Radio-Electronic Combat [REC]

A kind of armed struggle, during which radio emissions (radio interference) are applied to the radio-electronic means of control systems, communications and reconnaissance of the enemy in order to change the quality of military information circulating in them, to protect their systems from similar influences, as well as to change the conditions (properties of the environment) of the propagation of radio waves.

EW components are electronic suppression and electronic protection. The objects of influence in the course of electronic warfare are electromagnetic fields (waves), radio-electronic means and systems. Active and passive means are used to create radio interference. Active means are those that use the principle of generation to generate radiation (for example, transmitters, jamming stations). Passive means - use the principle of reflection (re-radiation) (for example, dipole and corner reflectors, etc.). Electronic warfare is one of the main types of operational (combat) support of the Strategic Missile Forces.

The Russian military first became convinced of the effectiveness of electronic warfare equipment more than a century ago, when in April 1904, during an attack by a Japanese squadron on Port Arthur, the radio stations of the Pobeda battleship and the coastal post "Golden Mountain" began to jam the Japanese airwaves, making it difficult to transmit telegrams from enemy spotter ships ... Since then, a lot of water has flowed under the bridge, and now the means of electronic warfare have become simply irreplaceable. According to experts, without them, any army will turn into a confrontation between savages and the Western army, equipped to the teeth with the most modern military equipment.

In 1953, Soviet Admiral A. I. Berg, the newly appointed Deputy Defense Minister, was given responsibility to develop “Soviet radio electronics and cybernetics.” By 1958, the Soviets had translated Wiener’s Cybernetics into Russian, and a year later, the Frunze Academy organized a faculty of military cybernetics. By the second half of the 1970s, US Army intelligence had uncovered the Soviet concept known as radio-electronic combat.” This doctrine was the impetus for later American efforts to protect its radio-electronic communications systems.

Soviet Radio Electronic Combat (REC) highlighted the Soviet’s plan to dominate the electromagnetic spectrum and disrupt NATO command and control. Although no single element of REC, to include jamming, deception, secrecy, intelligence, or destructive fires, was missing from American capabilities or doctrine, at the time of REC’s discovery, the US possessed no single approach to integrate these functions.

The Soviets appreciated that, whatever REC’s effects, they were not, in themselves decisive. However, REC offered a period of advantage in which a decisive blow was possible. REC doctrine did not hold on to the illusion that this period of advantage could be sustained “for extended periods of time.”79 Therefore, the Soviets intended to employ REC during “critical times” in command and control procedures” to render important yet, “perishable information …obsolete".

In total, the Soviet Army expected REC to render “at least 50 percent of the enemy’s command, control, and weapon system communications” either disrupted or destroyed. American analysis of REC doctrine, history, and training suggested that Soviets would concentrate lethal fires at the forward edge of the battle area (FEBA).82 According to Soviet General-Major N.A. Kostin, “the experience of exercises and the results of scientific studies” suggested that knocking out as much as 40% of NATO command and control would require as much as much as ten percent of rockets, fifteen percent of conventional ammunition, and twenty percent of helicopter flights.

By the late 1980s, the Soviet Military had invested heavily in non-lethal REC force structure. At the Front Level, for instance, EW assets alone consisted of up to twenty-five units, comprising up to 300 ground “jamming stations” and fifty jamming aircraft. In addition, as much as one third of all Soviet combat aircraft were equipped with electronic jammers. According to Kostrin, this ensemble was able “to suppress the most important [short wave] communication lines of a group of Armies…air defense systems and up to 3-4 army corps.”

At present, electronic warfare is a complex of coordinated measures and actions of troops, which are carried out in order to: reduce the effectiveness of command and control of troops and the use of enemy weapons, to ensure the specified effectiveness of command and control of troops and the use of their own means of destruction. Achievement of these goals is carried out within the framework of the defeat of the systems of command and control of troops and weapons, communications and reconnaissance of the enemy by changing the quality of information circulating in them, the speed of information processes, parameters and characteristics of electronic means; protection of their control systems, communications and reconnaissance from defeat, as well as protected information about weapons, military equipment.

In the course of electronic warfare: defeat is ensured by the deliberate impact of various types of radiation on electronic means, channels for receiving and transmitting information, by special software and technical impact on the enemy's electronic computing means; their control, communications and reconnaissance systems are protected from similar enemy influences, as well as from unintentional radiation effects arising from the combined use of electronic means; protection of protected information is carried out by hiding it and / or by misleading the enemy about their actual content. The objects of electronic warfare are information carriers (fields and waves of various nature, streams of charged particles), the medium of their propagation and electronic means and systems. Thus, electronic warfare is an integral part, the technical basis of information warfare.

Russia is developing electronic warfare systems that will interfere with the enemy's hypersonic aircraft (GZVA). The novelty will be able to suppress their sighting devices in the final section of the flight path. This will prevent an accurate strike from ammunition with optoelectronic, radar and satellite homing heads. Experts note that the system should not allow hitting the targets of the GZLA even if they break through the air and missile defense systems.

Russia has developed the latest high-power microwave weapon-the vehicle-mounted Krasukha-4 system, which can counter the U.S. E-8C battlefield surveillance aircraft, the "Predator" unmanned reconnaissance attack aircraft, and "Global Hawk" unmanned strategic reconnaissance aircraft.

There are several ways to target missiles. Often, optical or optoelectronic homing heads (GOS) are used for this. With this option, the GOS specifies the location of targets using optics, as well as infrared or laser devices. With radar guidance, having entered a given area, the ammunition turns on the on-board radar to irradiate the object, and recognize it by the reflected signal. There is also a radio command system - it guides the missile to the target using radio communication. Finally, the most common guidance method is with satellite navigation. Such GOS are used on almost all missiles of NATO countries - this is a relatively cheap and well-developed technology.

An ammunition with a radio command guidance system is easy to neutralize by determining the frequency at which the target designation is received. Further, it must be clogged with radio interference, which will deprive a hypersonic missile or aircraft of the ability to navigate.

The radar-guided head needs to be influenced by chaotic radar signals. Operators can also use corner or dipole reflectors (strips of foil, metallized paper or fiberglass that shoot in front of the target in the threatened direction). They will reflect the radio signal from the aiming head before it can lock onto the target.

Optoelectronic seeker can also be disoriented with the help of electronic interference. But there are also simpler and cheaper ways. For example, grenade launchers with a special aerosol can create clouds that reliably hide the object from the rocket , making it impossible for it to accurately aim. Faced with such opposition, enemy ammunition will not be able to hit the target.

On 30 November 2018, the U.S. Institute for War Studies (ISW), which is tied to suppliers in the U.S. military industry, released a new progress report that also complains that the Russians have expanded their electronic warfare capabilities in Syria and reiterated that this has a negative impact on the situation in the country. In particular, ISW mentions the following systems and equipment.

Krasukha-4: In October 2015, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation installed Krasukha-4 equipment at the Hemimin air base. This system is capable of disabling satellite navigation, communications networks, early warning aircraft and ground-based radars up to a distance of 300 kilometers. Russia reportedly installed another Krasukha-4 complex in Syria in September 2018, a system likely stationed at the Syrian Air Force’s T4 (Tias) air base in central Syria, along with another SZ-300 air defense missile class.

Lir-3: Russia reportedly installed a LIR-3 (RB-341V) complex in Syria in March 2016. The LIR-3 uses unmanned aerial vehicles to interfere with portable communication devices such as cell phones, handheld computers (tablets that communicate on radio frequencies). The system also provides target coordinates from the location of these devices to artillery and strike aircraft. Russia probably used those systems to measure and target opposition facilities.

Zoopark-1: Russia In March 2016, Zoopark-1 (1L-219) was installed in Palmyra / Tadmur in Central Syria. The Zoopark-1 complex is able to detect the starting point of enemy artillery strikes in order to launch a counterattack. Russia probably used this system in 2016 to support Syrian government troops in retrieving Palmyra and the oil fields around it from the ISIS terrorist organization.

Moscow-1: Russia may have deployed the Moscow-1 (1L-267) system in Syria. Russia had previously deployed this equipment in Ukraine in late 2015, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. Russia has tested the Krasukha-4 and Lir-2 electronic warfare systems on both the Ukrainian and Syrian battlefields. The Moscow-1 complex provides detailed information on targets to increase the effectiveness of electronic jamming systems against enemy military aircraft up to a distance of 400 kilometers. Russia has been able to use the system to protect its military facilities in response to increased airstrikes against Syria in 2017. ”

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