiles (with almost no radio electronic countermeasures from the Iraqi forces) for the first 10 days of hostilities, up to 80 percent of all combat-ready Iraqi radars were disabled.
In fact, for the first time in the practice of conducting electronic warfare, a form of "electronic strike" was implemented, as a result, it was possible to create favorable conditions for the sudden use of aviation and ground forces, high-precision weapons, to achieve overall superiority in control.
During the second campaign in Iraq (2003 year), an EW operation was carried out at the same time, which, in addition to powerful jamming and targeted suppression of state and military radio electronic equipment, included many high-precision fire strikes on radio-emitting objects with special high-precision rockets with dusty graphite and metallized head-pieces that hit transformer substations and relay automatics of power stations. The share of their use compared with the previous conflict has increased by 30 percent.
For the first time during the operation, an experiment was conducted to suppress the information potential of the enemy — television and radio stations, repeaters, editors of electronic and print media, which were used to highlight the course of hostilities and propaganda. As a result, Iraq’s outreach potential has been completely suppressed.
Navigation system NAVSTAR was widely used for the guidance of precision weapons. The share of such weapons in the war was 95 percent (in the 1991 year - 7%). The experience of the described armed conflicts confirmed the well-known views of the US and NATO command on the EW as an integral part of military operations of any scale, on how to organize and conduct it, once again demonstrating in practice that the EW had grown from operational (combat) support to a means of armed struggle.
- What is new Americans used in Yugoslavia?
- The actions of the USA and NATO in the spring and summer of 1999 in Yugoslavia became the prototype of the sixth generation war. It was a contactless local war, based on the aerospace-sea operation and information confrontation.
In the course of military operations in the framework of the information confrontation, NATO forces conducted an EW operation, which, in addition to electronic suppression, included many high-precision fire strikes against radio-emitting objects. For the first time an experiment was carried out to suppress the information potential of Yugoslavia.
Tested new cruise missiles, sea-based AGM-109, carriers of which were ships and submarines of the US Navy. Interestingly, they were aimed at targets using the space navigation system GPS, and the flight was carried out in full radio silence mode without radiation of electromagnetic energy to measure the height of its flight. Only on the final section, directly in the target area, did the DSMAS optical system activate for accurate targeting to a specific critical point of the object.
The main targets of the defeat were key military and economic facilities, infrastructure and communications of Serbia and Kosovo. In most cases, they were successfully amazed. According to official Pentagon data, 900 – 1,2 thousands of high-precision cruise missiles, most of which were experimental, were used to attack 1,5 objects of the economy. So to say, democracy in action.
- Space exploration tools used with the same intensity?
- They not only played an extremely important role in the operation, but were systemically important military-technical instruments of warfare. The United States has created a powerful grouping of 50 satellites for various purposes. Above the theater of war were simultaneously 8 – 12 spacecraft, which, together with air and sea carriers, were the basis of reconnaissance-strike combat systems. From space, continuous monitoring of the KD-1 (United States), Helios-1A (France) optical reconnaissance satellites, and Lacrosse (USA) radar reconnaissance satellites was conducted, as well as control, navigation, communications and meteorological support. US spacecraft GPS systems navigated the latest high-precision air and sea-based cruise missiles. Special space vehicles Spot (France) transmitted a television image of the earth’s surface and documented experimental strikes against the economy and infrastructure of Serbia and Kosovo in order to determine the real effectiveness of high-precision cruise missiles.
As a result, the air defense of Yugoslavia was completely suppressed by the EW. NATO’s precision-guided anti-radar missiles were destroyed by virtually every radio source. As a rule, already after the first launch of an anti-aircraft missile, even the most advanced anti-aircraft missile system of Yugoslavia’s air defense system, which uses the principle of active radar in its work, was doomed to failure, regardless of whether it remained on or off. Each radar, which radiated electromagnetic energy for a short time, was necessarily destroyed either by an anti-radar missile or a missile with guidance on the thermal radiation of a radar vehicle engine or its power units when the radar itself is turned off. This led to the fact that during the first two or three days of the war 70 percent of the divisions of the mobile C-125 and C-75 SAMs were disabled.
In the course of the operation, an EW operation was carried out by NATO forces simultaneously with fire destruction of air defense and infrastructure facilities, which, in addition to powerful jamming defensive and targeted suppression of Yugoslav radio electronic equipment of state and military purposes, included many high-precision fire strikes on other radio-emitting objects. Anti-radar missiles, aimed at any recorded sources of radiation of electromagnetic energy, were destroyed by radars, air defense missile systems, radio communication stations, conventional and cellular communications nodes, television stations, broadcasting stations, computer centers.
During an EW operation, the enemy’s informational potential was suppressed - television and radio stations, repeaters, electronic and print media, which were used to highlight the course of hostilities and propaganda. When selecting targets, the United States and other NATO countries did not always adhere to the norms of international humanitarian law governing the rules of warfare, as evidenced by the defeat of the television and radio center for purely civilian purposes. The main means of EW were the EU-1 ZON and EA-6В aircraft, which operated outside the Yugoslav air defense zone, as well as tactical fighters for delivering high-precision missiles that homing at the radiation source to the launch lines.
The electronic information impact on the automated control networks of the Armed Forces of Yugoslavia was a new element for the United States of waging an information war, which was first used in real armed conflict. Previously, they were limited to more crude methods of influence, such as disabling automated systems due to overloading them with extraneous information.
Alurgit, Infauna and others
- What is the experience of the use of EW forces and means from the struggle against the gangs of the North Caucasus in 2000?
- Prior to the active phase of combat operations, with the financial assistance of a number of foreign countries, the militants created an operational and flexible communications and control system, the technical basis of which was a wide variety of, including portable radio, radio relay and satellite communications, as well as mobile cellular and trunk connection.
The task of identifying and suppressing them, especially in mountainous and wooded areas, is much more difficult. This is primarily due to the peculiarities of the propagation of electromagnetic waves, small communication distances, and restrictions in the choice of positions for EW equipment.
Based on the experience of the previous campaign to establish the constitutional order of 1994 – 1996 and widely using theoretical and experimental developments in the field of creating new EW tools and complexes, new and modernized models of special equipment were quickly developed and practically tested. Under the conditions of intensive use of EW facilities and systems, the failed equipment was quickly restored by field repair teams. This greatly enabled us to successfully accomplish the tasks of electronic warfare in the North Caucasus region.
The goals of the EW were to reduce the possibilities of illegal armed formations to manage forces and equipment, to ensure the stable operation of the electronic equipment of the United Group of Forces. These goals were achieved by coordinated actions of EW forces and equipment, reconnaissance, other types of troops and special forces of the UGA.
The presence of EW maneuver groups in each combined-arms formation made it possible to accurately determine the location of radio stations of field commanders of gangs and, in some cases, after additional exploration, to eliminate them with artillery fire and air strikes.
Thus, the complex use of reconnaissance, fire destruction and electronic suppression means managed to disable the most important radio electronic objects in the illegal armed formation control system, suppress their main radio communication channels with radio interference and in general disrupt the control of armed gangs in the main lines of action of the troops. As a result, the leaders almost completely lost control and were forced to use small-sized portable communication devices, whose work was quickly and effectively stopped.
In the course of performing combat missions in the North Caucasus, a wealth of experience has been accumulated, which is taken into account in the educational process, when implementing EW technology development programs, and improving the forms and methods of electronic warfare.
- What new models of weapons and military equipment are being delivered to the troops today in accordance with the state defense order? What is their advantage?
- In recent years, positive prerequisites have been created for a cardinal renewal of the EW weapons system. The scientific and technical background, formed in the framework of the LG-2015 and LG-2020, allowed in the 2010 – 2013 period to successfully complete the state tests of 18 new types of EW equipment. These are “Borisoglebsk-2”, “Alurgit”, “Infauna”, “Krasukha-2O”, “Krasukha-С4”, “Moscow-1”, “Parodist”, “Lorandit-M”, “Leer-2”, “ Leer-3 ”,“ Lesochek ”,“ Less ”,“ Magnesium-REB ”,“ Field-21 ”, etc.
The newly developed tools for the first time allow:
to ensure the possibility of radio intelligence and radio suppression of integrated communication systems and data transmission of collective use, in 1,5 – 1,8 times to increase the probability of selection of objects of suppression, to reduce the response time by 10 times;
make it possible to block, selectively by location and (or) the system address of blocking the user's cellular communication terminals of the enemy, increase the size of the effective impact zone by using non-traditional (non-power) methods of intelligently blocking mobile subscriber terminals by up to four times and much more.
In addition, this EW equipment will meet the following basic requirements:
-complex and effective impact on a wide range of electronic and computing systems and tools;
- implementation of integrated technical control of measures for masking objects in all physical fields and RES, ensuring protection of information from leakage through technical channels and destruction by means of software (hardware-software) effects;
-conflict stability in terms of the use of electronic warfare devices and radiation-homing weapons by the opposing side;
-high performance (reliability, maintainability, ergonomics, etc.) and a large modernization potential.
Due to a several-fold increase in supplies of weapons and military equipment, more than 10 EW units have been completely re-equipped with modern and promising means.
- And the last question. With which enterprises of the military-industrial complex do you work most closely?
- I would especially note the increasing role of integrated structures in the development and production of EW equipment. Currently, two such structures are formed and function effectively: Concern Sozvezdie OJSC (Voronezh) - in the direction of development of electronic warfare equipment with command and control systems and OJSC Concern of radio-electronic technologies (Moscow) - in the direction of development of electronic warfare equipment with weapon control systems . Close cooperation with defense companies allows us to look confidently into the future.