Electronic Warfare: Russian Response to the NATO’s Advantage? [ANALYSIS]
Russian opinion-makers are continuously stressing the fact that in the area of Electronic Warfare, the Russian forces still have a great advantage over their western counterparts. Even though the aforesaid statements may, in some dimension, be propagandist in their nature, considering the wide range of efforts undertaken within that scope, they are probably justified. After the plans made are implemented, Russian EW systems would pose a serious threat to the NATO states.
According to the decree issued by President Putin on 31st May 2006, on 15th April every year, a “Day of Radioelectronic Warfare” is held. The selection of date – 15th April – is by no means accidental. On that day, back in 1904, during the Russo-Japanese War, “means of (radio)-electronic warfare” have been used for the first time. The Russians, making use of the radio of the “Pobeda” battleship and of the “Zolotaya gora” coastal outpost, have jammed the radio communications of the Royal Japanese Navy ships that have been coordinating the shelling targeted against the Russian fleet and the Port Arthur stronghold, carried out by the Japanese “Nisshin” and “Kasuga” cruisers.
The above was possible because both sides of the conflict have been using the very same type of spark-gap transmitters. It was enough to generate a greater spark to jam the proper signal sent by the Japanese. This, according to the Russians, was the first ever case of using electronic countermeasures in combat in history. The effectiveness of this countermeasure has been described in a teletype text written by Rear Admiral Ukhtomsky to Admiral Alexieyev: “The enemy has fired more than 60 large calibre rounds. No hits [on the ships] have been recorded”.
Throughout the subsequent 113 years, the electronic warfare in the Soviet Union, and then in the Russian Federation, has undergone a major metamorphosis and now it includes both overt activities that are aimed at disrupting the operation of the enemy systems making use of the electromagnetic energy, as well as actions, the goal of which is to protect own electronic systems from the results of EW assets owned by the adversary.
According to the latest of the Russian definitions, “(radio)electronic warfare is a set of coordinated actions, the goal of which would be to radioelectronically strike the radioelectronic and ICT facilities of the enemy, radioelectronically protect own radioelectronic and ICT facilities, create countermeasures against the enemy surveillance measures, and provide radioelectronic and ICT support for own forces”
The Russians are reiterating the emphasis on the growing value of this domain on the contemporary battlefield. According to their contemporary experiences gathered throughout the recent wars and conflicts, usage of EW assets and forces may heighten the land forces’ combat potential even twice, diminish the air force losses six-times, and navy losses – 3 times. In this way, Russia may get rid of the distance between its forces and their western counterparts.
According to the Russian data, the input made by the EW units in the missions such as de-organizing the enemy’s C4ISR and fire control systems may be higher than 70%. Without the EW one cannot even think about effective protection of own forces and assets from the enemy PGMs and information-warfare.
It is also stressed that EW shall also reach out beyond the military sphere, also targeting the civil electromagnetic systems. Moreover, not only does the Russian doctrine assume that EW systems would be used to operationally support the specific type of combat activities (e.g. land operations), but also to carry out autonomous operations, targeted against C4ISR and fire control systems of the enemy. The Russians are willing to introduce entirely new ways of using the EW assets, including accumulated conventional-electronic and electronic strikes, with the use of UAVs.
This is the reason why, in Russia, a range of new, multi-purpose systems is being intensely introduced into the Armed Forces’ inventory, designed to “attack the enemy in every area (in space, in the air, within land and sea theatres), and within the whole depth of his positions”, along with new EW systems that would remain capable of providing security for own forces in the peacetime and during the war. These new systems, designed according to completely new principles and with the use of new technologies, along with the traditional systems, are to increase the efficiency of own forces even five-fold.
EW Organization in the Russian Army
During the in-depth reform of the Russian Armed Forces, initiated back in 2008, after the conflict in Georgia, a decision has been made to create a vertically-integrated EW system, commanded by the EW component of the Armed Forces (since August 2014, General Major Yuriy Lastochkin).
Land forces have been greatly saturated with EW assets in particular. Each of the four military districts features autonomous, four-battalion EW brigades. Extra EW units are also a part of the Arctic Motorized Brigade, and of the “Siever” [North] integrated strategic command.
Autonomous and independent EW companies have also become a part of all of the motorized and armoured brigades and land forces divisions, as well as of all brigades of the airborne [VDV] units. Whereas the Russians have assumed that the VDV units, as the first component, until the year 2020, would receive brand new EW equipment.
In the Russian Navy, the coastal EW units are grouped within autonomous EW centres organized within all four fleets. In case of the Air/Space Forces (VVS), independent EW battalions constitute a part of the individual Air and Anti-Aircraft Armies.
The officers of the EW units are being trained by the Military Aviation Engineering University (Voronezh). This University also has an R&D institute for EW embedded within its structures. Junior EW specialists, who are to work within all branches of the Russian Armed Forces, are being prepped at the general military training centre in Tambov.
On the basis of the aforesaid facility, a research company has been founded back in 2015, where the graduates of the leading technical universities of Russia serve, also working on the new EW solutions and systems. Moreover, back in 2016 the centre has also been equipped with a new integrated training solution: “Ytog”. Until the year 2018, the Russians are willing to create a special training range there, where the EW tactics training could be held in a comprehensive way.
The main document defining the EW system development in Russia, as a whole and in case of the EW units of the Russian Armed Forces in particular is the “Basics of Russian Federation Policy in the Area of EW System Development throughout the Period until the Year 2020 and in a Longer Run” paper, approved by Putin. According to the recommendations made by Putin, a “Plan for modernization of the EW system of the Russian Armed Forces, building and development of the EW units of the Russian Armed Forces within the period between 2016 and 2020” has been created, on the basis of the analysis of possible paths of development for the armament and C4ISR systems of the foreign Armed Forces until the year 2025.
The goal of the aforesaid steps is to bring the EW units to a state in which they could “effectively carry out EW missions in the peacetime, in the crisis period when aggression threat is direct and during the war” It has been assumed that effectiveness of the EW units is to be improved 2 to 2.5 times.
The head of the EW component of the Russian military has recommended that, starting from the year 2014, standing QRA duty is held at the EW units, similar to the ones held in case of the radiotechnical or air defence components. Earlier, there had been only sporadic cases in which the selected EW units have been heightening their combat readiness. At the moment, the decision is to establish a standing QRA for a specific quantity of forces and reconnaissance and countermeasure assets in all of the Military Districts and in the Northern Fleet. This is to make it possible to maintain combat readiness of the EW units, increase the level of training and prepare the soldiers to work within their areas of responsibility, at any time in varied conditions.
At the same time, steps are being taken to take care of the operational environment for the EW component. Badges and emblems have been created, military songs are being composed, the soldiers are recruited specifically to join the EW units, a bulletin is published, and specialist websites are created.
Modernization of the Russian EW Forces
Almost all of the EW equipment for the Russian Army is currently being delivered by the Radio-Electronic Technologies JSC (KRET) plant. The umbrella company mentioned above, throughout the period between 2009 and 2012, has fused most of the Russian facilities dealing with supplies of military radioelectronics. Starting from the year 2012, a complex exchange of the EW assets has begun in the Russian Army. Before that, between 2010 and 2013, state tests have been successfully completed with regards to 18 types of new EW equipment, belonging to 3+ generation (analogue systems replaced with digital ones). Simultaneously, field tests are being carried out, involving 4 and 4+ generations of the EW assets.
The army procurement plan is to be intense enough to reach the saturation level of 70% by the end of 2017, when it comes to the modern EW units equipment of the Russian Army. It shall also be remembered that a similar level, within the whole of the Russian Army, is to be reached after the year 2020. Thanks to the aforesaid policy, the EW component of the Russian Army has been using systems as follows, since the year 2015: “Borisoglebsk 2”, “Dyugonist”, “Infauna”, “Krasukha-2O”, “Krasukha-S4”, “Murmansk-BN” and “Svet-KU”. Moreover, a new variant of Mi-8MTPR-1 helicopter has been introduced, fitted with the “Richag-AV” system capable of electronically protecting own aircraft from radar-guided air defence systems within a radius of 600 kilometers.
In the meantime, “Khibiny” ECM suite has been implemented in case of the Su-34 frontline bombers, meanwhile, “Vitebsk” ECM systems have been embedded in case of the modernized Su-25SM attack aircraft. Selected components of the “Vitebsk” suite have also been installed onboard the Ka-52, Mi-28, Mi-8MT, Mi-26 and Mi-26T2 rotary-wing aircraft. In the period between 2016 and 2017 the Russian VVS has also received three Il-22PP EW/SIGINT platforms.
The naval forces are going through a very similar process. The new EW systems have been fitted onto the 20380 Project corvettes (TK-25-2 and PK-10 solutions) and 22350 Project frigates (TK-28 and “Prosvet-M” systems).
Main Objective for the Russian EW Units – Diminish the Western Military Advantage
The Russians are well aware of the advantage NATO and the US have, when it comes to the PGM (Precision Guided Munitions) tactics and capabilities. EW/ECM assets are to act as a solution, filling in the Russian Armed Forces’ capability gaps. A propaganda campaign has begun, amplifying the capabilities at hand of the Russian EW units.
On the other hand, actual actions have been undertaken, with a particular emphasis placed on provision of extra training and equipment for the EW component. This is clearly seen in the scenarios of military exercises held in Russia. “Kavkaz-2016” exercise may be used as a model example.
The intensity of the exercises is growing. Only throughout the winter period, between 2016 and 2017, more than 60 training events were held, with all of the Russian EW units being involved. According to the Russians, only such intensity allows them to train the personnel up to the combat-applicable level of skill.
At the same time, entirely new tactics are being created, with the equipment tailored to the job. Most probably, unification of the inventory would also take place, which would simplify the logistics and training. The variety of equipment used is one of the greatest problems faced by the Russian EW units. The industry is also expected to miniaturize the EW systems, with simultaneous enhancement of their combat effectiveness and range, and provision of multi-purposefulness at the same time.
Danger for the West?
It is a well known fact – the West did not place a lot of emphasis on the Electronic Warfare domain, following the end of Cold War, at least not to the extent Russia did. This was mentioned by, among other officials, General Breedlove, former European NATO commander, stating that the Pentagon, throughout the last two decades, did not focus enough on EW systems, which allowed the Kremlin to gain advantage in this area. In the US and in NATO, it was suddenly noticed that a deepening generation gap exists. If, in most of the western states, a scarcity of examples of EW equipment is purchased, in Poland procurement of such assets has been cancelled or is not even planned, the situation is entirely opposite in Russia.
Only during the year 2017, to carry out the modernization plan concerning the Armed Forces, the Russian MoD is planning to introduce 450 examples of a variety of EW systems, primarily ones that would jam radar, communications and navigation signals. The aforesaid procurement is going to include acquisition of systems such as: „Borisogliebsk-2”, „Dyugonist”, „Infauna”, „Krasukha-4S”, „Krasukha-2O”, „Lieer-3”, „Moskva-1”, „Rtuts-BM”, „Svet-KU” or „Zhytiel”. The Ministry of Defence of Russia, at the beginning of the year 2017, also announced that the Pacific Fleet has received new EW systems: „Samarkand” and „Svet-KU”.
The analysis of capabilities offered by the individual EW systems would make it possible to obtain the actual image of the gap between the NATO armies and the capabilities that could possibly be utilized by the Russians, should a conflict situation emerge.
Examples of EW Systems Utilized by the Russian Army
“Borisoglebsk-2” (RB-301B) suite [referred to as ‘complex’, if we follow the Russian terminology – translator’s note] consists of a mobile R-300KMW command and control station and up to 8 vehicles fitted with a variety of radio jammers: Р-378BMW, Р-330BMW, Р-934BMW and Р-325UMW. Using the MT-LB tracked chassis makes this system highly mobile, and it may be deployed, from marching to operational position, within 15 minutes. The whole system remains fully autonomous.
The SIGINT system embedded within the suite transfers the relevant data to the command and analysis station which, rating the signal sources, directs a proper beam of jamming signal towards the given source. The command station of the R-300KMW “complex” is manned by a crew of four. Two soldiers work as ECM operators, who, in an automated manner, control the eight jammers which may disrupt the operation of up to 30 electromagnetic signal sources.
“Borisoglebsk-2” system has been designed, primarily, with a purpose of acting against radio communications (including satellite communications) and radio-navigation systems. In comparison with the previous variants of this suite, the band of recognized and jammed frequencies has been expanded. Moreover, the process of scanning the aforesaid frequencies has been accelerated, also shortening the reaction time required to send the proper jamming signal. This has been achieved through application of an open-architecture IT network. This is also to accelerate the software development and updates.
“Dyugonist” system acts as an EM surveillance suite which is to prevent undesirable actions being taken by own forces, but also to eliminate the enemy ability to carry out active electronic operations. The system in question is often being coupled with ballistic missile batteries, providing them with a covert operational profile.
The “complex” allows the user to analyse the received radio and electronic signals within a wide range of frequencies (from 0.1 MHz, up to 18 GHz), track the signals (with accuracy ranging from 2 to 3 degrees) and position the emission sources, and also to assess the so called “electromagnetic situation”. This is used to control the operations of own forces and look for the “technical channels of information leaks”.
“Infauna” suite is used to detect and jam the enemy communications, and to protect own forces from the radio-controlled explosives. This happens through detection of the dangerous signal and jamming of that signal, by overpowering it. The system has been based on the K1SZ1 universal platform, derived from the BTR-80 APC.
“Infauna” is mainly becoming a part of the inventory of the Russian VDV airborne component. The first four examples of this suite have been handed off to the Western and Southern Military Districts at the beginning of the year 2012, with another two being delivered in 2014 and subsequent six systems received in 2015.
“Krasukha-4S” (1RL257) “complex” is a broadband mobile active jamming system, the purpose of which is to protect ground objects from being detected by AEW platforms, multifunctional radars of tactical multi-role aircraft, drone radars, ground radars and radars of the reconnaissance satellites. According to the Russians, “Krasukha-4S” remains capable of jamming such radars within a radius of 300 kilometres.
This system is also said to offer a capability to jam and disrupt the operation of the onboard systems of the AWACS and E-2 Hawkeye AEW platforms. It is said to be capable of acting against radar altimeters of cruise missiles too.
“Lieer-3” (RB-341V) system is destined to be used for reconnaissance purposes and to jam the mobile phones signal. It makes use of jammers carried by two small “Orlan-10” UAV systems, being a part of the suite.
The drones make it possible to gather the GSM-networks data, they also feature 10W jammers, allowing them to interrupt cellphone communications within a 6 km radius. The Russians assume that “Lieer-3” would also be capable of interrupting the communications in the social media which are often used to publish warning messages and information on the enemy movement.
“Moskva-1” (1L267 suite) is a system for passive radar reconnaissance detecting the aircraft radars and directing the active jamming systems towards them. Hence, the system’s operating principle is similar to the one applicable to the “Borisoglebsk-2” suite, but it acts against radars and airborne threats.
“Moskva-1” may detect airborne targets and missiles at distances of up to 400 kilometers. The suite consists of three Kamaz trucks, with 1L265 reconnaissance module, 1L266 jamming stations control point and 1L267 command point embedded within the package. The whole position may be deployed and attain combat ready status in 45 minutes. It may control up to 9 active jamming stations.
“Rtut-BM” (SPR-2M) jammer has been developed before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, as a jammer which would act against the fuses of the incoming missiles (such as the missiles of the “Grad” and “Smerch” rocket artillery systems) and artillery rounds. Initially, the system was being based on the BTR-70 APC, later the Russians have been using the BTR-80 platform. SPR-2M system differs from the SPR-2 version, as it also features an ability to act against VHF and microwave transmissions, and it is based on the MT-LB tracked platform.
In the basic mode of operation, the station acts as an activator for the radio fuses of rounds, detonating them at safe altitude, or forcing them to go from precision-guided into detonate-on-contact mode. This renders such rounds ineffective, as they explode on the ground, not above it. The Russians often present propaganda clips in which the new system creates an electromagnetic cupola, deflecting the rounds or causing them to explode.
The effectiveness of the system, with regards to the radio fuses, is to be higher than 80%, both in case of the suppressing fire, as well in case of the single shots. Thus the system is presented as an effective means of protection for command points, bridges, artillery positions and places where the forces gather. A single system, according to the Russians, is capable of providing security for an area of 500 000 square meters. A single vehicle has a two-man crew and may remain active for more than 6 hours, in a continuous manner. Deployment of the system shall not take longer than 10 minutes.
“Svet-KU” (RB-636AM2) EW system has a purpose of carrying out SIGINT activities and jamming radio and radar signals within the frequency range from 25 MHz up to 18 GHz. The system makes it possible to track a variety of emissions and calculate the source coordinates. RB-636AM2 remains capable of autonomously jamming the GSM, CDMA2000 and UMTS cellphone signals.
The system has been introduced into use back in 2012. Initially it was based on the KamAZ platforms. The manufacturer, OOO “Spetsyalniy tekhniologitsieskoy tsientr” based in St. Petersburg has also presented a variant of the system based on Ford Transit van, which is to allow the user to covertly operate even in traffic on the public roads. When the antenna array system is not extended, the car does not differ from its civilian counterparts.
The extended antenna array may be rotated in a horizontal plane which makes it possible to receive radio signals from any direction. The accuracy depends on the frequency range within which the signal is emitted. In case of the emitters operated within the range between 30 and 100 MHz, 5 degrees accuracy is achievable. For the ranges from 1 to 3 GHz, the accuracy is narrowed down to 2 degrees. The Russians have field tested this system, based on the KamAZ truck, during the operations conducted in the Eastern Ukraine (Luhansk).
“Zhitel” (R-330Zh) system consists of two elements: a wheeled platform with an operator station for the reconnaissance system (0.1-2GHz frequency range) and a trailer with emitters and antennas of the active jamming system.
According to the official information, the system’s purpose is to detect, track and jam the Inmarsat and Iridium satellite communications and GSM 1900 cellphones, and also to act against GSM navigation system utilizing the NAVSTAR satellites.
“Zhitel” may be operated autonomously or it may, alternatively, be remotely controlled by the R-330KMK station. Its range has been defined as 15 kilometres in case of the ground-system jamming and 200 kilometres, with regards to the airborne platforms.
It is not a selective-jamming system, thus activation of the station also jams own communications and navigation systems. Thus, the procedure assumes that before the emitters are turned on, a warning signal is being disseminated among own units remaining active in the nearby area. The signal that allows the friendlies to reuse own radios is transmitted through wired-communications systems or messengers.
Russian Goal – Create Strategic EW Capabilities
The aforesaid list of the ECM/EW systems is only selective, it does not give the reader a full insight in the means of electronic warfare designed for the Russian Armed Forces. For example, back in the year 2016 KRET company announced that a test programme has begun, related to a ground high power EW solution which would block the critical datalinks used by the US Army to conduct operations globally”. The aforesaid suite is to be integrated with S-300V4 or S-400 SAM systems.
The new multi-channel ECM/EW system is to make use of a number of separately arranged jamming modules. Thanks to the above, the aforesaid suite is to remain capable of jamming several separate C4ISR systems used by the enemy at long distances, with the use of a complex digital signal. Moreover, spreading and scattering the emitters within the theatre extends the suite’s survivability, as it may become a primary target for the air-strikes. Up until today, the name of this suite remains unknown.
Among the latest solutions proposed by the Russian industry, a strategic EW system has also been listed, since November 2016. The suite is to consist of numerous EW systems coupled into a single network, which would allow them to carry out combat missions more effectively, e.g. carrying out amassed electromagnetic strikes against the enemy radio communication and C4ISR solutions. According to the Russian experts, the above suite could have a decisive impact on the conflict scenario.
The Russians are willing to make use of the works on the net-centric C4ISR system which is being developed in the US. Its main element is the homogeneous ICT network which shortens the time required to pass on the information between the individual elements of the command and control system. Disruption of this structure became one of the key objectives for the Russian EW systems now.
HFGCS (High Frequency Global Communications System) is also considered to be a high value target by the Russians. This system is used by the US to control the operations of the strategic nuclear forces and of the military aviation. Should a need arise, this system may also be utilized by the US Army, US Navy and by the NATO forces. The Russians want to make use of the fact that HFGCS is operated within the frequency band ranging from 3 to 25 MHz, with specific working and reserve frequencies. They are certain then, to find an effective way to disrupt the communication within that channel.
“Murmansk-BN” system is to act as the foundation for such strategic jamming system. The said suite has been introduced back in 2014 – most probably. Its purpose is to jam the short-wave transmission at the distances of up to 5000 kilometres, making this solution one of the most powerful ECM suites when it comes to the signal power, exceeding 400 kW. The whole system is based on seven KamAZ trucks, it is not a mobile package. 72 hours of daylight are required to deploy the antenna array based on telescopic masts, the height of which reaches 32 metres.
This very system is to be the core of the ECM/EW force in Russia, amplifying the electromagnetic strike capabilities. In Russia, it is assumed that if Murmansk is deployed with the Pacific fleet, the Navy would have an ability to electronically control vast areas of the Pacific Ocean. The suites utilized by the Northern Fleet would allow the Russians to secure the Arctic region, Greenland, or even some of the Northern territories of Canada. The Russian systems, e.g. deployed to Crimea, would also be capable of reaching: Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean Basin.
A strategic EW system as such may also be used as means of deterrence, as loss of communications at strategic and operational levels may push the potential aggressor away from undertaking any combat activities.
However, the Russians are not going to remain limited down to sophisticated jamming systems that would imitate targets or take over the control over the enemy electronic systems. They are still willing to utilize crude “noise” jammers which, thanks to their high power signal emitted throughout a large range of frequencies, are to overload the receivers of the enemy electronic systems, making it impossible to separate the signal from the noise. Obviously this requires a lot of energy, which causes everything located in the vicinity of the EW station to “boil”, like in a microwave oven. However, this has never been a nuisance for the Russians, they have never cared about the complaints issued by the local populations.
The Myth of invincible Russian EW systems – the case of USS “Donald Cook”.
The Russian authorities are trying hard to create a myth of invincible EW systems, justified by major quantities of equipment owned. However, some scenarios implemented by the Russians are not ascribable to actual combat against a well organized adversary. E.g. “Lieer” drones have been used to send text messages that directed the enemy units towards the ambush areas. This type of activity may be effective against Chechen rebels or ISIS, however it remains highly dubious whether similar results would be achieved when fighting against military forces utilizing modern radio communications equipment. In such cases, the value of such system remains very minor.
The Syrian Conflict has been used by the Russians in a similar manner. The media were saturated with the information referring to reportedly limitless capacity of the EW systems utilized there. As a result, numerous articles were published in the Western press, depicting the EW advantage gained by Russia over NATO.
An entirely different approach has been adopted by the Russian authorities, with regards to the civil war in the Eastern Ukraine. Here, the Kremlin remains silent, even though the media accuse the Kremlin of making use of the said conflict as a test range for new EW systems that are not in possession of the Ukrainian Army. Meanwhile, the investigative journalists have recorded presence of the following EW systems in Luhansk and Donetsk:
- R-343UM automated detection, tracking and jamming station, operated within the frequency range between 100 and 2000 MHz;
- R-330Zh “Zhityel” automated jamming station, acting against radio systems operated within the frequency range between 100 and 2000 MHz;
- “Rtut-BM” jamming station;
- “Svet-KU” (RB-636AM2) radio and radar jamming system;
- “Borisoglebsk-2” mobile jamming station;
- “Lieer-3” EW suite.
The greatest success of the Russian EW systems is not seen in case of the applications of such solutions in Georgia, Syria or Ukraine, but rather in an EW strike against the USS “Donald Cook” missile destroyer operated in the Black Sea, on 12th April 2014. It is also a good example of the way in which the Russian propaganda operates, and of the impact it has on the Russian (and not only Russian) society.
According to the official information disseminated by the Kremlin, the Russians have been able to turn off the radar systems of the US Destroyer thanks to the active-jamming transmitter, “Khibiny”, fitted onto the Su-24 jet flying by. The event became a proof, for the Russian media, that the Russian EW/ECM systems remain advantageous, when confronted with the Western technology. It is being stressed that Su-24 made 12 flybys, without being in danger.
Moreover, the US sailors were to be reportedly scared to such an extent, that 27 decided to end their service in the US Navy. According to the Russian information, 70% of the destroyer’s crew were to resign from duty.
The Russians do not accept the fact that the electronic attack has been conducted in violation of the international law and in a situation in which it was known that the Americans are not going to respond with the armament. This would be possible anyway, as the autonomous 20 mm Phalanx AAA system may be guided not only with the use of a radar, but also utilizing an integrated optronic sensor. And even the best EW system would be useless, should a decision be taken to use the Phalanx CIWS.
The Kremlin also disregards the fact that the US destroyer remains in possession of missile systems that would keep any aircraft 100 kilometres away. Should an actual conflict be taking place, a single Su-24 jet would stand no chance of flying in direct vicinity of the US vessel.
This is even more dubious as the Arleigh Burke class ships do not stay close to the coastal area, remaining in possession of the Tomahawk missiles that have a range of around 2000 kilometres. The Russian jet, before striking the ship, would have to fly at least several hundred kilometres over the open water, which could not have been made covertly, with the AWACS platforms monitoring the airspace. The Americans were attacked, but due to lack of a conflict they could not have done anything but issuing a diplomatic note (which was ignored anyway).
On the other hand, the fact that the US sailors have resigned, following a Russian EW attack, is dubious, as 62 destroyers as the one attack are still in active duty. No information emerged that such ships would be withdrawn due to personnel problems. However, the slogan is catchy, yet again convincing the Russian media audiences of the might of the Federation.
Nonetheless, this is not the sole example of the Russian EW systems achieving successes. According to the Russian media, as the Su-30 and Su-34 jest appeared in Syria, the “Turkish NATO partners have withdrawn their Patriot systems from Turkey”. The Patriot systems, as the Russians suggest, faced a fate similar to Donald Cook – they were blinded. However, the official reason for the Patriots being withdrawn from Turkey was different, as the level of ballistic missile threat has gone down, at least in case of the Syrian territory drowning in the civil war. Secondly, the elements belonging to the individual states, remaining on duty for more than 2 years, were burdened with work.
One should be aware that until a serious conflict breaks out, the Russians may use their systems only against own communication and command solutions. If the EW units successfully accomplish some mission, this translates into weak capabilities of the Russian C4ISR suites. And still, no data is available as to how effective the jamming would be, when applied against the western solutions, especially the latest ones.
In no case though the Russian solutions shall be neglected. It is not very probable that the costly EW systems are introduced into the inventory of the Army solely for propaganda purposes. “Krasukha-4S” system’s price is said to have reached RUB 125.2 million per a single example, back in 2013. And 18 such systems were obtained by the Russian forces in the period between 2014 and 2015. Meanwhile, introduction of nine “Moskva-1” C4ISR systems until the end of 2016 came with a price tag of 3.5 billion roubles.
Virtually no combat EW/ECM systems have been acquired in Poland in the meantime. No widely known concept for development of EW systems has been created, similar to the one approved by Vladimir Putin a few years ago. The fact that a relevant document has been signed by the President should be enough to gain the attention of the decision-makers, especially when it comes to the importance of the EW doctrine.