Electronic Warfare in Contemporary Russian Military Thought

Russian Krasukha-4 electronic warfare system (Source: TopWar.ru)

Executive Summary

As Russian electronic warfare (EW) officers assert, depending on the nature of the specific operations and armed conflict, the main aims of EW are: “to degrade an adversary’s C2 [command and control] of forces and weapons; reduce the effectiveness of an adversary’s intelligence gathering and use of weapons; [and] to maintain resilience in command and control of own forces and weapons.”

Russia’s EW Forces are present throughout the Armed Forces, in the Ground Forces, Aerospace Forces, Military-Maritime Fleet, Strategic Rocket Forces, as well as the Airborne Forces. However, the Ground Forces are the leading advocate of EW in the Russian military.

A vital role in the development and technological modernization of the EW Forces is played by the Russian domestic defense industry. In 2009, the existing disparate group of domestic defense industry companies working on manufacturing EW systems underwent vertical integration into Kontsern Radioelektronic Tekhnologii (KRET), a member of Rostec.

Russia’s EW Forces benefit from extensive training; they conduct tactical and operational-tactical exercises, in addition to participating in Russia’s annual operational-strategic exercises. Russian exercises have featured the involvement of the EW Forces across a broad range of activities, ranging from air defense through to providing combat support for ground defense and counter-offensives for the Ground Forces and embedded in rehearsed strikes and maneuvers by all service branches and arms of service.

The head of the EW Forces, Lieutenant General Yury Lastochkin, elaborates the innovative priorities for EW development in the State Armaments Program to 2027: “Increasing the level of information security for EW C2 through the use of big data technology in the automation systems of the EW Forces in strategic and operational levels; using geographic information systems in all modern EW models, which will reduce the time for conducting operational-tactical calculations by three to five times; practically implementing artificial intelligence technologies based on neural networks, which makes it possible to double the completeness and reliability of operating in the EMS (electromagnetic spectrum); introducing communication technologies with integration into a single unified digital communication system of the Armed Forces for the organization of continuous data exchange in all control levels; increasing the reliability of the storage of operational information within the EW automation systems and providing a time-synchronized unified information space based on cloud technologies; applying virtual and augmented reality technologies in EW simulators to improve the quality and reduce the time for training EW specialists; and developing the means of imitation of the radio-electronic situation and the introduction of disinformation into the control system of enemy troops and weapons.”

Russian EW systems were deployed and tested in Ukraine and Syria. However, unlike in Ukraine, the use of EW systems in Syria afforded broader opportunities to test these in the context of high-technology opponents, albeit indirectly, also adding aircraft and air-based EW systems into the mix. Russia’s military operations in Syria, which commenced in late September 2015, were designated by the defense ministry as an “aerospace operation” and, therefore, largely restricted to air strikes and close air support for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), though also involving limited on-the-ground support both for Russian Special Forces and military advisors involved in the training of SAA units; this necessitated EW support.

Since late 2015, Russian EW specialists have advocated a marked change to the status of the EW Forces within the Russian military structure. Although the EW Forces, as already noted, function throughout the branches and arms of service in a combat support role, leading Russian EW officers have for years been promoting the idea that the EW Forces should be upgraded to the status of an independent arm of service

Russian EW systems presented challenges for the United States’ air platforms operating in an EMS-contested environment in Syria. Russian EW systems can jam and disrupt US and other North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries’ command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) processes, which has been amply demonstrated in Syria. In fact, these Russian EW systems are not only capable of disrupting US/NATO C4ISR, disorganizing C2, and jamming sensors and C2 nodes, they were designed to do precisely this. As such, the longer-term modernization of Russia’s EW Forces will pose significant challenges to US and NATO defense planning.

 

Introduction

Russia’s conventional Armed Forces have transitioned from Soviet-legacy forces into a modernized, compact and combat capable military within a relatively short period following the reforms launched in the fall of 2008.[1] This complex and challenging process has been characterized by a movement away from Soviet force structures and reliance upon the massive use of mobilized personnel to form more flexible, mobile forces capable of conducting military operations in an informationized operational environment.[2] One of the many features of this military modernization involving greater exploitation of advanced and modern technologies is in evidence in the area of electronic warfare (EW). Though electronic warfare capability played a role in Soviet military thought, with more recent digitization and the overall drive to meet the challenges of warfare in the information era, it has re-emerged as a significant tool in the array of Russian conventional military capabilities.[3] In an informationized operational environment, electronic warfare should be regarded as the warfighting discipline within the Electromagnetic Environment (EME). The EME interweaves through all operational domains and, as a consequence, underpins the informationized environment.[4] Russia’s operational weaknesses in the course of the Russo-Ukrainian War in 2022 caused many to question advances in Russian military capability. However, the lack of use of advanced EW assets in the initial period of war and the lack of consistent and integrated EW exploitation during the prosecution of the war was especially mystifying.

Nonetheless, this paper explores how the Russian General Staff and senior military commanders perceive the meaning and role of electronic warfare in the modern and future battlespace. It, therefore, addresses the place of EW in contemporary Russian military thought, its significance across a range of capabilities and how this might further evolve. Consequently, the paper raises a number of interlinked questions: How do Russian defense planners and executives within its defense industry think about electronic warfare, and what are the meanings or concepts used to frame the discussions occurring within the body of professional military literature? Are there distinctions between the role of EW in Soviet military thought and how it is viewed in contemporary theory and force planning? How has the role of this capability developed in Russia’s experience of war, and are patterns or trends identifiable that may offer insight into the likely future trajectory of EW? How are Russia’s modern electronic warfare forces structured and trained? It is also valuable to consider examples of their systems, both in service and prototypes to establish priority areas for force development: How have these advances been tested and experimented with during combat operations in Ukraine and Syria? What is the likely long-term role for EW capability in the Russian Armed Forces’ structure and defense planning in the longer term?[5]

It should be stressed at the outset that EW in contemporary Russian military thought and defense planning plays a combat support role, though senior officers are lobbying for this to be elevated to an independent combat arm.[6] As such, EW capability within the structure of Russia’s conventional Armed Forces is located in a variety of supporting roles. For example, it is critically tied to air defense both at strategic and operational-tactical levels. Electronic warfare also plays a key part in the Russian military’s use of fires, especially in artillery. Moreover, conceptually, Russian EW is linked to a much broader swathe of capabilities, such as information warfare or information confrontation, or even cyber warfare. It plays such an omnipresent role in Russian military operations that disentangling it from the structures or systems it supports can prove to be challenging. Russian EW capability equally feeds into the development in recent years of the application of existing theory on network-centric operations to the implementation of these informationized capabilities.[7]

The following analysis of Russian electronic warfare capability will examine the definition, history and its role; outline the structure and training of Russia’s contemporary EW Forces; illustrate examples of modern and future systems; present the testing and refinement of this capability in operational environments in Ukraine and Syria; and finally describe the discussion among senior Russian officers on the possible future upgrading of the service to a combat arm in its own right.

In any analysis of a specific element in overall military capability, there is always the risk of giving an impression that it plays a game-changing role. To avoid this, throughout the following study it must be borne in mind that EW in contemporary Russian military thought is assigned the role of combat support; it provides important supporting features to the combat arms either individually depending on the type of operation, or in network-centric operations functioning in a non-platform-centric mode.[8] Even if it evolves in the future into a full-fledged combat arm, EW within the Russian military system would continue to provide combat support especially to the branches of service: the Ground Forces, Aerospace Forces (Vozdushno Kosmicheskikh Sil—VKS) and Military-Maritime Fleet (Voyenno-Morskoy Flot—VMF). Its emergence within the swathe of conventional Russian military capabilities essentially squares the circle and confirms the assertion by Soviet Admiral Sergei Gorshkov in 1973: “The next war will be won by the side that best exploits the electromagnetic spectrum.”[9]

EW lies at the heart of a core group of highly advanced Russian military capabilities that were not consistently or fully exploited in the war in Ukraine in 2022. This was hampered by Moscow’s political decision to classify the intervention in Ukraine as a “special military operation,” meaning the Russian military was fighting at peacetime strength rather than employing the manpower or approaches required by large-scale warfare. The reasons for the General Staff not factoring into operational planning the wider and integrated usage of high-tech military capabilities are unknown. However, given the level of destruction and targeting of civilian and economic infrastructure, the overall operational design may have involved eschewing the use of such advanced capabilities. If the destruction of a nation and its statehood was the aim, high-technologies—including EW—may not have been deemed a priority.

 

Definition, History and the Role of Electronic Warfare

Russia’s Armed Forces have long had an interest in exploiting electronic warfare for combat operations. Originating in the tsarist era, during the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), this growing element of modern warfare later gained increasing interest and influence in Soviet military thought and practice.[10] More recently, following the deep and systemic reform of the Armed Forces launched in the aftermath of the August 2008 Russian-Georgian War, complemented by consistent state investment in military modernization, this level of interest among Russia’s defense and military planning staffs has developed exponentially. Indeed, electronic warfare has become one of the factors defining Russia’s modern military power.[11] In order to understand these processes, along with the exploitation of advanced technologies applied to its further development, it is helpful to explore the definition of the term in the Russian military lexicon as well as how it is perceived by Russian specialists and serving officers. Equally instructive is to examine electronic warfare’s historical formation and expanding role in contemporary Russian military thought along with its contribution to overall military capability.[12]

The term itself, electronic warfare (radioelektronnaya bor’ba —REB), is much more complicated to define as an aspect of military operations and capability than would appear at first glance. Given advances in modern technologies and approaches to the conduct of military operations, the term acquires an inherent elasticity that reflects changes in the threat landscape, shifts in Russian thinking on the role of electronic warfare, and ongoing efforts to modernize these assets. In Russian, the term radioelektronnaya bor’ba more literally translates as “radio-electronic combat [or ‘struggle’],” clearly reflecting the origin of the phrase in the early 20th century, during Russia’s military operations against Japan and the need to monitor and disrupt radio signals.[13] While radioelektronnaya bor’ba (REB) is the correct Russian term, in the interests of simplicity and clarity, the English abbreviation for electronic warfare (EW) will be used throughout this paper.

The need for some awareness of the specifics of the term and how it is used in published works and discussions among Russia’s EW officers and specialists is more than simply semantic. Within the corpus of specialist literature, Russian EW officers frequently go into detail on the content of the meaning and conceptual understanding of EW; this finds its roots in the changing character of modern warfare, as noted, and the Armed Forces’ transitioning into informationized and increasingly network-enabled approaches toward warfare.[14] The attention to such detail by Russia’s leading EW specialists means that they use this as a mechanism within which to convey their ideas and theories about how EW may be better exploited in the future; it also has important ramifications for how the military, defense ministry leadership and the domestic defense industry involved in manufacturing EW systems all communicate with each other and share some level of common understand about the complexity of the issues and tasks at hand.[15] What follows, therefore, is specific to Russia’s Armed Forces, and most likely will not quite fit or precisely match expectations or professional understanding among non-Russian EW specialists.

At the outset, in the official definition in Voyennyy Entsiklopedicheskiy Slovar’ (Military Encyclopedic Dictionary), the term radioelektronnaya bor’ba (REB/EW) is presented as a type of armed struggle using electronic means against enemy command, control, communications, computers intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems to “change the quality of information,” or using electronic means against various assets to change the conditions of the operational environment. EW consists of “suppression” and “protection,” and it aims to “reduce the effectiveness” of enemy forces, including command and control (C2) and its use of weapons. It targets enemy communications and reconnaissance by changing the “quality and speed” of information processes. In defense, EW protects such assets and those of friendly forces.[16]

Prior to exploring the existing official definitions in more detail, it is worth considering other attempts to define the term by non-military specialists. In 2015, for example, the reputable Moscow-based independent think tank the Center for Strategies and Technologies (CAST) published a book on Russian EW, which as its basis outlined the meaning of the term. In that study, EW was presented as a series of activities taken to gather intelligence, suppress enemy radio and optical electronic assets and systems, and/or protect friendly radio and optical electronic assets/systems. It also offers the view that EW is essentially a conflict interaction of information systems or conflict in the information space. Throughout the book Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Ot eksperimentov proshlogo do reshayushchego fronta budushchego, (Electronic Warfare: From the Experiments of the Past to the Future Decisive Front), published by CAST in 2015, a much narrower definition was used: namely that EW is essentially warfare in the radio wave spectrum.[17]

The immediate issue presented in this definition is its restriction to the radio wave spectrum only. Yet, as noted in the professional publications by serving Russian EW officers, there is dissatisfaction with even the more detailed definition in Voyennyy Entsiklopedicheskiy Slovar’. Indeed, this official definition of EW is relatively detailed, an extract from which reads:

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 [own] 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.

At present, electronic warfare is a complex of coordinated measures and actions of troops carried out in order to: reduce the effectiveness of C2 of enemy troops and weapons, ensure the specified effectiveness of C2 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 C2 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, military facilities and actions of troops from technical means of reconnaissance of foreign states (the enemy) by ensuring specified requirements for information and information processes in automated control systems, communications and intelligence, as well as the properties of electronic media.[18]

The complexity involved and the need for coordination with the domestic defense industry has prompted discussion among Russia’s serving EW officers. In 2017, EW specialist officers Colonel V. F. Guzenko and Colonel A. L. Morarescu considered the term EW in the context of the need for clarity among defense planners and the defense industry, publishing Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Sovremennoye soderzhaniye (Electronic Warfare: Terms and Definitions). The authors noted ongoing work on defining as well as rethinking the “essence and content” of EW in modern conditions and its role and place in the Armed Forces. Guzenko and Morarescu noted,

Since 2014, the revision of statutory documents on electronic warfare in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation has continued and shown the practice of charter-creative work is a creative and constant process. Indeed, the development and clarification of terminology, basic use of EW forces and means has been going on for a long time, discussions and disputes on this problem (sometimes hot and sharp) are still going on. And there are reasons for this: the enemy, the objects of influence and accordingly, the tasks of electronic warfare are changing, a new area of confrontation—the information and telecommunications space, new equipment with completely different, unconventional principles of work and application.[19]

Their article was prompted by discussions related to proposed changes to draft amendments to the GOST RV 0158-022: Elektronnaya voyna. Terminy i opredeleniya (Electronic Warfare: Terms and Definitions). The national GOSTs (Gosstandartov RF: GOST R) function in Russia as state standards to regulate quality and production of products. The GOST in question, passed in July 2009, of course relates directly to the manufacturing of EW systems. As the authors noted: “The content of the GOST is a common language for the military and industry, the basis for the terminology of the developed statutory documents on electronic warfare.”[20] Draft change No. 2 in GOST RV 0158-002, reads:

Electronic warfare is a set of coordinated measures and actions on electronic damage radio-electronic/information-technical objects of the enemy, radio-electronic protection of their radio-electronic/information-technical objects, counteraction to technical means of reconnaissance of the enemy, as well as radio-electronic information support.[21]

Guzenko and Morarescu describe this as “cumbersome.” The authors also provide other short definitions used for statutory documents: “Electronic warfare (EW): a set of agreed actions and actions of troops (forces) for electronic destruction of enemy radio-electronic objects, electronic protection of their radio-electronic objects, as well as countering technical means of enemy reconnaissance.” And in another example: “Electronic warfare includes: electronic destruction, electronic protection, counteraction to technical means of enemy reconnaissance and electronic information support of measures and actions in electronic warfare.” These differences are caused by “information and technical objects with which the forces and means of electronic warfare operate are of a radio-electronic nature, therefore, information-technical objects are also understood as radio-electronic objects,” and, “the component of electronic warfare electronic ‘information support’ is removed from the general definition, in order, firstly, to emphasize its internal role in relation to the organization and the conduct of electronic warfare, and, secondly, to prevent misunderstandings by commanders about the essence of electronic information support, equating the latter to intelligence.”[22]

Guzenko and Morarescu conclude by suggesting a modern interpretation of EW should distinguish between offensive (electronic attack) and defensive actions (essentially playing a supporting role). The latter is further broken down into constituent components: electronic protection and countermeasures to technical enemy means (radio-electronic information support, providing a component of EW). In this regard, EW has two parts: the first includes the actions of forces and means of EW to disorganize enemy command and control; and the second includes actions by EW forces for the implementation of a set of measures for electronic protection and countermeasures against the technical means of reconnaissance by foreign states.[23]

Finally, a more workable definition of the term EW can be found in an article by leading Russian EW serving officers in April 2021 in the General Staff journal Voyennaya Mysl’:

Electronic warfare is a type of combat (operational) support, a set of coordinated measures and actions of troops (forces) for electronic destruction of enemy radio-electronic objects, radio-electronic protection of their radio-electronic objects, as well as countering the enemy’s technical reconnaissance means. Electronic warfare includes: electronic defeat, electronic protection, counteraction to technical means of reconnaissance of the enemy, [and] electronic information support.[24] Electronic warfare is organized and conducted in order to disorganize the C2 of enemy troops (forces) and weapons, reducing the effectiveness of his reconnaissance and the use of weapons and ensuring sustainable control of his troops (forces) and weapons.[25]

Russia’s EW Forces trace their roots to 1904 and the defense of Port Arthur against Japan; April 15 is celebrated every year as EW Forces Day. Of course, intercepting telegraph signals stemmed from the earlier development of using telegraph signals in warfare in the latter nineteenth century. Later, the Soviet EW forces were critically used as support elements in many of the major battles of the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945) and featured in the use of radio-detonated mines in Kiev, Odessa, Orsha and Kharkiv.[26] In 1956, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) formed its first communications, radar, and radio-navigation jamming battalions throughout all branches of the Armed Forces.[27] It was not until the 1970s, though, that EW matured into a top-grade type of operational (combat) support for full-scale operations and low-level combat actions, evolving in its role from occasional supporting actions, such as jamming of selected enemy radars, to that of an operational mainstay of combat support provided by a group of EW units to suppress enemy electronic assets and systems in operations or engagements. Indeed, by the 1970s, Soviet EW had matured into a higher-level combat support capability, building on its earlier role in occasional supporting actions to forming an organic EW force to suppress enemy electronic assets and systems in operations or engagements.[28]

Russia’s military interest in the area of EW was stimulated by analyses in the 1990s of the use of EW by the United States and its coalition partners in the First Gulf War in 1991. Numerous studies by Russian General Staff officers in the 1990s covered the EW usage by the US military in 1991. In the earliest action in Operation Desert Storm on January 1, 1991, US Air Forces EF-111A and US Navy/Marine Corps EA-6B aircraft, supported by EC-130s, used noise and deception jamming signals to block Iraq’s communications frequencies.[29] The late Jacob W. Kipp observed this pattern in an article in 1997. And in the latter 1990s, leading Russian military theorists were paying attention to the role of EW as a force multiplier long before that field came to be viewed this way in official defense circles in Moscow.[30] As Russian military theorists and defense scholars grappled with the development of network-centric warfare and C4ISR integration in foreign militaries, the role played by EW formed an integral part of their thinking.[31]

Network-centric warfare came to be seen as a vital force multiplier and a means to instigate deeper and meaningful military transformation; an essential element in this approach involves EW. Its origins, of course, lie in late-Soviet military theory and the proponents of the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), championed by Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, the chief of the Soviet General Staff between 1977 and 1984.[32] What changed since the 2008 Armed Forces reform is that the Russian political-military leadership has implemented these theoretical approaches toward future warfare, becoming more receptive to alternative perspectives on how information is changing the character of war and transforming the battlespace.[33]

The recent historical impetus to reform the EW Forces is tied to the experience of smaller conflicts in the operational experience of Russia’s Armed Forces since the dissolution of the USSR in 1991. In the first campaign in Chechnya (1994–1996), large EW Forces were deployed under the control of an operational intelligence group from the joint force command. However, the Russian EW Forces’ core issue came from within the military units themselves. By the end of 1994, in the Ground Forces there was not even one fully staffed EW unit; to conduct operations, units were formed using inadequately trained personnel. During the initial assault at the end of 1994, EW Forces operated behind the battle formations of advancing troops, within a battalion tactical group or regiment. In addition to conducting signals intelligence (SIGINT), the EW Forces suppressed enemy tactical communications while on the advance, during active battles, and during the storming of Grozny. As a result of the use of small EW maneuver groups at the platoon level, which functioned within battle formations or at checkpoints, this approach became the normal tactical application of Russian EW Forces in Chechnya.[34]

However, based on the operational experience of using EW in the first Chechnya campaign, the following defects were identified:

  • A lack of fully manned EW units;
  • A low level of tactical readiness of EW assets;
  • The absence of automated control points and a lack of direction-finding systems;
  • A low level of reliability of jamming stations;
  • Complications with equipment while conducting EW on the march;
  • An absence of radio-electronic assets to suppress space-based and cellular communications.[35]

Prior to launching the second campaign in August 1999, an unsuccessful effort was made to reequip the EW Forces with modern equipment. Foreign models were bought and domestic development and adaptation was deemed part of the solution. Financial constraints at the beginning of the second conflict resulted in the forces having much the same equipment as during the first campaign. While technological advances were lacking, there were changes to the use of the EW Forces, making their deployment more effective. Ground Forces’ EW units, interior troops and other agencies more closely coordinated their actions. In 1999, within the 58th Combined Army, was formed the 831st EW Command Center, which had an RP-330KP experimental automated EW command post, simplifying the C2 of subordinate EW units. A unified EW force and equipment group was formed of 20 maneuver groups from 17 EW units, 84 radio intercept posts, 15 direction-finding posts, and 76 jamming posts.[36]

EW Forces located Chechen broadcasting locations and suppressed them, to include attempting to jam the powerful television transmitter in Grozny. A jamming helicopter was used against the transmitter with limited results. More success was found against transmitters in border areas. As opposed to 1996, EW units were able to identify and suppress city communication centers during the 1999–2000 storming of Grozny. The disruption of communication led to the loss of centralized command and control among the Chechen forces. The use of direction-finding assets for targeting was more complicated. Frequently, artillery strikes were conducted in accordance with established coordinates, without the input of additional intelligence assets and without proper fire control or correction.[37] Although Russia’s EW Forces gained invaluable experience in the Chechen wars, they were mainly applied against civilian and commercial communications systems that were being used by inexperienced operators. Chechnya did not permit EW Forces to operate against anti-air defense systems, precision munitions, automated C2 systems, airborne warning and control system (AWACS) aircraft, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), which are all typical tasks of modern EW forces.

Moreover, the Russian Armed Forces’ lack-luster performance in the August 2008 Russian-Georgian War served to confirm that Moscow still possessed an under-funded and inadequately trained Soviet legacy force ill-suited to conducting modern operations. Many of the tasks performed by Russia’s EW Forces in the conflicts in Chechnya were in evidence in the conflict in Georgia. During the ground operation in South Ossetia, two maneuver groups were employed from the 1077th independent EW battalion of the 19th motorized rifle division. The EW groups, whose total personnel numbered 49 troops, were embedded into the battalion tactical groups of the 135th and 693rd motorized rifle regiments; these were the first to advance into the territory of South Ossetia after the conflict began. The small number of air-based EW assets were late in coming in comparison with the ground-based groups. Only after losing five aircraft did the operation to suppress Georgia’s air defenses begin, using EW helicopters and planes intended to provide collective self-defense against aircraft. These air-based EW assets countered civilian and military radars in Gori, Marneuli, Tbilisi and Senaki. On August 10, the Russian air force began conducting anti-radiation missile strikes to destroy the radars around Gori and Tbilisi that prevented the use of Georgia’s Buk and Osa anti-air missile systems.[38]

Airborne EW assets were also deployed above the main Caucasus Mountain range in the border area with South Ossetia and over the Black Sea south of Abkhazia. An-12PPs flew ahead during airstrikes to protect Russian formations as well as patrolled the skies for 12–16 hours daily. Jamming helicopters hovered overhead practically on a permanent basis. During the course of the conflict, at least two of the new pre-production models of the Su-34 tactical bomber were deployed. The Su-34 proved effective at suppressing anti-air systems and conducting electronic surveillance. Moreover, the primary task of this jet was protection of the aviation combat formations with its onboard Khibiny EW system. It is not known whether the more powerful suspension pod unit for group defense was used or if it was the wing-tip system. Nonetheless, compared to the weak ground-based EW Forces and the dated equipment installed on previous-generation aircraft, the Su-34 proved a serious asset against Georgia’s anti-air defense systems.[39] It is against this background that the Russian EW Forces’ operational roles in more recent conflicts, in Ukraine and Syria, have demonstrated a remarkable transformation in capability, equipment and professionalism, attained in a comparatively short period due to the reform effort.

To provide an overview and insight into how this increased level of General Staff attention to building and enhancing EW capability has flowered in recent years, especially within Russian military thought, it is beneficial to briefly consider some of the themes covered in professional publications by serving Russian EW officers. In addition to Russian military EW specialists publishing in the leading professional journals such as Voyennaya Mysl’ (Military Thought), Vestnik AVN (Bulletin of the Academy of Military Sciences) or Armeyskiy Sbornik (Army Digest) among others, a collection of highly specialized articles appeared since 2013 in an annual online format: Radioelektronnaya bor’ba v Vooruzhennykh Silakh Rossiyskoy Federatsii (Electronic Warfare in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation). However, the most recent issue of the annual Radioelektronnaya bor’ba v Vooruzhennykh Silakh Rossiyskoy Federatsii was published in 2019, and it is unclear as to why the collection has ceased publication.[40]

Nonetheless, its annual collections of articles offer invaluable insights into the emerging and future areas of development for Russia’s EW forces and capabilities. In order to offer a flavor of these, the following overview is provided of some of the main issues and themes explored by Russian EW specialists in the 2019 publication. These included the EW research and testing institute serving as the scientific foundation of EW; the role and place of EW in the air-defense forces; the 3rd Central Research Institute of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation; problematic issues of EW at the strategic level; robotization of the armed forces of leading foreign countries; reducing the visibility of weapons, military and special equipment in various physical fields; military-scientific support of R&D as an element in the life cycle management of electronic warfare equipment; the system for testing complexes of electronic jamming of radio communications and radio navigation; information support for the management of the use of the radio frequency spectrum and ensuring electromagnetic compatibility in the Armed Forces; the main aspects of the organization of automated control of EW systems; modern trends in the development of EW systems with space data relay systems.[41]

While these sources offer unique insight into the nature of analysis and discussion among the Russian Armed Forces’ EW specialists, the search for wider context and exploration of how EW is perceived by the leading service personnel is cast much wider within the body of Russian military literature. Undoubtedly, there has been an upsurge in the quantity and quality of published analysis on Russian EW since the reform of the Armed Forces that began in 2008. The EW leadership and Russian military theorists specializing in EW have in particular chosen the journal of Voyennaya Mysl’ to express their views regarding the development, role and future of EW in Russia’s growing conventional military capabilities. Voyennaya Mysl’ was undoubtedly consciously selected as the platform for their writings to influence this publication’s General Staff readership. Nonetheless, while that journal serves as a key platform for Russian EW specialists to advance and disseminate their views, other outlets in the Russian military media are also in use. And it is among this corpus of Russian military publications that the perspectives and aspirations of the Russian EW leadership and main military theorists are found, most notably on two critical issues: the role of EW in modern military operations and the future continued elevation of EW within Russia’s informationized Armed Forces.

In comparison with the other officers in leadership posts in the branches and arms of service or in support roles such as the Missile and Artillery Troops (Raketnyye Voyska i Artilleriya—RV&A) or Ground Forces Air Defense Forces (Voyska Protivovozdushnoy Oborony Sukhoputnye Voiska—PVO SV), the chief of the EW Forces, Lieutenant General Yury Lastochkin, has proved quite prolific in his published output, covering a broad range of themes in relation to Russian EW and its role both in supporting combat operations and in contemporary military thought.[42] In an interview in April 2020 with the defense ministry’s Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), Lastochkin linked Russian EW directly to informationizing the Armed Forces and the information and telecommunications space emerging as a new conflict area:

Modern military operations are characterized by the widespread use of a whole range of combat information and control systems operating in a single information and telecommunication space, the counteraction of which determines the leading role of electronic warfare in modern armed conflicts… [the] emergence of a new area of confrontation—the information and telecommunications space—significantly expands the range of tasks of EW Forces and means and puts the methods of their use among the most important measures for the comprehensive support of the actions of groupings of troops (forces) in modern conditions. At the same time, the role of electronic warfare at the present stage is determined by its potential capabilities in electronic suppression of information transmission channels, the introduction of “intelligent” interference into automated control systems of enemy troops and weapons; electronic protection of information of its technical means of transmission and processing of data from destruction, distortion, intelligence and information leakage through technical channels; comprehensive technical control of the effectiveness of measures to counter enemy technical means and electronic protection of their troops (forces).[43]

Lastochkin, of course, was not isolated in expressing such a symbiotic relationship between information warfare (informatsionnaya voyna) or information confrontation (informatsionnoye protivoborstvo) and the role of EW in Russian military thought. Western specialists on the Russian military have also identified such linkages.[44] For example, Carolina Vendil Pallin, a researcher in the Russia program at the Swedish Defense Research Agency (FOI) in Stockholm, states that Russia “sees information warfare as an integrated entity, where propaganda, electronic warfare and IT operations are all used simultaneously.”[45]

Such a critical linkage is also expressed as the foundation of an article by a group of Russian EW officer researchers at the Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare Department in the Military Academy of Army Air Defense in Smolensk. Colonel G. V. Konstantinov, Lieutenant Colonel A. V. Chizhankov and Lieutenant Colonel I. A. Shishechkin explained,

The experience of armed conflicts in recent years shows that one of the characteristic features of modern armed confrontation is its actual beginning long before active hostilities. At the same time, the achievement of information superiority[46] over the enemy and dominance in the information space are becoming the most important conditions for the successful resolution of conflict as a whole. According to the views of military experts in the militaries of the United States and NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] countries, gaining information superiority is possible largely due to the implementation of the concept of conducting information operations.[47]

An additional symbiotic relationship exists between EW and air defense. This relates to all areas of air defense, to include strategic, operational and tactical levels. EW assets are a vital feature, therefore, in the Air Defense Forces (Voyska Protivovozdushnoy Oborony—PVO) and the Ground Forces Air Defense Forces (Voyska Protivovozdushnoy Oborony—VPVO). Colonel Yu. Ye. Donskov, Colonel A. S. Korobeynikov and Lieutenant Colonel O. G. Nikitin trace 100 years of development in air defense and EW as elements in Ground Forces combat power (Figure 1), clearly linking both aspects of modern warfare as complementary.[50]

Figure 1: Comparative Development of Air Defense and EW Forces in a Joint Ground Force

As the authors observe, unlike artillery, air defense and EW are comparatively new additions to the array of military capabilities. Donskov, Korobeynikov and Nikitin also argue that unlike the air-defense forces, EW has not clearly emerged as a supporting structure for combat operations in the same way:

The definition of the purpose fulfilled by Air Defense (defending against strikes by an aerial enemy and protecting friendly Ground Forces and ground assets from air strikes) makes special mention of the Air Defense Forces’ aerial targets—the enemy’s aerial attack weapons that can launch single, multiple, and concentrated strikes against troops and assets in the friendly Ground Forces’ area of operations. Understandably, development of this modern component of the forces’ combat power, in particular, has largely given the current status to the Ground Forces’ Air Defense arm and set its future course.[51]

Although the authors focused primarily upon the role of EW in the Ground Forces, the VKS has arguably thought more comprehensively about the role of EW in strategic air defenses. The authors clearly see linkages between air defense and EW, but they appear to perceive the latter as the poor cousin in this relationship, implying that air defense and EW require rebalancing. Such linkages, serving to effectively weave EW into the fabric of Russian military capabilities, provide a basis and context within which to further examine the role and conceptual utilization of these niche assets.

Figure 2: Russian Concept of Electronic Warfare[52]

Conceptually, Russia’s EW Forces divide into three elements: electronic-information support, electronic attack (EA) and electronic protection (EP). As US Lieutenant Colonel Charles K. Bartles and Lester W. Grau note, there is also a close linkage between EW and artillery and signals intelligence (SIGINT). In electronic-information support (Figure 2), there is, in addition to a SIGINT element, communications intelligence (COMINT), electronic intelligence (ELINT), and measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT).[53] Electronic strike (electronic fire) can be further classified

by the amount of force used—single, group, massive; the number and types of suppressed objects—concentrated, selective, concentrated-selective; the time of the strike—the first, second, subsequent; according to the sequence of attack or suppression by radio-electronic means—simultaneous, sequential; according to the tasks being solved—tactical, operational, strategic; by the type of means of destruction used or suppression—information (jamming), power, information-power, information-psychological.[54]

Radioelektronnaya bor’ba in contemporary Russian military discussion, thus, acknowledges a transition to the modern information environment in which its military will operate in the electromagnetic space (EMS). This extends well beyond a narrower definition of operating only in radio wavelengths. The primary targets for the EW Forces are radio and cellular communications, radars, enemy electronic systems as well as adversary EW capabilities. Consequently, EW suppresses or protects, depending on attack or defense, targeting the following:

  • C4ISR;
  • Location and target distribution systems;
  • Fire control;
  • Computers;
  • Utility/network systems.[55]

Moreover, before anything can be suppressed, it first has to be intercepted; this depends on the success of SIGINT using ELINT or COMINT, with intelligence data received through Electronic Support (ES). Once identified, it can be suppressed, neutralized or destroyed through targeted Electronic Attack (EA). To defend these systems, Electronic Protection (EP) is employed. Consequently, EW is integrated with other technical intelligence assets functioning within the EMS. A close relationship exists between SIGINT and EW; and within Russian military EW units, they also perform an additional SIGINT function. Close links between SIGINT, air defense, artillery and EW was striking in Russia’s operations in southeastern Ukraine .[56] Russian EW units protect artillery systems from enemy targeting and closely coordinate with SIGINT to trigger action by either air-defense or artillery units; tactical Russian EW systems are used in artillery targeting.

As Russian EW officers assert, depending on the nature of the specific operations and armed conflict, the main aims of EW are:

  • To degrade an adversary’s C2 of forces and weapons;
  • Reduce the effectiveness of an adversary’s intelligence gathering and use of weapons; and
  • To maintain resilience in command and control of own forces and weapons.[57]

To summarize, the main role of EW in contemporary Russian military thought includes the following:

  • Detection and electronic destruction of radio-electronic objects of the enemy’s C2 and reconnaissance systems, including radio, optoelectronic and acoustic suppression, functional damage by electromagnetic radiation, damage with homing weapons for radiation, and imitation of the radio-electronic situation;
  • Electronic protection of its electronic facilities, including the coordinated distribution, assignment and use of operating frequencies, ensuring the electromagnetic compatibility of their electronic systems;
  • Counteraction of technical means of reconnaissance by the enemy; and
  • Control over the implementation of the activities of electronic protection and the technical means of reconnaissance.[58]

Figure 3: Role of Electronic Warfare[59]

A number of factors also conflate to promote the further growth of the importance and relevance of EW in Russia’s conventional military capabilities (Figure 3). As Lastochkin notes,

The potential role of electronic warfare is growing significantly in combat actions today and will keep increasing in the future. The explanation is that the new stage of the revolution in science and engineering initiated by the massive employment of electronic assets and computers by the militaries in developed countries encourages them to establish shared integrated computerized electronic information systems. Their basic purpose is now to provide full-scale information support for combat actions by the adversary ground troops’ task forces and regular formations in general. As a result, therefore, the network-centric system built on the basis of various computerized information assets to support combat actions has been turned into the core component of the adversary’s operation (engagement) so that its successful operation has a direct effect on the success of combat actions in our day and age. Fighting these electronic computerized assets and systems is a key element of present-day and future combat actions, on which their course and outcome depend and will depend.[60]

 

Russia’s Contemporary EW Forces: Structure and Training

The chief of the Electronic Warfare Forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation (Voyska Radioelektronnoy Bor’by Vooruzhonnykh sil Rossiyskoy Federatsii) is Lieutenant General Yury Lastochkin. A career EW officer, Lastochkin served as platoon and battalion commander during tours of duty in Chechnya (2000–2006). Following his graduation from the Academy of the General Staff in June 2009, Lastochkin was appointed deputy chief of the EW Forces; on August 7, 2014, he was elevated to chief of the EW Forces. Two deputies serve under General Lastochkin: one major general and a colonel.[61] According to the Russian defense ministry,

The Directorate of the Chief of the Electronic Warfare Troops of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is intended to supervise the construction and training of electronic warfare troops, planning and organization of electronic warfare in the Armed Forces, as well as to perform the functions of the central connecting body of electronic warfare equipment for inter-service use and the main radio frequency body of the Russian Ministry of Defense.[62]

The directorate of the chief of the EW Forces consists of four departments and two support services, each of which are headed by a colonel (Figure 4).[63] The 1st Department is responsible for the organization and planning of electronic warfare, maintaining the combat readiness of formations and EW units, as well as the organization and implementation of measures for the development and improvement of the EW Forces. The 2nd Department is tasked with organizing training for specialists and military units (subunits) in addition to organizing the daily activities of the EW Forces. The 3rd Department oversees the relevant EW Forces’ ability to counteract the technical means of intelligence by foreign states; also, it organizes the radio-electronic protection of radio-electronic means of state and military communications; and it develops the Unified System of Integrated Technical Control of the Russian Armed Forces. Finally, the 4th Department facilitates the pursuit of a unified military-technical policy on the development of EW technology; and it plans and organizes the technical support for the EW Forces.[64]

The two supporting services are the Radio Frequency Service and the Military-Scientific Committee. The Radio Frequency Service is responsible for the determination of the procedures for the use of the radio frequency spectrum for defense purposes and coordinates the activities of federal executive bodies in this area; it also oversees legal protection issues. While the Military-Scientific Committee is tasked with the organization and control of all scientific work for the EW Forces as well as the scientific substantiation of the construction, development and use of the EW Forces, their weapons, military and special equipment, along with military-scientific support at all stages of their life cycle.[65] In this latter area, it most likely coordinates with relevant organizations conducting material-technical support (materialno-tekhnicheskogo obespechenie—MTO).

Figure 4: Electronic Warfare Directorate

The reorganization of the military district system in December 2010 reduced the existing six districts to four (Western, Southern, Central and Eastern). These gained the function in wartime of Joint Strategic Commands (Obyedinennyye Strategicheskoye Komandovanie—OSK), while retaining the previous Military District (MD) (Voyennyy Okrug—VO) functions in peacetime. On January 1, 2021, the Northern Fleet was upgraded to the status of an OSK/MD, formalizing a process that began in 2014; consequently, there are presently five OSKs/MDs.[66]

Each of the OSKs/MDs contains a specialist EW service headed by a major general or admiral. The Western OSK/MD’s EW service, at the OSK headquarters, began to function following the reorganization of the military district system in December 2010. Since June 2014, it has been headed by Major General Sergei Gashkov.[67] The Southern OSK/MD’s EW service was initially headed by a colonel. Since April 2011, it has been led by Major General Viktor Fedorenko. The EW service of the Central OSK/MD followed a similar pattern, with its colonel head of service replaced, in October 2013, by Major General Sergei Portnykh. The Eastern OSK/MD’s EW service was also first headed by a colonel from the EW Forces. However, unlike the other OSKs, this has continued, with its most recent head of service appointed in August 2015: Colonel Sergei Klindukhov. The Northern Fleet OSK/MD, officially formed on January 1, 2021, is headed by Captain 1st rank Valeriy Lukoyanov; he has, in effect, held the post since December 1, 2010, with the EW service of the Northern Fleet located in the fleet HQ.[68]

The Russian service branches (vid) and the arms of service (rod) also each contain an EW service, headed either by a colonel or a captain 1st Rank. The Ground Forces’ (Sukhoputnye Voiska) EW Service has functioned as an element in the army since 1969, when it was formally created. It is headed by Colonel Igor Kalitkin. The EW service of the Aerospace Forces (Vozdushno Kosmicheskikh Sil—VKS) was formed with the creation of the VKS on August 1, 2015; the EW service is headed by Colonel Andrei Tikhonov.

EW in the Military-Maritime Fleet (Voyenno-Morskoy Flot—VMF) dates to December 10, 1956, with a radio countermeasures and camouflage department formed as part of the operational management of the Main Staff of the Navy. In the 1960s, the C2 bodies of the VMF’s electronic warfare were transformed into the EW services of the General Staff of the Navy, the headquarters of the fleets and flotillas. In the 1980s, the Naval Electronic Warfare Directorate was reorganized into the EW service of the General Staff of the Navy, which, since 1985, has been consistently led by rear admirals. In 2012, the electronic warfare service of the Main Headquarters of the Navy was relocated from Moscow to the Main Admiralty (St. Petersburg). From 2012, the EW service in the headquarters of the VMF is headed by Captain 1st Rank Aleksandr Yachmenev.[69]

Similarly, the Strategic Rocket Forces (Raketnye Voyska Strategicheskogo Naznacheniya—RVSN) established an EW service in 1968. In November 1978, the EW Directorate of the RVSN was created, consisting of three departments. By 1987, the EW Directorate of the RVSN again reorganized the EW service into three groups. Starting from June 23, 1993, the EW service was reduced to two groups. Between 1987 and 2001, the RVSN EW service was headed by major general officers or a colonel; after that, the RVSN was reorganized as an arm of service. As of 2014, the RVSN EW service has been headed by Colonel Vladislav Antonov.

Finally, the Airborne Forces’ (Vozdushno-Desantnye Voyska–VDV) EW service was formed first in August 1968, functioning as an electronic countermeasures service. In the late 1970s, it was transformed into an EW service and, since 1976, it has been led by colonels. From 2013, the VDV EW service, located in the VDV HQ, has been headed by Colonel Dmitry Arapov.[70]

In the Military-Maritime Fleet (VMF), the EW elements are combined into separate EW centers. In the Aerospace Forces (VKS), four known EW battalions are located in the Air Force and Air Defense Armies (Western OSK/MD: Pesochnyi; Central OSK/MD: Engels; Eastern OSK/MD: Artem; Southern OSK/MD: Novomikhailovskii).[71] EW in the VMF is organized on the basis of specialist EW centers: in the Northern Fleet OSK/MD is the 186th EW center, military unit 60134 (Severomorsk); in the Western OSK/MD is the 841st EW center, military unit 09643 (Yantarny, Kaliningrad); and in the Eastern OSK/MD, there are the 471st EW center, military unit 20918 (Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky), and the 474th EW center, military unit 10604 (Shtykovo). The Ground Forces, however, by far the leading service in terms of EW assets and their chief advocate for further development, are organically populated with EW units and assets. This includes five EW brigades functioning across the OSK/MD system, providing support to the maneuver brigades (motorized rifle and tank), with EW battalions located within each of the eleven combined-arms armies and one tank army, and present within the maneuver brigade structure at the company level (Figure 5).[72]

Figure 5: Dislocation of Ground Forces EW Brigades and VMF EW Centers

As the reform of the Armed Forces began its structural implementation in 2009, the EW Forces underwent a similar transformation. This utilized the existing disparate EW units throughout the Armed Forces, reorganizing the overall EW Forces structure at operational and operational-tactical levels, alongside strategic level capability. In April 2009, the 15th EW Brigade was formed in Novomoskovsk, Tula Oblast, and was later transferred to Tambov (Western OSK/MD); the process of forming additional EW brigades was finally completed by December 2015, with the 19th EW Brigade in Rassvet (Southern OSK/MD). Russia’s Armed Forces now have five EW brigades, located across its OSKs/MDs. Two are located in the Western OSK/MD; one is subordinate to the General Staff and serves as a reserve structure (Figure 5). Each of these brigades consists of four EW battalions and one company.[73] These brigades are tasked with providing combat support to the maneuver brigades; these can also be detached as smaller units depending on the specific mission requirements. The EW brigades vary in terms of size and manpower. While there is no publicly available data on their order of battle (ORBAT),[74] it is likely that they are significantly smaller than the maneuver brigades, possibly similar in size to Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) brigades (approximately 500 personnel).

Additionally, the EW Forces formed battalions in the OSKs/MDs: in the Western OSK/MD, there are the 49th EW battalion, military unit 54916 (Ostrov), the 142nd EW battalion, military unit 03047 (Kaliningrad), EW battalion, military unit 32713 (Pesochny); and there are two additional battalions in unknown locations, the 540th EW battalion and the 703rd EW battalion.

In October 2018, the defense ministry announced an additional effort to further enhance EW capabilities within the Ground Forces by forming new EW battalions functioning at the level of a combined-arms army (CAA); this would place one EW battalion in each of the eleven CAAs and one tank army. This change to the overall structure of EW in the Ground Forces was trialed by forming a new EW battalion at the 58th Army base in Vladikavkaz, and following the successful experiment the defense ministry decided to proceed with the plan to form these battalions across the CAAs. These subunits are equipped with Divnomorye mobile complexes. Some of Russia’s most powerful EW systems, such as the Krasukha series, Leer-3, or Moskva-1, are also located in the Ground Forces’ EW battalions; these systems offer ranges of several hundred kilometers. Moscow-based military expert Aleksei Leonkov noted,

Previously, such battalions were only at military districts’ disposal; now, their quantity will increase considerably, and they will appear at a lower [operational] tactical level. So-called inter-branch EW battalions are being created, which it will be possible to rapidly redeploy to the most dangerous zones and to mobilize for various units’ and formations’ purposes. This will expand manifold the possibilities of electronic concealment. Thanks to modern technology, the troops will be reliably sheltered from an adversary’s reconnaissance equipment by interference.[75]

The formation of the 15th EW Brigade in April 2009 signaled at the very earliest stages of the wider reform process that the role of EW would burgeon and take on a new and more organized set of capabilities. While the EW structural transformation accompanied the rapid move to transition the Ground Forces to a brigade-based structure, the approach to forming the EW brigades was more gradual and ponderous; this reflected a careful assessment of the combat support requirements for the newly formed maneuver brigades, primarily rooted in the General Staff assessing the course and results of experimentation in the annual operational-strategic exercises. Forming the fifth EW brigade in late 2015 provided a better organized support base for EW from strategic to tactical levels.[76]

Russia’s Ground Forces possess a three-tiered system for EW. At the level of OSKs/MDs, there are five EW brigades in each (with the exception of the Northern Fleet OSK/MD), including one that subordinates to the General Staff; at the level of combined-arms army (CAA), each of the eleven CAAs and one tank army have an EW battalion; and at the maneuver brigade and divisional level, each has an EW company focused on tactical tasks.[77] Additionally, a trend has emerged to expand EW companies in the maneuver divisions into EW battalions, implemented in most of the divisions in the Western and Southern Military Districts.

As a direct result of the reform process, the EW Forces are present throughout the Armed Forces, in the Ground Forces, Aerospace Forces, Military-Maritime Fleet, Strategic Rocket Forces and Airborne Forces.[78] But the Ground Forces, as noted above, are the leading advocate of EW in the Russian military, pushing for greater investment levels, continued modernization and even a higher service status. Thus, General Lastochkin outlines the EW Forces as follows:

EW forces and means are part of the strategic system of radio jamming, the Unified System of Systematic Technical Control (Yedinoy sistemy kompleksnogo tekhnicheskogo kontrolya—KTK), and the array of EW units of military districts, large formations [armies] and formations [divisions, brigades] of the branches and services of the Russian Federation Armed Forces.[79] At present, the main forces and means are concentrated in the Ground Forces, Aerospace Forces and Navy [VMF], and the component inter-service groupings of military districts. In the VDV, we have established EW subunits in assault divisions. In the RVSN, there are KTK subunits for every missile army, division, and testing ground. Since 2014, the forces and means of radio jamming in the districts have carried out duty missions.[80]

Lastochkin highlighted that the reorganization of the Ground Forces into a brigade-based structure has created maneuver brigades (tank and motorized rifle) that all contain EW specialists functioning at the company level. To illustrate this, Figures 6 and 7 demonstrate the organic location of the EW Forces within the maneuver brigades of Russia’s Ground Forces. In the motorized rifle brigades (Figure 6), the EW company is shown within the brigade structure. In the top section of the figure are the set of battalions in the motorized rifle brigade, with its combat support elements in lower left and the combat service support (such as logistics) in the lower right.

Figure 6: Motorized Rifle Brigade (MRB) Structure

Figure 7: EW Company Structure in the MRB

Among the combat support units is the EW company (structure detailed in Figure 7). The EW systems located in the Ground Forces’ maneuver brigades reportedly provide coverage of up to 50 kilometers. This is a crucial feature of Russia’s Ground Forces, since, in contrast to Western counterparts, the EW component is represented organically within its brigade structure; which means that the army cannot move or conduct combat operations without EW support. Of course, at this level, the EW assets are tactical. At the tactical level, the EW companies within the maneuver brigades possess the following assets[81] (as shown in Figure 7):

  • RP-330KPK VHF Automated Jamming Station;
  • RP-330K Automated Control Station; R-378B HF Automated Jamming Station;
  • R330B HF Frequency Jammer linked to the Borisoglebsk-2 HF Automated Jamming Station;
  • R-330Zh Zhitel Automated Jammer against INMARSAT, IRIDIUM Satellite Communication Systems, GSM and GPS;
  • SPR-2 VHF/UHF Radio Jammer; RP-377U Portable Jammer against improvised explosive devices (IED);
  • RP-934B VHF Automated Jamming Station against communications and tactical air guidance systems;
  • RP-377L IED Jammer;
  • RP-377LP Portable Automated Jammer; and
  • RP-377UV Portable Automated Jammer.

A vital role in the development and technological modernization of the EW Forces is played by the Russian domestic defense industry. In 2009, the existing disparate group of domestic defense industry companies working on manufacturing EW systems underwent vertical integration into Kontsern Radioelektronic Tekhnologii (KRET), a member of Rostec.[82] KRET intensively lobbies and promotes EW interests in cooperation with the Russian military. In addition to KRET, Sozvezdiye and the UAV designer Special Technology Center (Spetsialnyy Tekhnologicheskiy Tsentr— STTs) also work closely with the EW Forces. In 2010, the defense industry formed the Scientific-Technical Center for EW in Voronezh, (Nauchno-Tekhnicheskiy Tsentr Radioelektronnoy Bor’by—NTTs REB). The NTTs REB is responsible for R&D on future EW systems.[83] In October 2015, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu established the EW Forces Military-Scientific Committee and shortly after formed two scientific-production companies to promote the modernization of the EW inventory. The quantity and quality of EW systems being procured by the Armed Forces has grown as a consequence. Moreover, this was further supported by transforming the EW educational and training system, with its first simulators procured in 2018 to boost EW training capacity. All EW units have been reequipped with Magniy-REB training complexes, and the defense ministry has introduced an integrated teaching and learning system (Integrirovannyy Trenazherno-Obuchayushchiy Kompleks—ITOK) designed to further enhance the training of EW specialists.[84]

Following its formation in 2009, KRET worked on the Krasukha-4, a powerful broadband noise jamming station. It entered service in 2012. The system’s primary function is to jam the radars of strike aviation. The initial user of the Krasukha-4 was the VKS, employing the system to provide cover for critically important targets. Since its first introduction, the Krasukha-4 systems entered service with other combat arms. In 2013, KRET developed jamming stations to counter radio-actuated proximity fuses of SPR-1 and SPR-2 artillery munitions. The modernized Rtut-BM is an advanced version of such systems. KRET supplied ten Rtut-BM systems for the EW Forces in 2013; the contract concluded was for 700 million rubles ($12 million). The Kaluga Scientific Research Institute of Radio Technology (Kaluzhskiy Nauchno-Issledovatelskiy Radiotekhnicheskiy Institut—KNIRTI), the leading Russian enterprise in the development of primarily air-based EW systems, facilities and assets, is also part of KRET. KNIRTI was tasked with developing the fourth-generation Khibiny ECM suite for the Su-34 fighter-bomber, intended to protect the aircraft against engagement by air-defense assets. It differs from older-generation systems in its multilevel multiprocessor control system employing digital methods of signal processing.[85]

In addition to KNIRTI, Samara’s Ekran Scientific Research Institute Federal State Unitary Enterprise (FGUP Nauchno-Issledovatelskiy Institut Ekran) is a major developer of aircraft EW systems. The enterprise specializes in multifunctional integrated onboard systems of protection against engagement by air-defense missiles fitted with radar and infrared guidance. A new NII Ekran product, the Vitebsk family of EW systems, based on the L-370-3S active jamming station, began entering service with the Air Force in 2013. The Vitebsk is intended to replace the Gardeniya and Sorbtsiya ECM systems developed in the 1970s and 1980s. Individual elements of the Vitebsk have been installed on the Ka-52 helicopter and Mi-8MT transport helicopters. Other products from the Samara NII include an onboard active jamming station, an optronic suppression laser station, an active towed radar decoy, and expendable jamming transmitters.[86]

The Taganrog Scientific Research Institute of Communications (Taganrogskiy Nauchno-Issledovatelskiy Institut Svyazi—TNIIS), the leading Russian enterprise for the development of EW systems for the VMF, is part of KRET. All the major surface ships of the Russian fleet are equipped with instrumentation it has developed. The KRET enterprises’ output has been delivered to all the branches and combat arms of the Armed Forces. In April 2012, by a decision of the Russian Federation Government’s Military Industrial Commission, Yury Mayevskiy, the deputy general director of KRET, was appointed general designer for electronic warfare systems and facilities.[87]

A no less important element in ensuring the quality of the EW Forces relates to training. The training of specialists for the EW Forces is entrusted to the Military Educational and Scientific Center of the Air Force Academy “named after Professor N. Ye. Zhukovsky and Yu. A. Gagarin,” and the Inter-branch Center for the Training and Combat Use of Electronic Warfare Troops (training and testing).[88] The training of EW specialists for the VKS is performed at the VVS Academy by the 5th Faculty of EW and Information Security. Also, the planning and implementation of scientific activities in the EW Forces is carried out by the Research and Testing Institute for Electronic Warfare of the Military Educational and Scientific Center of the Air Force.[89] Since 2019, the Air Force Academy in Voronezh has been developing a program of professional training for EW specialists aimed at formulating methods of disorganizing enemy robotic EW systems.[90]

Junior specialists for units and subunits of the EW Forces are organized at the Inter-Branch Center for the Training and Combat Use of Electronic Warfare Troops (Tambov) (1084-go Mezhvidovogo tsentra podgotovki i boyevogo primeneniya—MTsPBP). The EW center in Tambov uses integrated simulator complexes in the training of personnel. According to General Lastochkin, the MTsPBP was specially designed and built for the training of EW specialists. Officers are trained at the Faculty of Electronic Warfare and Information Security at the Military Educational and Scientific Center of the Air Force Academy in Voronezh.[91] Highly qualified officers serving as EW specialists can access courses of the Military Educational and Scientific Center of the Ground Forces Combined Arms Academy, the Military Academy of Communications named after Marshal of the Soviet Union S. M. Budyonny, the Strategic Missile Forces Military Academy named after Peter the Great, and the A. F. Mozhaisky, Military Academy of Aerospace Defense named after Marshal of the Soviet Union G. K. Zhukov.[92]

When it comes to training and EW exercises, Lastochkin observes,

Particular attention in the course of exercises and training is paid to increasing the level of training of personnel, improving the skills and abilities of conducting electronic warfare in a complex electronic environment. In addition, new forms, methods and techniques of combat are being tested, specialist and research tasks are being solved. As a result of these measures, the strengths and weaknesses of the combat training of EW units and subunits are revealed, on the basis of the analysis of which, during assembly events with the leadership of the EW Forces, specific tasks are set for subsequent periods of training.[93]

Equally, EW Forces training involves tactical and operational-strategic military exercises. Combat training is an integral part of training in the course of the daily activities of the EW Forces. Annually, EW formations and units participate in command post exercises and special exercises of the EW Forces. The EW Forces regularly organize and conduct joint training of their units with non–defense ministry units from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (Ministerstvo Vnutrennikh Del—MVD), the Federal Security Service (Federal’naya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti—FSB), Federal Protective Service (Federalnaya Sluzhba Okhrany—FSO), Federal Service for Technical and Export Control (Federal’naya Sluzhba po Tekhnicheskomu i Eksportnomu Kontrolyu—FSTEK), and the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications of Russia on Conducting Radio and Radio Engineering Control (Minkomsvyazi Rossii po vedeniyu radio i radiotekhnicheskogo kontrolya).[94]

According to the plans formed annually by the chief of the EW Forces, special tactical exercises and specialist exercises are conducted within EW units and subunits; these are carried out at brigade, battalion and company levels. Thus, in the annual training cycle of the EW Forces, as well as their own tactical- and operational-level exercises and while participating in the annual operational-strategic military exercises (Zapad, Vostok, Tsentr, Kavkaz), these units also train with non–defense ministry security forces. Since 2012, the tempo of EW exercises has increased two-fold; and in August 2016, it staged the Elektron-2016 EW exercise—the first of its kind since 1979.[95] The Elektron EW exercise has become an annual training event. Moreover, bilateral defense agreements allow Russia’s EW Forces to conduct joint training activities with allies. For example, in December 2009, Moscow and Minsk signed a bilateral defense agreement to cooperate on EW and planned to form a unified EW system for the regional group of forces. Belarus appears to be Russia’s closest partner on EW; the level of EW coordination and cooperation between Minsk and Moscow peaks every four years in the joint Belarusian-Russian Zapad combined strategic exercise (sovmestnoe strategicheskoe uchenie).[96]

Indeed, the annual operational-strategic military exercises, the highlight of the combat training year in Russia’s Armed Forces, are consequently always staged with the participation of the EW Forces. They are inherently involved in many aspects of these exercises, including coordination with air defense to counter notional massed missile-aviation strikes (massirovannyye raketno-aviatsionnyye udary—MRAU) by the hypothetical adversary. In terms of the MRAU, Russian military theorists, including EW specialists, are paying increasing attention to the role of EW in countering enemy use of MRAU. This may involve overwhelming numbers of UAVs (including swarms), cruise missiles and other precision-guided munitions (PGM), alongside decoys, etc., which cannot be neutralized by kinetic means alone (not enough surface- or air-to-air missiles). Consequently, EW means are regarded as an intrinsic element in countering enemy MRAU. They are important since, in some cases, EW offers the ability to neutralize or degrade some means of air attack non-kinetically. The mix of kinetic and non-kinetic means to counter the MRAU involves other defensive measures (using camouflage, decoys, etc.) and offensive measures (attacking adversary PGM carriers, bases, including aircraft on the ground, ships, etc.), and is seen by Russian military theorists as the only way to effectively repel a large-scale US/NATO attack.[97]

The air-defense units tasked with mounting such a response work closely with the EW Forces. In Zapad 2021, these units were involved in rehearsing defense against enemy use of UAV swarms.[98] And during Zapad 2017, for example, the participating Russian EW Forces divided into red and blue teams at one stage of the exercise in order to train for operations in a contested EMS operational environment.[99] Since the reformed structure of the EW Forces emerged alongside the annual operational-strategic exercises, every one of these exercises has featured the involvement of the EW Forces across a broad range of participation activities—from air defense through to providing combat support for ground defense and counter-offensives for the Ground Forces, embedded in rehearsed strikes, as well as maneuvers by all service branches and arms of service.[100]

 

Modern and Future Russian EW Systems

The EW Forces have benefited exponentially and consistently from Moscow’s wider efforts to reform and modernize its conventional Armed Forces. Initiating the creation of the Ground Forces’ EW brigades in 2009 and completing this process by 2015 presaged the reintroduction of annual EW military exercises for these forces in 2016. Likewise, the modernization of Russia’s EW assets has proved to be relentless. While much of this relied upon Soviet-era design plans, the results of this inventory modernization are nevertheless considerable. To appreciate the scale and depth of these processes, it is necessary to provide an overview of EW systems entering service in recent years and what they are designed to achieve in support of combat operations, outlining aspects of the research and development (R&D), and turning to the EW Forces’ leadership to examine their perspectives on the future priority areas of EW systems development. As already noted, many features of the Russian conceptualization and approaches toward EW are unique to their system and military culture. Of paramount importance is the extent to which the EW capabilities are fully integrated into the structural architecture of the Russian Armed Forces. As Bartles and Grau explain,

Russian electronic warfare involves the normal missions of controlling and denying the enemy use of the electromagnetic space through electronic attack (counter-measures), electronic protection (counter-counter-measures), and electronic warfare support (search, interception, locations and identification measures). However, the Russians include physical destruction as an integrated part of electronic warfare. To do this, they will assign high-performance aircraft, helicopter gunships, artillery and mortars and ground assault to the assets included in the electronic warfare maneuver group. The electronic warfare maneuver group may be formed in support of an attack, withdrawal or march under threatened conditions. The Russian maneuver brigade’s EW company is a central actor in this effort but the effort is controlled by the brigade.[101]

EW in support of combat operations is organized and conducted by the commander of the combined group of forces (the commander of the OSK) alongside the instructions from the General Staff. The sequences and content of the work by the EW Forces will follow guidelines and directives from the operational C2. The structure of the EW group of forces is determined by purposes they are assigned in support of combat missions, the nature of the electronic operational environment in the theater of military operations, as well as the capabilities and condition of EW assets available.[102] EW groups of forces and assets for assigned tasks in an operation are formed to support combined-arms groups of forces as they are being created along functional, zonal and geographical lines. If one or two strike groups are formed, then the same number of EW groups of forces and assets may be created. EW units from the OSKs (combined formations, formations) and under central subordination are added to support missions in an armed conflict zone. From these units, mobile EW groups (tactical groups) are formed for autonomous operations in specific locations. EW against the C2 systems of an adversary’s forces and weapons involves delivering the selected ways of electronically affecting elements of those systems, conducted in close coordination with the use of firepower against command posts and electronic nodes and of intelligence gathering and concealment assets.[103]

Examples of Ground Forces EW systems functioning at the company level in maneuver brigades are as follows:

  • The R-378AM High Frequency (HF) communications jammer, designed for detection and finding the direction of enemy HF radio frequencies. The jammer provides analysis of and selects the emitters’ signal parameters.[104]
  • The upgraded R-330B/R-330T Very High Frequency (VHF) jamming system, designed for detection, direction finding, and jamming of VHF communication and tactical C2 links at fixed frequencies with conventional waveforms, in programmable and automatic frequency tuning modes, as well as for transmitting short encoded messages.[105]
  • The R-934B Automated VHF–UHF Aircraft Radio Communication Jamming Station, designed for detection, direction finding, position finding (using two jamming stations) and jamming of VHF–UHF aircraft radio communication means, tactical aircraft guidance systems in the 100–150 Megahertz (MHz) and 220–400 MHz frequency bands as well as terrestrial radio communications and mobile radios in the 100–400 MHz range that use fixed frequencies, frequency hopping and transmission of short telecode messages. The R-934B can operate under a command post or operate independently.[106]
  • The P-330ZH Zhitel automated jamming station, which provides for the automated detection, direction finding and signal analysis of radio emission sources in the designated operating frequency range. The system is capable of disrupting the enemy’s ability to locate mobile ground stations (user terminals) of the “INMARSAT,” “IRIDIUM,” and GSM-900/1800 satellite communication systems, the “NAVSTAR” (GPS) satellite navigation system, and the base stations cellular communication system.[107]
  • The SPR-2 (Rtut-B) jamming station, designed to protect friendly troops and equipment against artillery fire equipped with radio proximity fuses by causing premature detonation.[108]
  • The RP-377L (Lorandit) Compact Multifunctional Radio Monitoring, Direction-Finding and Jamming Complex, which provides for the search of position location and jamming of VHF/UHF radio electronic communications.[109]
  • The Borisoglebsk-2, one of Russia’s newest tactical EW systems, which started replacing the R-330 Mandat in 2012. The Borisoglebsk-2 is the primary and latest EW system operating at the company level in the maneuver brigades and divisions. Although few published details exist about the characteristics of the Borisoglebsk-2, it reportedly can suppress twice the frequency bandwidth of its predecessor in the HF and UHF bands, and it operates 100 times faster. Reportedly, it has the capability to disrupt mobile satellite communications and radar navigation systems. The system is mounted on an MT-LBu chassis (extended length).[110]

In addition to such examples of EW systems functioning within the EW Forces, the systematic modernization that followed the 2008 reforms has resulted in a swathe of complexes entering service. These include the RB-341V Leer-3 electronic jamming system equipped with the Orlan-10 UAV; the Sled-KU integrated technical monitoring and communications intelligence collection station; and the LGSh-503 information leakage prevention equipment (sredstvo predotvrashcheniya utechki informatsii). The EW Forces also received the modernized Krasukha-4 complex. The Krasukha series was first designed for the RVSN, but the Krasukha-4 operates within the EW brigades and the VKS. Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Shaydt, the chief of the Western OSK/MD EW Service’s Electronic Engagement and Electromagnetic Compatibility Support Section, states,

The Krasukha-4 mobile complex is distinguished by an exquisite design solution, multifunctionality, and use of the newest software. An entirely new complex capable of performing an enormous number of electronic detection and warfare missions against enemy UAVs has been created based on SPN-2 and SPN-4 jammers. Krasukha-4 successfully counters onboard radars of the most advanced attack, reconnaissance, and unmanned aviation at ranges up to 300 km.[111]

The Leer-3, which also operates in the EW battalions, aerodynamically is a scatterable (zabrasyvayemyy) jammer capable of simultaneously blocking three cellular communications operators within a radius of up to six kilometers. The Dzyudoist, Lorandit and Plavsk complexes, along with the Svet-VSG fixed radio monitoring equipment, are all used for integrated technical monitoring. The Svet-KU mobile EW complex became operational in 2012; it operates in the 30–18,000 MHz frequency band. The Pelena-1 high-power ground jamming complex jams early-warning aircraft radars at a distance up to 250 km. Also, the Borisoglebsk-2 EW complex, mounted on the MT-LBu (multipurpose lightly armored tracked carrier), has been in service since 2014. It uses energy- and structurally secure broadband signals, providing jam-resistant high-speed data transmission. Gurzuf, Ograda and Start radar jammers, PK-2 and PK-16 launchable jammer complexes with radar and thermal jamming projectiles, and ML-22 and ML-27 deception decoys became operational with the VMF. The strategic-level Murmansk-BN complex, at least one of which was known to have been based in Sevastopol (Crimea) prior to the Kremlin’s massive invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, has an effective range of 3,000 km and can jam more than 20 frequencies simultaneously.[112]

The first Murmansk-BN complexes entered service at the 841st EW Center of the Baltic Fleet in late 2019. Murmansk-BN is one of the most powerful EW systems in the world. This is an automated radio-interference complex for communication lines in the short-wave (HF) range. Most of the information about it is classified. It is known that the range of jamming radio communications of the complex is about 3,000 km; and with an ideal signal transmission, some reports suggest it can be increased to 8,000 km. The standard deployment time of equipment is 72 hours, after which it can, at a distance of several thousand kilometers, not only deprive an enemy ship of communication and navigation but also disable the electronics of its onboard weapons. Work on strategic EW systems began in the USSR in the 1960s, but it was only possible to develop the necessary basis and manufacture a prototype in 2015. Then it was first tested in the Northern Fleet and introduced there a year later. In March 2017, Murmansk-BN was also deployed in Crimea.[113] These systems deployed in the Baltic and Black Sea regions provide considerable Russian EW coverage on NATO’s eastern flank.

In January 2016, Krasnaya Zvezda reported the procurement of the Murmansk-BN in the 471st EW Center in Kamchatka, boosting the EW capabilities of the Eastern OSK/MD and the VMF Pacific Fleet. The Kamchatka 471st EW Center received two Murmansk-BN modern automated systems for radio-electronic suppression of enemy shortwave communications. In march mode, each of them comprises a mobile fleet of seven heavy multi-axle automotive vehicles on a KAMAZ platform with appropriate hardware. When combat-deployed, the latest system occupies an area of 640,000 square meters. “The Murmansk-BN is a 21st century arsenal,” Captain 3rd Class Roman Nechayev, the chief of staff of the 471st EW Center, stated, adding,

The basis of operation of the latest system comprises modern mathematical principles. In its specifications it surpasses its predecessor by almost several orders of magnitude. For example, the stations of the old fleet were rated at five kW. The Murmansk-BN in certain modes of operation can reach 400 kW. Other features of the new equipment are also impressive, in particular, its range of effective application. The distance of 3,000 km for the Murmansk-BN is not its limit.[114]

This means that in the hands of the Kamchatka EW specialists, the system is capable, from its deployment site, of performing tasks both on its territory and far from its approach routes—and if necessary, outside the 12-mile territorial waters zone, from Chukotka to islands in the Sea of Japan.

R&D on EW systems is led by Egorievets V. The firm has reportedly carried out state tests of a complex of climatic EW equipment. Another critical element in conducting EW R&D is the Research Institute of the Air Force Academy. Its scientific and industrial activities cover all aspects of EW, from the development of conceptual and regulatory documents to developmental work at all stages in the life cycle of the technology. In addition, at the federal level, NIII (REB) carries out information and analytical support for the work of the military industrial complex and the Interdepartmental Commission for planning and coordinating the development of the EW system. The institute is principally made up of nine military-scientific schools, comprising 19 doctors and more than 130 candidates of science. Studies are conducted in close cooperation with the defense ministry, the services of the various EW Forces in the Armed Forces, the OSKs/MDs, and defense enterprises. A full cycle of research is provided for “idea,” “prototype” and “testing.” An example of fruitful cooperation is the organization of close cooperation between the Research Institute of the Air Force (Voronezh) and the Academic Institutes of Theoretical and Applied Electrodynamics (Moscow), Informatics and Automation (St. Petersburg) in the form of “virtual” joint laboratories, the provisions of which are approved by the president of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the chief of the General Staff.[115]

In a statement about the priorities in the State Armaments Program (Gosudarstvennaya Programma Vooruzheniya—GPV) 2018–2027, President Vladimir Putin refereed to EW assets as well as developing and further strengthening high-technology precision strike systems. Putin highlighted the focus of the GPV to 2027 “on equipping the troops with high-precision air-, land- and sea-based weapons, UAVs, as well as equipping servicemen with the latest reconnaissance, communications and electronic warfare.” EW capability will continue to receive strong state support as the military modernization continues.[116]

In an interview in April 2018, Colonel Yury Gubskov, the chief of the EW Forces’ 1084th Inter-Branch Training and Combat Employment Center (MTsPBP), noted that Russia’s EW capability can impact on the C4ISR of all foreign militaries.[117] On the future procurement priorities for the EW Forces, Gubskov asserted that Russia’s EW systems are qualitatively changing:

They are becoming more mobile, highly-intelligent, and automated. A gradual transition is occurring from narrowly specialized to multifunction complexes, which permit the disruption of the functioning of various types of electronic systems—radars, radio communications, navigation, and others. The development of information technologies and their use in electronic warfare hardware permits us to talk about the possibility of the development of robotic complexes with elements of artificial intelligence in the near term. The new systems will be able to effectively accomplish missions in a complex electronic situation without human participation.[118]

The EW emphasis in the GPV to 2027, therefore, appears to be most likely centered upon automation, mobility, and exploiting AI and robotic complexes. The first brigade-level EW C2 system, the RB-109A Bylina automated EW system, has an AI capability aiding its automated C2. This utilizes advanced technologies. Russian media reports frequently use the term avtomatizirovanniy (automated) to describe such systems. However, the advanced technology features of the RB-109A Bylina specifically uses the term iskusstvennyy intellekt (artificial intelligence). Reportedly, the Moskva-1 EW system also benefits from AI technology. The defense ministry plans a large-scale procurement of the Bylina EW complexes to be completed by 2025. Bylina can analyze the situation and find and classify targets in real time without the operators’ participation. After this, it determines which systems will better suppress or destroy enemy communications equipment or other targets. Russian experts note that the employment of these complexes will significantly increase the effectiveness of the EW systems on the battlefield. Arsenal Otechestva editor-in-chief Viktor Murakhovskiy stated, “The battlefield’s contemporary information space is saturated with electronic systems—both ours and the enemy’s. We are talking about unmanned aerial vehicles, communications systems, and radars. In that situation, it is important to suppress enemy electronics and, in so doing, not interfere with our own.”[119]

The Russian Moskva-1 EW system, which has been supplied to the Ground Forces since 2015, has two modules: the 1L265E electronic intelligence module and the 1L266E automated control post for jamming stations. Moskva-1 is designed for the detection of the enemy’s military equipment and cruise missiles by monitoring the airspace. Moskva-1 identifies targets, sets the course, measures parameters and trails air radiation sources operating in the radio frequency range. Moskva-1 transmits data on detected enemy targets to either air defense and aviation units for destruction, or to other electronic warfare systems for suppression. Often, the Moskva-1 system works in conjunction with the Krasukha S-4 EW system. Moskva-1 can simultaneously set tasks for nine electronic warfare and air defense systems. At the same time, Moskva-1 remains invisible to the enemy’s radio surveillance, since it operates in passive radar mode and transmits all information through secure communication channels. A high-level of AI is a key characteristic of the Moskva-1: for example, during a massive enemy air attack, the system automatically determines the most important targets.[120]

Reportedly the defense ministry upgraded the Krasukha-4, to field the Krasukha-20 EW jamming system, which is designed to interfere with Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS). The Krasukha-20 can either interfere with an AWACS actively (emission of radiation) or passively relate the AWACS coordinates to an air-defense system. This modernization of the Krasukha series will expand its range from 250 km to 400 km, among other improved characteristics. The Krasukha-20 also plays a role in protecting Iskander-M missile systems, with their likely deployment being in the EW battalions in the CAAs. In July 2020, the modernized Krasukha-20 began its first deliveries to the Armed Forces. One of its main missions is to neutralize AWACS airborne radars. Without their assistance, the US-built F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II stealth aircraft cannot attack; in battle, their own radars would compromise their stealth capabilities. The active jamming generated by the Krasukha-20 system will block the radiation of the powerful AWACS radar, without allowing it to see the targets and guide strike aircraft to them.[121]

To illustrate the likely future shape of Russian EW procurement, in 2023 the EW Forces are set to receive a new system designated as Divnomorye-U. It is designed to jam enemy radars and satellites and seems likely to be the longer-term replacement for the Moskva-1, Krasukha-2 and Krasukha-4. This new system is intended to suppress onboard electronic systems of aircraft, helicopters and UAVs and can also interfere with satellites and operate at distances of several hundred kilometers.[122]

Combat use of the complex is carried out in automated mode. Reportedly, its equipment detects and instantly analyzes the target signal, as well as the type, power and direction of radiation. A high-tech automated system independently develops a suppression plan and selects the most effective option, clearly implying the use of AI.[123] As a result, high-power jamming radiation generated by the Divnomorye-U neutralizes the enemy’s radar effect, regardless of its type. The Divnomorye-U is capable of equally successfully jamming both ground-based radars and aircraft radars, such as those onboard the E-8 JSTAR, E-3 AWACS, E-2 Hawkeye, helicopters and UAVs. Even satellite radar stations are jammed in the Divnomorye-U coverage area.[124]

The Divnomorye-U can simultaneously serve as a high-technology command post, radio-technical intelligence station, and a powerful means of suppressing enemy targets. These functions were already provided by the Moskva-1, Krasukha-2 and Krasukha-4, meaning that the advance marked by the planned introduction of the Divnomorye-U lies in integrating these functions as well as in exploiting AI and automation.[125] The new complex is mounted on one vehicle with an all-terrain chassis, making it highly mobile and increasing the difficulty for enemy forces to detect and locate this asset. It can be activated within minutes of arriving in a designated area; and after carrying out its EW, tasks it can rapidly redeploy. It marks a step forward in Russian EW capability by reducing the number of personnel required for its operational use, suppressing a wide range of targets, and being able to act autonomously and with high-mobility.[126]

Technological developments in Russian EW systems rooted in achieving greater integration as well as exploiting AI and automated C2 to greatly enhance the speed of action are consistent with other advances in EW capability referred to in late 2017 by the then–deputy defense minister, Yury Borisov. These related to three examples: the Palantin, Rtut-BM and the Tirada-2S systems. The performance characteristics of these EW complexes confirm the extent to which the defense ministry prioritizes their continued technological evolution in order to strengthen military capabilities to conduct operations in the EMS.[127]

The Palatin operational-tactical EW complex was developed by one of the divisions of Rostec—JSC Concern Sozvezdie. The latter is tasked with the development of the military’s automated C2 systems. Palantin is the primary and latest EW system operating at the battalion level in the CAAs. Palantin outperforms similar complexes of previous generations. It is equipped with high-tech equipment and blinds the enemy’s technical means both in the ultra-shortwave and shortwave ranges, depriving units of effective C2 by organizing “insoluble problems” in communications. The Palantin ensures the active conduct of effective radio reconnaissance and suppresses all known radio communication systems of a potential enemy. This includes complexes formed on the basis of modern software-defined radio (SDR) platforms. It can link several different EW systems into a single network. During tests conducted in the Central OSK/MD in 2019, the Palantin was tested by EW specialists functioning as part of a battalion tactical group in which it was able to suppress radio communications of a simulated adversary force in a zone of up to 1,000 km.[128]

Similarly, Rtut-BM is an EW system mounted on a light, multi-purpose tracked chassis. Several defense enterprises are tasked with serial production of this complex: the Muromteplovoz plant, which produces the base chassis, NPO Kvant in Nizhny Novgorod, manufacturing the equipment, and Kazan Optical and Mechanical Plant, functioning as an assembly site for the Rtut-BM. The Rtut-BM counters guided weapons and protects military units from artillery fire and ammunition with radio fuses.

The Tirada-2S is an electronic communications suppression complex capable of effectively neutralizing satellite communications. It uses a narrow beam to target the frequencies of certain satellite communication channels. The Tirada-2S generates sighting obstacles that maximally overlap the possibility of transmitting a signal to the addressee: as the satellite attempts to overcome the electromagnetic curtain set by the ground-based system, this drains its energy resource.[129] These systems offer formidable conventional military capability both in terms of protecting Russian military units, providing critical jamming of adversary communications and radars, as well as disrupting enemy C2 and some weapons systems. Such advances exploit AI to greatly enhance the speed of using these systems in combat.[130]

While the Ground Forces are undoubtedly prioritized and benefit from EW modernization, the other service branches, the VMF and the VKS, are by no means excluded from these technological advances. On October 28, 2018, the defense ministry confirmed that the latest version of the Samarkand EW system had been deployed to Kaliningrad and other “strategic areas.” At least 16 of these new systems were deployed in 13 units, as part of a wider program costing 61 million rubles ($920,000) with its completion scheduled for November 2019. Moscow-based Russian military specialists believe that the Samarkand EW system is designed to jam an adversary’s communication systems; it would target enemy C4ISR assets and operate against GPS (including by spoofing), confusing enemy coordinates. The Samarkand is a suppression system, meaning that when enemy forces attempt to conduct operations within its zone, they experience problems with communications and all electronic equipment, ranging from sights to guidance systems.[131]

In 2017, the Northern Fleet reportedly received both Svet-KU and Samarkand EW systems. Concerning the Svet-KU system, this complex was designed to assess the electromagnetic environment, searching and detecting radio emissions, and locating the sources of such emissions when working with stationary and mobile complexes of technical radio intelligence.[132] Reliable information on the specifications of the Samarkand is difficult to establish. Some specialists believe the system is aimed at suppressing enemy tactical communications, while others see it as having a much wider use. Maxim Shepovalenko, an expert at the Moscow-based Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), regards the Samarkand as capable of attacking enemy EW capacity: “All the EW facilities work in one way or another for all the electronic means of the adversary, be it means of communication, navigation, radiolocation, or whatever. Everything that radiates will be suppressed.” If this is correct, then the Samarkand EW system has operational- and strategic-level significance. Shepovalenko believes the system is designed to suppress enemy communications at the level of a unified command.[133]

Likewise, the VKS has benefited from continued investment in EW systems for advanced platforms. A vital test case in this context relates to the Khibiny EW complex, designed for the latest Sukhoi fighters and fighter-bombers. This technology provides enhanced protection for these VKS platforms against enemy radars and missiles. The nature of recent advances lies in adopting a conceptual use of the advanced system to afford protection for an air grouping, rather than only for individual platforms.[134]

The latest Khibiny EW complex will reportedly effectively “blind” enemy radars and satellites to the presence of a VKS air grouping. Normally, these Khibiny complexes are mounted on the wingtips of advanced Sukhoi platforms: Su-35S fighters, Su-34 bombers and Su-30SM fighters. This was widely seen in VKS operations in Syria. On one wing-tip, the Khibiny system acts as a receiver to determine enemy radio and communications frequencies, while the second generates the jamming element. The system is automated and analyzes enemy signals before determining the best means of jamming, again implying not only automation but the use of AI. The latest Khibiny variant, the Khibiny-U, is mounted under the fuselage of the Su-34 to provide broad coverage for an air grouping and to boost EW capability against high-technology adversaries. In the upgraded Khibiny-U, the entire capability is magnified to provide cover for an air grouping against enemy radars and space-based assets. Some Russian EW specialists believe the newest Khibiny-U EW complex offers a near-stealth capability for Russian VKS operations.[135]

The upgraded Khibiny-U is based on operational experience gained by the VKS in Syria, deploying experimental versions of the new EW platform and drawing lessons from it. Of course, the existing Khibiny complexes largely relied on Soviet designs, but the latest variant in the Khibiny family is quite recent in terms of technology. The wing-tip variety was designed for use on the Su-34 (L-175V Khibiny-10V) and the Su-35S (L-265 Khibiny-10M). Previous versions of the Khibiny EW complex were mounted on the wing-tips of the Su-35 and Su-34, but due to their weight they reduced these planes’ ammunition payloads. The idea of developing a single integrated system to offer protection for an air grouping seems to mimic the United States Air Force (USAF), which uses the EA-18 Growler to cover fighter groups. By mounting the new Khibiny-U under the Su-30SM, it effectively transforms the platform into an EW aircraft operating in support of a fighter group.[136] With Khibiny complexes entering service in 2014, they began to feature in operational-strategic exercises involving VKS platforms. The Khibiny EW complex for the Su-34 has been used in the Western OSK/MD to test Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) against high-technology adversaries. These typically involve up to ten aircraft, with the hypothetical enemy unable to determine whether there is a single fighter or an air grouping conducting SEAD.[137]

Such advances in Russia’s EW capabilities based on the success of military modernization prompt questions about the overall conceptual scheme in place for this process. Are they developing new or modern EW systems simply in order to have more and better systems than an adversary, or are there other underlying themes at play? The chief of the EW Forces, Lieutenant General Lastochkin, notes, for example, a distinction between “traditional” approaches toward modernizing EW systems and “innovative” ones. In his view, the traditional approach presupposes the expansion of the nomenclature of the best systems, a reduction in the type of EW assets, their integration, increased protection from precision weapons, as well as mobility and modernization potential. In the innovative plan, he identifies five key areas:

  • Deployment of controlled radio suppression units to operate in enemy territory on the basis of unified small-size reconnaissance and jamming modules delivered with the help of UAVs;
  • Creating the means of destruction by powerful electromagnetic radiation based on the use of specialized ammunition and mobile complexes;
  • Development of software impact technology on highly organized C2 systems by violating the accessibility, integrity and confidentiality of information;
  • Introduction of the means of imitation of false radio-electronic signals [electronic deception] and disinformation for enemy C2 systems;
  • Increasing the level of information security of EW command posts, improving the algorithms for supporting decision-making through a single loop of C2 for forces and assets.[138]

Lastochkin’s list of priorities for the innovative strengthening of the EW Forces’ inventory lies in the use of advanced technologies to further enhance the attack and protective roles assigned to EW. Within a space of just three years, Lastochkin’s list of future priority areas for the EW Forces’ modernization had significantly grown and, unsurprisingly, included AI and big data. Lastochkin noted that the EW Forces were already benefiting from the following: “the creation of robotic means of electronic suppression; increasing the throughput of means and complexes of electronic destruction; disorganization of communication systems and data transmission for various purposes; the fight against robotic weapons systems, military equipment and high-precision weapons, including the enemy’s UAVs; disruption of navigation and signals support; active counteraction to the means of electronic reconnaissance.”[139] Lastochkin then referred to the EW in the GPV to 2027 and said the main efforts to modernize EW in terms of innovation are as follows:

  • An increased level of information security for EW C2 through the use of big data technology in the automation systems of the EW Forces in strategic and operational levels;
  • The use of geographic information systems in all modern EW models, which will reduce the time for conducting operational-tactical calculations by three to five times;
  • Practical implementation of artificial intelligence technologies based on neural networks, which makes it possible to double the completeness and reliability of operating in the EMS;
  • Introduction of communication technologies with integration into a single unified digital communication system of the Armed Forces for the organization of continuous data exchange in all control levels;
  • Greater reliability of the storage of operational information within the EW automation systems and a provision of a time-synchronized unified information space based on cloud technologies;
  • Application of virtual and augmented reality technologies in EW simulators to improve the quality and reduce the time for training EW specialists;
  • Development means of imitation of the radio-electronic situation and the introduction of disinformation into the control system of enemy troops and weapons. Some of these areas are already being implemented in the course of the current state defense order.[140]

Lastochkin, and the EW Forces leadership, place great emphasis on exploiting AI, big data and automation in order to improve the speed and effectiveness of future Russian EW systems. And based on experimentation with EW in the course of military exercises as well as strategic-level exercises and operational insights gained in Ukraine and Syria, it is abundantly clear that EW has become an integral feature of contemporary Russian military thought. This raises questions about the nature of experimentation and testing in combat and combat support roles in Ukraine and Syria. Were there patterns involved in the type of EW systems deployed in these theaters of operations? Why was so much EW equipment sighted in southeastern Ukraine? How valuable were the lessons drawn by the General Staff from the testing and roles assigned to EW systems in Ukraine and Syria? Why do Russian EW specialists and military theorists appear to stress the experience of EW systems in operations in Syria?

 

Testing and Refining EW in Operational Environments: Ukraine and Syria

Testing and refining EW systems—whether in tactical specialist exercises or in large-scale operational-strategic military exercises, or in the course of EW Forces working closely with defense industry companies to coordinate and implement the military modernization agenda—paled in comparison with the opportunities to learn from operations in Ukraine and Syria. Each of these distinct theaters of operations afforded invaluable real-time laboratories to experiment with a wide range of systems, including those still at the R&D stage.[141] In Ukraine, prior to the large-scale re-invasion in 2022, these tests and experiments fell broadly into four categories: seizing Crimea; combined-arms interventions in support of the Russian-led separatists in southeastern Ukraine in the battles of Ilovaysk and Debaltseve; deployed Russian EW equipment and temporary deployments of EW systems in Donbas; and the presence of such systems within the separatist formations.

During the operation to annex Crimea (February–March 2014), as the various Special Forces and Airborne Forces units initially spread across the territory, the deployed EW Forces used ECM to sever military communications between the peninsula and mainland Ukraine; meaning that in the earliest stages of the operation, EW was used to isolate the Ukrainian military bases in Crimea from contact with C2 in Kyiv. Indeed, the EW Forces consider themselves, for this reason, the unsung heroes of the operation. Due to the success in severing Ukrainian military communications and effectively shutting down its C2, this eliminated the possibility of Kyiv organizing armed resistance to the invasion. As more Russian Ground Forces units were deployed to Crimea, by March 11, 2014, for example, Leer-2, Lorandit and Infauna EW systems were in evidence; the Infauna is an EW asset in the inventory of the VDV.[142]

On two occasions, Russian units and equipment were directly deployed across the border to support separatists; in August 2014 in Ilovaysk and in January–February 2015 at Debaltseve—during the talks resulting in the Minsk Two ceasefire agreement. In each case, Russian and separatist forces rapidly secured victory; in both cases, EW was used in preparing, conducting and completing the local operation.[143] In Ilovaysk (25 km east of Donetsk), Ukrainian forces were encircled by Russian Armed Forces units from Pskov and Kursk; this involved the deployment of battalion tactical groups, reconnaissance and sabotage groups, including EW units, transferred from Russian territory.[144] EW assets were deployed in preparation for the ensuing operation; these suppressed enemy communications. The EW assets included Leer-2 complexes, Rtut-BM stations to jam GPS signals and UAV data-links such as the Shipovnik-Aero, or Krasukha-2 and Krasukha-4 for suppression of communications, and the automated jamming complex Borisoglebsk-2. EW Forces carried out the following: suppressing radio communications at tactical and operational levels, fixing and locating enemy forces by identifying EMS usage, disrupting C2, blocking mobile networks, and spreading false information as part of PSYOPS (psychological operations).[145]

EW assets were deployed and used in concentric distances from the area of operations, with the closest-to-combat operations at distances of 1–3 km, with RB-531B Infauna disrupting Ukrainian military communications, supported by Rtut-BM, Leer-2 and Lorandit complexes. At a range of 15–30 km outside the line of contact, Russian EW systems included Leer-3, R-330ZH Zhitel, R-934UM and the automated Borisoglebsk-2. Further out from the line of contact, at 60–240 km, air-suppression systems were in use, such as Shipovnik-Aero, Krasukha-2, and the DRLOU A-50 airborne early-warning aircraft.[146] Russian EW was used to aid target acquisition for artillery fires. EW assets detected Ukrainian communications in order to provide targeting data to conduct accurate artillery strikes. Communications were also intercepted and PSYOPS were mounted against Ukrainian military personnel by sending negative text messages (SMS) to their phones.[147] PSYOPS and EW integration was used intermittently but targeted significant numbers of Ukrainian military personnel.[148]

In January–February 2015, the area around Debaltseve witnessed a surge in fighting, with Russian-led operations focused on securing the strategically important transport hub in Luhansk region. Russian and separatist forces saw the need to “tidy up” the area by taking Debaltseve, despite ongoing talks leading to Minsk Two. Russian EW systems prepared the battlefield and were involved during combat operations. A comprehensive technical EW monitoring group was tasked with monitoring the EMS. EW assets were deployed by the Russian Armed Forces for direction finding/geolocation, or disrupting enemy communications among other features. This also featured automated jammers. The overall scheme of the EW operations implemented an automated cycle of radio-survey/detection, jamming and intelligence analysis working closely with SIGINT and providing information in real time.[149] The high level of accuracy in artillery fires stemmed from successful employment of EW to fix and locate enemy targets by identifying cellular emissions in communications between Ukrainian service members.[150] Russia’s military actions in Donbas afforded experimental opportunities for various EW systems, ranging from disorganizing enemy C2, warping information in support of PSYOPS, jamming, blocking and disrupting the adversary’s communications and radars, and disorganizing the enemy’s ability to maintain C2 during operations.[151]

In an insightful analysis of Russian EW deployments in Ukraine, Sergey Sukhankin, a Senior Fellow at The Jamestown Foundation, drew the following conclusions about the purpose and role played in testing these systems since 2014:[152]

  1. Radio-electronic intelligence gathering and interception. This element is best seen in the testing of the RB-636 “Svet-KU” system, which is specifically concerned with “control […] and monitoring of radio signals […] transmitted by radio channels.” According to Russian sources, this complex can—under certain circumstances (GSM, CDMA2000 and UMTS networks)—independently block systems of communication.

  2. Radio-electronic suppression, which is primarily tested through the employment of the following two systems:

    • The “Tirada-2” jamming complex, which was first spotted in Donbas in 2019. This complex has also been tested—within the scope of military exercises—on the territory of the Central Military District (CMD), in Sverdlovsk Oblast. Russian sources have claimed that Tirada-2 is primarily concerned with tasks related to location and blocking and suppression of communications satellites. In commenting on the results of those exercises in the CMD, Russian sources have argued that this complex is capable of not only blocking but also completely incapacitating enemy satellites.
    • The R-934B “Sinitsa” jamming station, whose main tasks are concerned with disrupting target-setting for the adversary’s aviation and blocking data transmission from reconnaissance aircraft. Russian experts have compared the Sinitsa against the Krasukha mobile, ground-based EW system (also spotted by the OSCE mission Ukraine in 2018), which is capable of disrupting low Earth orbit satellites and cause permanent damage to targeted radio-electronic devices. And according to these specialists, the Krasukha is more like a “rapier” (due to its centered angle of coverage and suppression) while the Sinitsa is more like a “club” (due to a much wider and broader coverage). Interestingly, the most recent (since early 2021) reports from the front line note that “the UAF is experiencing difficulties with radio connections as well as reconnaissance,” which is attributed by Ukrainian sources to “actions of the Russian EW forces.”
  3. Informational-psychological operations—not a new phenomenon—have acquired some new traits.[153]

The Russian-led separatists, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and the Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) are organized into the 1st (DPR) and 2nd Army Corps (LPR); each of these structures contains an EW company.[154] While much of the Russian EW assets identified on the territory of southeastern Ukraine may well feature in the inventories of these army corps at the company level, other systems reportedly seen and used in Donbas belong at the Russian EW brigade level.[155]

In 2019, Ukrainian Major General Borys Kremenetsky detailed the Russian use of EW in southeastern Ukraine and also delineated a number of the systems used along with their roles.[156] Kremenetsky stressed key functions of Russian EW units, including:

degrading radio communications (the sudden disappearance of radio communication due to unknown reasons), blocking cellular (GSM) radio signals without their further restoration, defining the points of access and targeting the areas of mass access to GSM communication, using radio-electronic warfare capabilities to spot the location of counterbattery radars, using new physical principles to destroy electronic equipment (the Murmansk-BN played a special role), sending cellular text messages to the private phones of Ukrainian soldiers and ascertaining (through data obtained from smartphones) their location.[157]

Kremenetsky claimed that the Murmansk-BN had been used effectively in Donbas to destroy Ukrainian electronic equipment.[158] However, as noted, the Murmansk-BN was designed for the Russian VMF, first introduced into the fleets in 2016, functioning as part of the navy’s EW Centers. The system is already deployed in Crimea, raising the question as to why the Russian EW Forces would need to send this system into Donbas since the same effects could be achieved from the Crimean peninsula, given its reported range. Nonetheless, this sighting and use of such Russian EW systems in southeastern Ukraine not only confirms assets above the company level and, therefore, evidently in the inventory of the Russian Armed Forces; it also suggests that such assets are regularly rotated in and out of Donbas as part of conflict escalation control rehearsals.

Many Russian EW systems were deployed and trialed in both Ukraine and Syria. However, unlike in Ukraine, the use of EW systems in Syria afforded broader opportunities to test these in the context of high-technology opponents, albeit indirectly; also adding aircraft and air-based EW systems into the mix. Russia’s military operations in Syria, commencing in late September 2015, were designated by the defense ministry as an “aerospace operation” and, therefore, largely restricted to air strikes and close air support for the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). That said, it also involved limited on-the-ground support both for Russian Special Forces and military advisors involved in the training of SAA units. All this necessitated EW support.[159]

Initially, EW operations appeared limited to force protection in terms of air assets and base protection. By October 2015, Russia deployed the Krasukha-4 ground-based EW system to its airbase near Latakia. The Krasukha-4 is a multifunctional jammer, mainly designed to jam airborne radars.[160] Deploying the system to the Khmeimim airbase was part of a process to support other air-defense assets to protect the base from air attack. In terms of assessments, it is likely the Russian military wanted to field test the system to check its reliability, since there were reports raising doubts about the Krasukha-4.[161] Moscow requested that the details of its deconfliction agreement with Washington in the fall of 2015 not be released. Yet reportedly, its agreement with Israel included reference to “electromagnetic arenas,” suggesting that Israeli concern about VKS activity in Syria included EW.[162]

Following the Turkish Air Force shooting down a Russian Su-24M in late November 2015, air-defense and EW components were markedly stepped up. In the months following the incident with the Turkish Air Force, Moscow sought to strengthen air defense and supporting EW at key locations in Syria to enhance its force protection.[163]

In addition to the Krasukha-4, the most readily identifiable Russian EW assets in Syria were the Khibiny and Leer-3, though some other assets may have been moved in and out in support of operations or to experiment with the air-defense mix. Khibiny ECM pods were frequently in evidence on the wingtips of Su-30SM, Su-34 and Su-35S platforms deployed in Latakia, providing individual platform protection and acting as jammers.[164] The General Staff would have paid close attention to how these pods functioned in a combat environment, in addition to referencing the meteorological conditions. Russian EW systems, for example, used passive tracking to build a database of coalition aircraft signatures. Reportedly, the US AC-130 and the EC-130H Compass Cell EW aircraft experienced jamming of their communications and GPS.

The deployment of the Su-34 is of special interest since it was earmarked to receive the larger Tarantul ECM pod; this is likely in support of the Khibiny system.[165] Indeed, the absence of the larger ECM pods for air group cover may explain why most airstrikes were conducted by the older Su-24s and Su-25s operating without escorts. Ground operations alongside the SAA against enemy forces certainly heavily relied upon the Leer-3 system. It is highly likely that this asset aided SAA assaults on opposition forces since it is used to jam cellular networks and would have degraded the ability of these adversary forces to communicate with each other.[166] It is also user friendly in such operational environments since it involves the Orlan-10 UAV, removing the jammer/operator from harm’s way. Some Russian sources suggest that when the Leer-3 was first deployed to Syria, it could only function against GSM, while its ability to operate against 3G and 4G networks was unconfirmed.[167]

An illustration of the force protection element in EW deployments to Syria was provided in January 2018. EW and air defense assets deployed to protect its Khmeimim airbase near Latakia successfully countered an enemy UAV swarm attack on January 5, 2018. Of the 13 UAVs used in that attack, 6 were brought down solely by EW systems. Russian EW systems have similarly been used to disrupt a number of later enemy UAV swarm attacks. Indeed, the risk that such attacks could involve much larger numbers of drones led Russian companies involved in EW manufacturing to conclude that air defenses require miniature hit-to-kill missiles—similar to the systems under development for the US military by Lockheed Martin.[168]

Moscow-based military expert Vladimir Gundarov in an article in Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, referred to a report issued in 2019 by the Washington-based Center for Advanced Defense Studies, in which four Russian EW systems were identified as posing a threat to GPS. These are the Krasukha-4 at the Khmeimim airbase, the R-330Zh Zhitel jamming station deployed at the Aleppo airport, as well as the Samarkand and Rosevnik-AERO EW systems. The author explains, “The technical characteristics of the latter two are unknown, as are their locations in Syria, if they are present there. According to a representative of the United Instrument-Making Corporation, where Rosevnik-AERO is made, this complex simply hacks into the drone’s onboard computer when it encounters a familiar system, and if it is unknown, it still takes it under its control in a few minutes.” Gundarov uses this report to make two critically important points. First, he asserts that the US intelligence community has been unable to determine whether the R-330Zh Zhitel works as part of the R-330M1P Diabazol automated jamming complex or if it operates autonomously. Second, he draws attention to data from the International Space Station in the spring of 2018, showing that GPS signal spoofing was located at the Khmeimim airbase, “the nerve center of the Russian military campaign in Syria.” Gundarov concludes, “The signals successfully mimicked genuine GPS satellites but did not carry reliable navigation information. In fact, the receivers receiving these ‘fake’ signals confirmed that they were in contact with the satellites, but could not calculate their location or time, which effectively rendered the products inoperable.”[169]

In a detailed September 2021 article in Armeyskiy Sbornik, the Russian EW officer authors examine the panning and deployment of EW Forces to a conflict zone based upon recent operational experience. Though the authors do not specifically refer to operations in Syria, this was the apparent operational environment they had in mind when they outlined the tasks performed by EW Forces and assets in contemporary armed conflicts. The authors state,

The primary task was to protect groups of forces at assembly areas against radio-electronic intelligence gathering from space and also against possible strikes by tactical and carrier-borne aircraft. For this, they employed jamming stations that excluded intelligence gathering from space over an area of 200 km by 200 km. The stations were also able to determine aircraft types according to emissions from their onboard radars, and provide electronic jamming when instructed by air defense commanders. In order to degrade illegal combatants’ command and control, electronic jamming was applied to satellite, cellular, and VHF radio communications.

In the initial phase of the operation, guerrilla leaders made extensive use of satellite communications for command and control. To stop this, specialized EW devices were used that could intelligently affect satellite communications and block their operation across the entire conflict zone. Public cellular networks were used across the entire conflict zone for guerrilla command and control, but blocking these in an entire country was not feasible, because they were also used by the civilian population and armed forces. Total blocking was imposed only in important areas and individual sectors where military operations were in progress. Illegal combatants also used classic analogue VHF radio for command and control, and effective jamming of these by mobile EW groups forced them to switch to modern digital forms of communication. When they did this, it was possible to test ways of disabling those communications in real-life conditions.[170]

Much of this overview of the type of EW roles and missions in a theater of military operations such as Syria primarily relates to force protection, or in EW terms: EP. In disrupting enemy C2, particularly among formations targeted in operations by the SAA with CAS (close air support) from the Russian VKS or on-the-ground assistance, these adversary formations depended on both satellite and analogue VHF radio. Only after these formations experienced the jamming of these communications did they switch to digital communications, which permitted the testing of EW systems designed to jam these. It is also worth highlighting that in the main, these instances of jamming are selective and targeted, only on rarer occasions did the Russian EW Forces opt to impose total blocking. This stemmed from enemy formations using public cellular networks for C2: “Total blocking was imposed only in important areas and individual sectors where military operations were in progress.”[171]

While the Russian General Staff considers the involvement of its Armed Forces in operations in Syria as having provided a unique testing opportunity for equipment, weapons systems and military personnel that far outstrips Russia’s experience in Ukraine, it should be noted that in terms of EW experimentation it also permitted testing systems in an EMS contested environment. In numerous presentations and lectures that this author has delivered to audiences in NATO capitals, EW officers frequently raise the objection as to how much the Russian General Staff may learn from testing EW systems in Ukraine or Syria, since the opposition was not technologically advanced in either case. Yet it is precisely this aspect in the case of Russia’s involvement in Syria that distinguishes its operational experience compared to Ukraine.[172] In Syria, Russian systems could test their ability to passively track, jam or disrupt communications among United States and coalition air forces flying missions; though the Russian military was, of course, not in direct conflict with the US or coalition forces, its presence there was made known to Western air platforms operating in the EMS.

Evidence of the challenges presented to the United States Air Force operating in Syria following the deployment of Russia’s Armed Forces in September 2015 are numerous and certainly credible. These frequently appear in US defense publications, and many of these are picked up by Russian defense journalists for coverage within the Russian media. An example of this relates to comments by General Raymond Thomas, the then-head of US Special Operations Command, made during the GEOINT 2018 symposium in April 2018. General Thomas complained that the “enemy” was jamming American aircraft systems in Syria. He described the situation with electronic warfare as “the most aggressive in the world.” Thomas asserted: “They are testing us every day, they are jamming our communications, and they are incapacitating the AC-130 (fire support aircraft).”[173]

Arsenal Otechestva (Arsenal of the Fatherland) editor Aleksei Leonkov considered this unsurprising: “In actual fact, the Americans’ custom of fighting with a weak opponent has manifested itself. Since 1991, the US has conducted all of its military conflicts against states, whose electronic warfare systems were very weak or were not used at all.” Former US Army Electronic Warfare Division Chief, Colonel Lorie Bakhut noted, “Our main problem is that we have not fought in conditions of jammed communications for several decades so we have no idea how to fight like that. We have not only no tactics, algorithms of actions, or the procedures to accomplish them, but not even training for the conduct of combat operations in the absence of communications.” The Moscow-based military expert Dmitry Drozdenko explained that Russian systems jam communications channels, and jamming emerges in the frequencies used by US military personnel for the exchange of information: “As a result, information does not flow between the C2 centers and the combat units, and the armed forces actually turn out to be blind. If a radar installation is conducting a target search and is tracking the space around it, it sees not only actual targets but also a large number of decoys.” Leonkov stressed that all EW systems operate based upon a single principle: they accomplish reconnaissance missions, in other words, they determine the frequencies, the operating modes of the communications and navigation systems, and their location. After this, they begin to jam the signal: “The output of these signals is greater than that of the transceivers, and therefore, the reliable jamming of communications, reconnaissance, and navigation systems is carried out.”[174]

US General Thomas pointed out that the AC-130 aircraft is vulnerable to the impact of EW. The Lockheed AC-130 is an airborne close-support battery for ground forces subunits on the battlefield; it is based upon a C-130 transport aircraft and is equipped with several artillery pieces. This aircraft is dependent on the support of allied forces, and if the communications channels to it are blocked, it cannot identify targets at night or distinguish foreign forces from their own during the day. Moreover, in the general’s opinion, there is a danger of Russian EW systems impacting on the EC-130H Compass Call EW aircraft.[175] The detection of enemy jammers and the transmission of data to conduct a strike is one of the EC-130H’s missions. However, enemy EW systems are capable of hacking it. Blocking the signals of GPS transmitters and receivers using EW can make it impossible not only to attack targets but even create problems with navigation. Furthermore, it is possible to use electronic systems to disrupt the communications of operators with UAVs, which results in their loss. General Thomas also stressed that Russia was not using EW systems at full strength in Syria, but were it to, the US would lose all communications in the region. In turn, former US Army EW Division Chief Lorie Bakhut pointed out that the US does not possess as extensive EW capabilities as Russia: “We have very good communications intelligence, and we can monitor everyone and everything, but we do not possess one tenth of their capabilities to disable hardware.”[176]

In the summer 2021 issue of the Air and Space Power Journal, USAF Captain Stefan Morell confirmed instances of Russian EW systems causing severe problems for US Air Force pilots operating in Syria in the period 2017–2019:[177]

This author experienced the firsthand effects of degraded communications impacting centralized control in the permissive air environment over Syria in 2017–2019. On numerous occasions, this author could not establish both voice and digital communications with the AOC [Air Operations Command] due to Joint C2 equipment degradation and could not pass information or receive data from the AOC such as the commander’s intent for a new tactical situation. When, for example, one is flying on a low illumination night while within the visual range of Russian fighters over Syria, and one is unable to pass mission-critical information to an AOC or receive authorization to execute certain tactics to lower risk, it is an extremely uncomfortable feeling. The Joint C2 enterprise needs a newer, more robust datalink and to be restructured away from the centralized control of air assets.[178]

Although the Russian EW deployments to Syria were not mainly calculated to play cat-and-mouse with US military platforms, this was an unanticipated benefit of operating in the same theater of operations. Furthermore, the US military in Syria primarily used air-based EW systems, but Russia also deployed numerous ground-based complexes there for force protection. Ground-based EW complexes are more powerful and stronger than airborne systems due to their power-producing capabilities. Russia’s deployment of EW assets to support its operations in Syria was primarily focused on force protection, aiding air defense, and facilitating on-the-ground operations spearheaded by its Special Forces and the SAA. Many of these systems were deployed to test and further refine EW capabilities. Equally, a degree of testing network-centric operations occurred, with critical support from EW Forces, while additional testing related to how to construct sufficient layered zonal air defense in the vicinity of Russian military assets in Tartus, Latakia and at temporary forward operating bases.[179] In the context of force protection, Russian EW systems played a significant role in reducing aircraft combat losses as well as protecting relatively small numbers of Russian ground forces deployed in support of the SAA.

 

EW Forces as a Future Arm of Service

The testing and experience gained in Ukraine and, even more so, in Syria, undoubtedly greatly boosted the confidence of Russia’s EW Forces, contributed to their force development, and advanced their systems and equipment. Consequently, as of the beginning of 2022, Russian EW specialists saw a bright future ahead for the EW Forces, expecting continued investment, modernization and an expanded role for the service.[180] Shortly after the deployment of the VKS and Russia’s entry into the conflict in Syria in September 2015, Russian EW specialists started advancing the idea that there should be a marked change to the status of the EW Forces within the Russian military structure. This relates to the distinction between the Russian terms vid and rod. In the structure of Russia’s Armed Forces, a service branch, vid, is higher than an arm of service, rod. To illustrate the point, the Ground Forces, VKS and VMF are all service branches of the Armed Forces, each with the designation vid; while the arms of service are the RVSN and the VDV, individually identified by the term rod. Although the EW Forces, as already noted, function throughout the branches and arms of service in a combat support role, since late 2015 leading Russian EW officers have promoted the idea that the EW Forces should be upgraded to the status of an independent arm of service (rod).[181]

Evidently this aspiration implies the utmost confidence in the growing capabilities provided by the EW Forces. Of course, it could easily be dismissed as an effort to secure greater funding in the future or simply as an abstract theoretical discussion among an elite core of serving EW officers.[182] Yet on the funding issue, it should be recalled that few Western analysts had foreseen the downgrading of the RVSN in June 2001 from a branch of service to an arm of service; but no one would argue today that the RVSN is any less well funded as a result. And far from merely representing an internal discussion at the level of military theory, the push to upgrade the EW Forces in the future to the level of a combat arm contains something fundamentally revolutionary about the role of EW in contemporary Russian military thought: that EW can achieve the same objective as that provided by force structures based around the application of kinetic force.

This bold assertion first surfaced in an article in Voyennaya Mysl’ in December 2015. Colonel Yu. Ye. Donskov, Colonel A. S. Korobeynikov and Lieutenant Colonel O. G. Nikitin, all specialist officers in the EW Forces, offered an updated definition of EW as an arm of the Ground Forces, perspectives on EW targeting, and the use of EW in fighting electronic and information war during a Ground Forces operation. In the same issue of Voyennaya Mysl’, the chief of the EW Forces, Lieutenant General Yury Lastochkin, also strongly advocated the upgrading of the EW Forces to an arm of service. It appears that the placing of these articles involved coordination between the authors.[183] In their piece, Donskov, Korobeynikov and Nikitin assert,

The authors have familiarized themselves with the definitions of the purposes fulfilled by the other arms of the Ground Forces and with the requirements they have to meet, and, as a summary of the arguments they have made throughout this text, they suggest their own definition of the EW Forces’ purpose. The EW Forces are an arm of the Ground Forces in the Russian Federation’s Armed Forces that has been activated to disorganize the information support for the adversary’s combat actions and to protect the troops and assets of joint forces (formations) of their own Ground Forces from attack by guided weapons.[184] The wording of this definition gives a clear indication that the adversary’s system of information support for his combat actions and employment of his guided missiles are the EW forces’ principal targets in a defensive army operation. In turn, the adversary’s electronic and information technology facilities and assets serving various purposes in the reconnaissance, communication, and data collection, processing, distribution, and storage subsystems are the immediate targets of the friendly forces’ attacks.[185]

It should be stressed that the authors believe the EW Forces were already functioning de facto as an arm of service subordinate to the Ground Forces, but they add that this fact provides the main qualification for considering EW as a combat arm in its own right:

The status of an arm of the service, the second highest in the hierarchy of military echelons, qualifies its command to conduct combat actions (typically, on a scale it is equipped for and capable of). The biggest and most important arms of the Ground Forces (motorized infantry and armor, missiles and artillery, and air defense) engage in operations to destroy enemy armor, armored vehicles.[186]

Here, the authors are not suggesting that the EW systems’ application in combat can directly equate to using “traditional” means to attack a target by kinetic force, but EW can effectively disable the target, they argue, implying something other than temporary jamming. This also reflects the changing character of modern warfare, with the rapid advances in information and electronic technologies, widescale use of electronic and information-based capabilities by military forces, their reliance on the principles of network-centric information support in combat, and the development of modern EW assets by every branch and arm of service.[187]

Other Russian EW Forces officers soon followed with articles lobbying for the upgrade to the service’s status. For example, in a September 2016 article written by a group of Russian EW specialists in Voyennaya Mysl’, the evolution of EW was placed in this context, and the authors assert that in the future, EW will transform into an arm of service—meaning it would move from a combat support role into a full-fledged combat arm. I. Korolyov, S. Kozlitin and O. Nikitin note,

The first decade of the 21st century was marked by several factors that indirectly influenced not only the EW forces and assets composition and place in operations, but also their combat use methods, accordingly. The first factor is related to a qualitatively new material base for the information support to the troop command and control. Passing to network-centric information support for combat actions, including that for the troop command and control, realized by the leading foreign armies, together with forming a Common EW Information and Communications Environment, based on these principles, not only significantly complicated the conditions for combating the adversary’s radio communication system and information-driven assets but also revealed an inadequacy in existing approaches to disorganizing the troop command and control.[188]

Korolyov, Kozlitin and Nikitin highlight the growing importance of EW in Russian operations, its transformative character, and its potential to shape the battlespace in an information era to argue that it may well merit elevation to a combat role in itself.[189] These themes were also covered in detail in additional articles in Voyennaya Mysl’ and Vestnik in 2019, either directly or indirectly advocating the upgrading of the EW Forces to a combat arm.[190] However, since his first article in Voyennya Mysl’, putting his weight behind the drive to boost the role of the EW Forces within Russia’s Armed Forces, Lastochkin, the chief of the EW Forces, has proved both consistent and quite prolific.[191]

Lastochkin’s undoubted contribution to promoting service interests has also culminated in presenting a set of arguments in favor of raising the EW Forces to the status of an arm of service. In December 2020, the lieutenant general, no doubt aiming to reach a senior General Staff readership, again chose Voyennaya Mysl’ as the platform for this latest effort. His article, “Perspektivy razvitiya voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by Vooruzhennykh Sil Rossiyskoy Federatsii” (“Prospects for the Development of EW Forces in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation”), examines the external and internal factors within the system that affect the long-term progress of the EW Forces. Lastochkin analyzes the fundamental features of an arm of service before again advocating the EW Forces should become a combat arm.[192]

Of particular note, he confirms that the content of the GPV to 2027 facilitates, among other features, the EW Forces’ capability to conduct “systematic actions” and deliver “electronic strikes” to destroy “electronic and information-technical enemy targets,” and it provides a basis for playing a leading role in the operational tasks of disrupting enemy C2. These processes are set to continue in the GPV to 2033. Lastochkin also highlights the need to further develop military art and tactics for the EW Forces, and he recommends changing the algorithms for organizing and conducting EW based on decision support systems.[193]

On the basic elements of an arm of service, Lastochkin states that they must have:

  • Their own operational task or dominance in its implementation;

  • Their own forms and methods of combat use in the performance of tasks assigned to them in the operations of operational-strategic formations of the services of the Russian Armed Forces;

  • The availability of an appropriate set of formations, including formations equipped with heterogeneous means;

  • The level of organization of the combat use of balanced groupings of corresponding types of forces both to the level of organization inherent in the main elements of an operational structure, and reflecting the specifics of planning the implementation of an operational task.[194]

Lastochkin then outlines the goal for the future of the EW Forces as follows:

The long-term goal of reforming the forces and means of electronic warfare of the Russian Armed Forces can be defined as: “the creation of a branch of the Russian Armed Forces with sufficient potential to fulfill tasks for effective electronic defeat (suppression) of the enemy in all spheres (in space, in the air, on the ground and at sea), for the entire depth of its operational formation in the theater of operations, as well as for electronic protection of its troops (forces) in peacetime and wartime.[195]

To achieve this goal, he suggests the EW Forces must achieve the following:

  • Development of the fundamentals of the operational art and tactics of the EW Forces;

  • Formation of a regulatory and legal framework for the creation of a new type of force: the radio-electronic troops;

  • Improvement of the organizational structure of the EW Forces;

  • Improvement of the EW Forces armament system.[196]

He points to the ongoing improvement of systems for the EW Forces through the introduction of modern information (digital) technologies, focused on processing large amounts of data, use of AI, virtual reality, and other areas of science and technology, which is increasing their overall effectiveness and capabilities. However, in order to successfully raise the status of the EW Forces, further structural changes will be required, as well as proving their effectiveness as a combat arm compared to traditional means of destruction:

To improve the organizational structure of the EW Forces, the following is required: a set of formations and units of EW Forces at a strategic level on the one hand, must ensure the completeness and comprehensiveness of the impact on complex electronic and information-technical objects, and on the other hand, it must minimize the dependence on the effectiveness of the application means of fire destruction. With this in mind, military scientific research is being conducted to substantiate sets of heterogeneous forces and means of EW Forces in combat arms formations, taking into account the dynamics of entry into service of promising equipment.[197]

 

Conclusion

Modern military operations conducted by the militaries of the most technologically advanced countries are accompanied by the use of electronic warfare, including radio, radar, radio-technical intelligence or reconnaissance; active and passive jamming with specialized aircraft, onboard aircraft, and sea-based and ground-based systems; as well as the physical destruction of enemy electronic assets. Nevertheless, EW systems cannot be characterized as a “miracle weapon” capable of ultimately deciding the success or failure of any given military operation. Still, a skillful application of EW assets can certainly provide an edge on the battlefield, supplying the opportunity to first see or identify enemy forces and hardware and then sever communications, disrupt C2 and even to destroy adversary targets.[198]

In this analysis, an explanation and dissection of Russian EW capabilities along with its emergence as a key instrument in the application of hard power in the modern and future battlespace has shown its burgeoning role in contemporary Russian military thought. EW within Russian military theory contains an elasticity of definition that reflects the evolution of its role in Russian military thought combined with ongoing changes in the character of war itself. The term radioelektronnaya bor’ba (electronic warfare) has grown in the Russian military lexicon to encompass a range of attributes, from military-technical to its place among the wider set of military capabilities at the disposal of the Russian state.[199] As part of these complex processes, EW has over time emerged as an important combat support element. And seen in the context of its broader military modernization and adoption of network-centric approaches to warfare harnessing information-based systems, EW has metastasized into an add-on support capability to critical military capabilities such as air defense or artillery fires.[200] Similarly, attempts to clearly define the precise meaning of EW in Russian military thought depend on the prism through which any particular Russian specialist or theorist examines its functions; it can appear symbiotic with information warfare, information confrontation, cyber warfare, and the use of airpower or maritime platforms.

EW played a role in Russian military operations as far back as its defeat in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), with ongoing development in its importance and exploitation especially in Soviet operations during the Great Patriotic War (1941–1945); it was also a feature of Soviet forces during the Cold War.[201] In more recent history, from its experiences of low-intensity conflicts in Chechnya or its short conflict in August 2008 in Georgia, Russia had used EW with limited successes and failures. But the reorganization and reequipping of the EW Forces following the decision to reform the Armed Forces in late 2008 has resulted in force transformation into a credible combat support element, tried and tested in operations in Ukraine and Syria.[202] The restructuring has infused Russia’s EW Forces throughout all branches and arms of service, accompanied by the reorganization of the defense industry base for EW development and the construction of the necessary training infrastructure.

During the military modernization initiated following the beginning of the 2008 reform process, Russia’s EW Forces have received into service EW systems across the branches and arms of service, testing these in combat training and in specialist tactical exercises or operational-strategic level exercises; this has also included force integration training with non–defense ministry security forces. These EW systems, largely benefiting from Soviet-era designs, have demonstrated credible capability to achieve the desired effects across the range of EW application. R&D evidently envisages building on these achievements to introduce a new generation of systems to displace existing models. The focus for future R&D relates to automation, AI and robotic technologies to enhance speed and performance characteristics. Some aspects of work in the Air Force Academy in Voronezh, for example, such as creating the training and research foundation to develop systems and approaches to combat enemy robotic EW complexes, confirm the extent to which the long-term vision for military modernization includes EW.[203]

The conflicts in Ukraine and Syria provided opportunities to combat test a wide range of EW systems, including prototypes. EW Forces were used in the annexation of Crimea, in early 2014, to swiftly sever communications between Ukrainian Armed Forces units on the peninsula and their command centers in Kyiv; as the operation unfolded, EW Forces were involved at every stage. The subsequent destabilization of southeastern Ukraine also supplied a testing ground for EW complexes over the coming years, either in support of Russian-led separatists or directly by Russian forces; this was most evident in the decisive battles of Ilovaysk and Debaltseve. Russia’s Armed Forces have also briefly rotated EW systems into Donbas prior to the outbreak of full-scale war in 2022, most likely to rehearse conflict escalation control and contingency planning for containing any surge in the fighting. By far the most important testing ground, however, was provided as a result of Russia’s intervention in Syria in September 2015; a much broader range of EW systems were tested there, including air-based assets.[204] Despite the overriding use of EW in Syria revolving around force protection, it also allowed the General Staff to gain deeper insight into how these systems might function in a conflict with a technologically advanced peer adversary.

Numerous publicly available accounts by serving and retired US military personnel confirm that Russian EW systems presented challenges for US air platforms operating in an EMS contested environment. To be clear, Russian EW systems can certainly jam and disrupt US/NATO C4ISR, which has been amply demonstrated in Syria.[205] In fact, these systems are not only capable of disrupting US/NATO C4ISR, disorganizing C2 and jamming sensors and C2 nodes, they were designed to do precisely this. Over the past 20 years, as US and NATO forces were involved in combating international terrorism, engaging in counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere, the notion of large-scale inter-state warfare has never been far from Russian military thought and planning. Since Russia’s Military Doctrine (2014) depicts the US and NATO as the principal potential threats to its security, it is unsurprising that R&D and defense procurement focuses on systems development to counter these potential threats; it is clearly visible in the modernization of the EW inventory.

The Russian EW Forces’ senior officer leadership is undoubtedly buoyed with a high level of confidence about the value and role of EW in modern armed conflict, following more than a decade of sustained state investment in modernizing the inventory and the increased importance attached to this combat support service by the General Staff. Indeed, this has been furthered by the successful exploitation of Russian EW assets and specialists operating in Syria. The articles and interviews by these EW officers in professional military journals or media is characterized by a high level of confidence. Moreover, this confidence has given rise, as already detailed, to these officers advancing the idea that the EW Forces should, in the future, be elevated to the role of an arm of service, thus fulfilling a combat role rather than restricted to combat support. It appears to go beyond merely lobbying for greater state investment in EW, which is already occurring.[206] This not only exudes confidence in existing EW capabilities; it also raises the issue of application of EW systems to jam, disrupt and disorganize enemy systems and C2 as well as to cause their destruction. The use of the Murmansk-BN EW system in southeastern Ukraine, for instance, according to Ukrainian sources, suggests this capability already exists in some cases and could doubtlessly be even more commonplace in the future.[207]

Whether or not Russia’s EW Forces eventually emerge as an arm of service with assigned combat roles, the EW capability that has been forged over more than the past decade is certainly formidable. In presentations and discussions this author has had with US/NATO EW officers, a common view is that Russia’s EW Forces are several years ahead of their Western counterparts.[208] This can only be corrected if there is sufficient understanding among the political leadership of the significance of Russian EW advances and a consequent willingness to guide Western defense companies to re-orientate priorities toward countering such systems in potential conflicts with peer adversaries. Another aspect that is commonplace among US/NATO EW officers is their surprise that Russian EW officers appear to think so much in terms of using these systems for offensive operations.[209] In reality, within Russian military culture and military strategic thought, the distinction between “offensive” versus “defensive” is a misnomer.

This is not to argue that technologically, system for system, there is a clear Russian advantage over individual US/NATO EW systems. The real strength of Russian EW is that it is designed to combat specific enemy systems and capabilities, and Moscow’s political-military leadership is open about the identity of that potential adversary. Moreover, this capability strength stems from the extent to which it infuses the Russian Armed Forces’ organic structure, located across the branches and arms of service at strategic, operational and tactical levels; it permeates the entire combat system. As such, it simultaneously fulfills the role of combat support, force enabler and force multiplier. Moreover, EW has become an intrinsic feature of contemporary Russian military thought on the conduct of combat operations. As Russian EW officers have succinctly observed: “Electronic warfare achieves its aims to the greatest effect when used in coordination with firepower.”[210]

 

Notes

[1] The author wishes to express his gratitude to the following individuals for reviewing and commenting on an earlier draft of this paper: Charles K. Bartles, Peter Liivet, Guy Plopsky and Greg Whisler.

[2] Niels Bo Poulsen & Jørgen Staun (Eds.), Russia’s Military Might – A Portrait of its Armed Forces, Copenhagen, 2021.

[3] I. Sutyagin and J. Bronk, Russia’s New Ground Forces – Capabilities, Limitations and Implications for International Security, London: Royal United Services Institute, 2017.

[4] Referring to the distinction between the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) and the EME, Commander Ignacio Nieto observes, “The lessons learned from the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria provide a unique insight into the complexity of conducting military operations in a congested and contested Electro-Magnetic Spectrum (EMS). Even though the term ‘spectrum’ is well understood by the majority, it is the Electro-Magnetic Environment (EME) which best captures the message NATO [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization] tries to convey when it comes to operating, exploiting, transmitting and receiving, or sending electromagnetic energy in time and space. In this vein, NATO nations have agreed to define EME as all of the electromagnetic phenomena occurring in a given place. Phenomena more than radio frequencies are better aligned with the essence of EME.” Ignacio Nieto, ‘The Electromagnetic Environment and the Global Commons: Are we Ready to Take the Fight to the Spectrum?’ Joint Air Power Competence Center, https://www.japcc.org/the-electromagnetic-environment-and-the-global-commons/#:~:text=In%20the%20transformation%20document%2C%20NATO,planning%20of%20every%20single%20operation., January 2020.

[5] Author lectures on Russian EW, Fuhrungsakademie, Hamburg, June 2, 2021, September 10, 2021; Author interviews with NATO EW officers, May 18, 2021, June 22-24, 2021.

[6] Yu. Ye. Donskov, A. S. Korobeynikov, O. G. Nikitin, ‘K voprosu o prednaznachenii, meste i roli voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by v armeyskikh operatsiyakh,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.12, 2015, pp.20–24.

[7] This is explored in greater detail in: Roger McDermott, ‘Tracing Russia’s Path to Network-Centric Military Capability,’ The Jamestown Foundation, December 4, 2020, https://jamestown.org/program/tracing-russias-path-to-network-centric-military-capability/; Roger McDermott, ‘Russia’s Entry to Sixth-Generation Warfare: the ‘Non-Contact’ Experiment in Syria,’ The Jamestown Foundation, May 29, 2021, https://jamestown.org/program/russias-entry-to-sixth-generation-warfare-the-non-contact-experiment-in-syria/.

 

[8] Yu. Ye, Gorbachev, S. N. Pogodin, ‘Vzglyady komandovaniya vooruzhennykh sil SShA na sushchnost’ i soderzhaniye elektromagnitnoy voyny,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.3, 2021, pp.129–139; V.A. Balybin, ‘Nauchno-issledovatel’skiy ispytatel’nyy institut (radioelektronnoy bor’by) — 60 let na strazhe efira,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.12, 2020, pp.78–85.

[9] Cited in ‘JP-385 Joint Electromagnetic Spectrum Operations,’ May 22, 2020, https://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Doctrine/pubs/jp3_85.pdf?ver=2020-04-09-140128-347.

[10] Tsvetnov V. V, Demin V. P, Kupriyanov A. I, Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Radiomaskirovka i pomekhozashchita, Moscow: MAI, 1999, Volume 1, pp.240; Tsvetnov V. V., Demin V. P., Kupriyanov A. I, Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Radiorazvedka i radioprotivodeystviye, Moscow: MAI, 1998, Volume 2, pp. 248.

[11] Colonel M. Doskalov, ‘Perspektivy razvitiya sistemy radioelektronnoy bor’by rossiyskoy federatsii na period do 2020 goda,’ http://federalbook.ru/files/OPK/Soderjanie/OPK-9/III/Doskalov.pdf, May 21, 2013.

[12] V. Silyuntsev, V. Demin, D. Prokhorov, ‘Boyevoye primeneniye REB,’ Armeyskiy Sbornik, July 2016, pp. 43-53; Kruglov, ‘Perspektivy razvitiya amerikanskikh sredtsv REB I taktika ikh primeneniya v sovremennykh vooruzhonnnykh konfliktakh,’ Zarubezhnoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, No. 2, 2014, pp. 57-63; Dobykin V. D., Kupriyanov A. I., Ponomarov V. G., Shustov L. N, Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Silovoye porazheniye radioelektronnykh sistem, Moscow: Vuzovskaya kniga, 2007; Paliy A. I, Ocherki istorii radioelektronnoy bor’by, Moscow: Vuzovskaya kniga, 2006.

[13] A. Paliy, ‘Radioelektronnaya bor’ba v khode voyny’” Voyenna Istoricheskiy Zhurnal, No. 5, 1976, pp. 10–16.

[14] V. Baulin, A. Kondratyev, ‘Realizatsiia kontseptsii ‘setetsentricheskaia voina v VMS SShA,’ Zarubezhnoe Voennoe Obozrenie, No. 6, June 2009; Burenok, V, ‘Bazis setecentricheskih voyn – operezhenie, intellect, innovacii,’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, 2 April, 2010; Burenok, V, Kravchenko, A, Smirnov, S, ‘Kurs – na stetsentrcheskuiu sistemu vooruzheniia,’ Vozdushno Kosmicheskaia Oborona, May 2009.

[15] V. K. Novikov and S. V. Golubchikov, ‘Formy radioeletronnoy bor’by v sovremennykh usloviyakh,’ Vestnik, No.2, 2019, pp. 139–143.

[16] Voyennyy Entsiklopedicheskiy Slovar’, http://encyclopedia.mil.ru/encyclopedia/dictionary/[email protected], Accessed on August 4, 2021.

[17] N.A. Kolesova and G. Nasenkova, (Eds), Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Ot eksperimentov proshlogo do reshayushchego fronta budushchego (Electronic Warfare: From the Experiments of the Past to the Future Decisive Front), CAST: Moscow, 2015, pp.14–15.

[18] Voyennyy Entsiklopedicheskiy Slovar’, Op.Cit.

[19] Guzenko V.F, Morarescu A.L, ‘Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Sovremennoye soderzhaniye,’ Radioelektronnaya bor’ba v Vooruzhennykh Silakh Rossiyskoy Federatsii – 2017, http://reb.informost.ru/2017/sod.php.

[20] Author’s emphasis. Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ibid.

[24] The authors in essence describe electromagnetic maneuver.

[25] Yu.I, Lastochkin, Yu.Ye, Donskov, A.L, Moraresku, ‘Analiz sovremennykh kontseptsiy po vedeniyu operatsiy v elektromagnitnom spektre s pozitsiy radioelektronnoy bor’by,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.4, 2021, p.32.

[26] Today, Kyiv, Odesa and Kharkiv in Ukraine, and Orsha in Belarus. S. Kozhevnikov, ‘Radioelektronnaya bor’ba v gody Velikoy Otechestvennoy voyny,’ Belorusskaya Voyennaya Gazeta, April 16, 2014.

[27] V. D. Dobykin, A. I. Kupriyanov, V. G. Ponomarov, L. N. Shustov, Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Silovoye porazheniye radioelektronnykh sistem, Moscow: Vuzovskaya kniga, 2007;

  1. I. Paliy, Ocherki istorii radioelektronnoy bor’by, Moscow: Vuzovskaya kniga, 2006.

[28] Yu. Ye. Donskov, A. S. Korobeynikov, O. G. Nikitin, ‘K voprosu o prednaznachenii, meste i roli voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by v armeyskikh operatsiyakh,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 12, 2015, pp. 20–24; V. V. Tsvetnov, V. P. Demin, A. I. Kupriyanov, Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Radiomaskirovka i pomekhozashchita, Moscow: MAI, 1999; V. V. Tsvetnov, V. P. Demin, A. I. Kupriyanov, Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Radiorazvedka i radioprotivodeystviye, Moscow: MAI, 1998.

[29] Carlo Kopp, ‘Operation Desert Storm. The Electronic Battle Parts 1–3,’ Australian Aviation, June/July/August, 1993.

[30] Jacob W. Kipp, ‘Confronting the RMA in Russia,’ Military Review, May/June 1997, pp. 49–55.

[31] E. Kruglov, ‘Perspektivy razvitiya amerikanskikh sredtsv REB I taktika ikh primeneniya v sovremennykh vooruzhonnnykh konfliktakh,’ Zarubezhnoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, No. 2, 2014, pp. 57–63.

[32] V. Burenok, ‘Bazis setecentricheskih voyn – operezhenie, intellect, innovacii,’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, April 2, 2010; V. Burenok, A. Kravchenko, S. Smirnov, ‘Kurs – na stetsentrcheskuiu sistemu vooruzheniia,’ Vozdushno Kosmicheskaia Oborona, May 2009.

[33] A. I. Kupriyanov, L. N. Shustov, Radioelektronnaya borba. Osnovy teorii, Moscow: Vuzovskaya kniga, 2011.

[34] N. A. Kolesova and G. Nasenkova, (Eds), Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Ot eksperimentov proshlogo do reshayushchego fronta budushchego (Electronic Warfare: From the Experiments of the Past to the Future Decisive Front), CAST: Moscow, 2015, pp. 222–227.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Ibid.

[37] Ibid.

[38] N. A. Kolesova and G. Nasenkova, (Eds), Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Ot eksperimentov proshlogo do reshayushchego fronta budushchego, (Electronic Warfare. From the experiments of the past to the future decisive front), CAST: Moscow, 2015, pp. 227–229.

[39] Ibid. “An-12PP electronic warfare aircraft. Western reporting name Cub-C. It is an even more extensive rebuild with equipment housed in large nose/tail/canoe radomes conferring a significant active jamming capability”: http://www.military-today.com/aircraft/an_12.htm, Accessed October 19, 2021.

[40] Radioelektronnaya bor’ba v Vooruzhennykh Silakh Rossiyskoy Federatsii – 2019, http://reb.informost.ru/2019/index.php.

[41] As can be seen from the themes covered in this Russian publication, the details are highly sensitive especially in the field of EW. It is unclear as to why the publication was suspended. In recent years, Moscow has made more of its military journals available online. Often the access to recent, or even sometimes to older articles in the journal archive depends on opening a subscription. In some cases, the full articles are not available in an online edition. In any case, the professional EW online publication appears to have been suspended with its last issue in 2018; this could be subscription linked. In the 2018, issue the following were among the various themes covered: subsystems for EW control at the tactical level; countering UAVs; robotic EW systems; EW to repel an enemy aerospace attack; automation of radio frequency bodies; developing the capabilities of ground mobile equipment for EW based on high-altitude aeromechanical antennas; trends in the doctrinal concepts of US Armed Forces Operations in the EMS; EW research for the RVSN; developing the experimental and testing base of the EW research institute; the 34th Institute of Naval Communications to ensure electronic suppression of enemy radio communications; protection of VKS groupings; constructing devices for detecting pulsed ultra-wideband signals for reconnaissance and EW systems; EW to protect the Missile and Artillery Troops (Raketnyye Voyska i Artilleriya—RV&A) from high-precision strikes; EW in the VKS; EW in the VDV; the EW service in the Central Joint Strategic Command/Military District; Murmansk-BN on protecting the Arctic; information technologies of the future for training junior EW specialists; improving long-range aviation EW service. Radioelektronnaya bor’ba v Vooruzhennykh Silakh Rossiyskoy Federatsii – 2018, http://reb.informost.ru/2018/sod.php. The 2017 issue covered: EW in a complex EMS environment; development of C2 for the EW forces; prospects for automated control in EW formations of using ultra-wideband signals for communications, reconnaissance and EW in the tactical control link; conversion of the radio frequency spectrum; problems of increasing the survivability of the Air Defense Forces of the Ground Forces; development and application of means for imitating radio signals from radio electronic devices in air-defense weapons; UAVs to expand the capabilities of ground mobile EW equipment; ensuring the maintainability of electronic jamming and air reconnaissance aircraft complexes; features and prospects for the development of naval EW in network-centric warfare. Radioelektronnaya bor’ba v Vooruzhennykh Silakh Rossiyskoy Federatsii – 2017, http://reb.informost.ru/2017/sod.php.

[42] This is denoted as PVO SV (Ground Forces Air Defense Forces) to avoid confusion with VPVO.

[43] Viktor Khudoleyev, ‘Strazhniki efira na pravil’nom puti,’ Krasnaya Zvezda, April 15, 2020.

[44] In 2006, Major General (ret.) Ivan Vorobyev and Colonel Valeriy Kiselev placed EW in a wider schematic of electronic and information warfare (radioelektronnaya i informatsionnaya), arguing this type of war would encompass all domains and be waged in every direction, but with degrading enemy C2 as its critical objective. They characterized EW only as a component of the electronic-information battle. It includes electronic counter-measures (radioelektronnoye podavleniye), electronic-information support and electronic counter-counter-measures (radioelektronnaya zashchita). The authors described EW as a “very capacious concept,” adding, “From a technical aspect, it is the effect of emissions of electromagnetic and other kinds of directed energy on enemy electronic assets and on his personnel, C2 entities, combat equipment, military installations, weapons and computer networks. From a tactical aspect, electronic warfare consists of the organization of electronic counter-counter-measures and electronic support to combat operations.” Ivan Vorobyev and Valeriy Kiselev, ‘Nevidimyy, no obespechivayushchiy prevoskhodstvo v upravlenii: elektronno-informatsionnaya bitva kak odna iz form takticheskikh deystviy,’ Armeyskiy Sbornik, No. 3, 2006, pp. 26–28.

[45] Carolina Vendil Pallin, ‘Russian information security and warfare,’ In Roger E. Kanet, Routledge Handbook of Russian Security, London and New York: Routledge, 2019, pp. 203–213; See: Carolina Vendil Pallin, ‘Internet control through ownership: the case of Russia,’ Post-Soviet Affairs, Vol. 33, No. 1, 2017, pp. 16–33.

[46] Author’s emphasis. The term information superiority (informatsionnoye prevoskhodstvo) had already appeared within Soviet military thought in the 1970s, caused by increasing awareness of the potential of automated information systems. The increasing role of EW in the Soviet Armed Forces also resulted in the 1980s in the term radio electronic superiority (radioelektronnoe prevoskhodstvo) being used. I. D. Pombrik, ‘Obespecheniye nepreryvnosti upravleniya voyskami v sovremennykh operatsiyakh,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.3, 1976, pp. 50–57; A. A. Zhovanik, ‘O roli svyazi v avtomatizirovannykh sistemakh upravleniya voyskami,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.11, 1976, pp. 28–39; V. M. Stishkovskiy, ‘Zadachi i vozmozhnosti voyennoy svyazi,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.3, 1977, pp. 40–50; I. N. Vorob’yev, ‘Novoye oruzhiye— novaya taktika,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.6, 1984, pp. 47–59; G, I. Salmanov, ‘Sovetskaya voyennaya doktrina i nekotoryye vzglyady na kharakter voyny v zashchitu sotsializma,Voyennaya Mysl’, No.12, 1988, pp. 3–13.

[47] G. V. Konstantinov, A. V. Chizhankov, I. A. Shishechkin, ‘Razvitiye teorii primeneniya formirovaniy radioelektronnoy bor’by v interesakh protivovozdushnoy oborony voysk i ob’yektov,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.10, 2019, pp. 49–55.

[48] Author’s emphasis.

[49] Konstantinov, Chizhankov, Shishechkin, ‘Razvitiye teorii primeneniya formirovaniy radioelektronnoy bor’by v interesakh protivovozdushnoy oborony voysk i ob’yektov,’ Op.Cit.

[50] Yu. Ye. Donskov, A. S. Korobeynikov, O. G. Nikitin, ‘K voprosu o prednaznachenii, meste i roli voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by v armeyskikh operatsiyakh,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.12, 2015, pp.20–24.

[51] Ibid.

[52] Dr. Lester W. Grau, Charles K. Bartles, The Russian Way of War; Force Structure, Tactics, and Modernization of the Russian Ground Forces, FMSO: Kansas, Fort Leavenworth, 2016, p.290.

[53] Ibid.

[54] V. K. Novikov and S. V. Golubchikov, ‘Formy radioeletronnoy bor’by v sovremennykh usloviyakh,’ Vestnik, No.2, 2019, pp. 139–143.

[55] N. A. Kolesova and G. Nasenkova, (Eds.), Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Ot eksperimentov proshlogo do reshayushchego fronta budushchego (Electronic Warfare: From the Experiments of the Past to the Future Decisive Front), CAST: Moscow, 2015, p. 30.

[56] V. Silyuntsev, V. Demin, D. Prokhorov, ‘Boyevoye primeneniye REB,’ Armeyskiy Sbornik, July 2016, pp. 43–53.

[57] Ye. Nikulin, M. Koval, Yu. Koban, ‘Soglasovannoye primeneniye. Osobennosti radioelektronnoy bor’by v sovremennykh vooruzhennykh konflikt,’ Armeyskiy Sbornik, No. 9, 2021, pp. 64–70.

[58] Yu. I. Lastochkin, Yu.Ye. Donskov, A.L. Moraresku, ‘Analiz sovremennykh kontseptsiy po vedeniyu operatsiy v elektromagnitnom spektre s pozitsiy radioelektronnoy bor’by,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.4, 2021, p. 32.

[59] Yu. I. Lastochkin, ‘Rol’ i mesto radioelektronnoy bor’by v sovremennykh i budushchikh boyevykh deystviyakh,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.12, 2015, pp. 16–21.

[60] Ibid.

[61]Lastochkin Yuriy Illarionovich Nachal’nik voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by Vooruzhennykh Sil Rossiyskoy Federatsii, general-leytenant,’ https://structure.mil.ru/management/[email protected], Accessed, July 26, 2021.

[62]Upravleniye nachal’nika voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by Vooruzhennykh Sil Rossiyskoy Federatsii,’ https://structure.mil.ru/structure/ministry_of_defence/[email protected], Accessed, July 28, 2021.

[63] Rukovodyashchiy sostav voysk REB VS RF, 2018, http://reb.informost.ru/2018/pdf/0-6.pdf.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Ibid.

[66] Yury Gavrilov, ‘Flot ukhodit v avtonomku Severnyy flot Rossii priravnyali k voyennomu okrugu,’ Rossiyskaya Gazeta, https://rg.ru/2020/12/22/severnyj-flot-rossii-priravniali-k-voennomu-okrugu.html, December 22, 2020.

[67] The officers named as holding these posts is based on data from 2018 that has not been updated by the EW Forces structures.

[68] Rukovodyashchiy sostav voysk REB VS RF, 2018, Op.Cit.

[69] Ibid.

[70] Ibid.

[71] A.V. Karpenko, ‘Voyska radioelektronnoy bor’by VS RF istochnik,’ http://bastion-karpenko.ru/army-electronic-rf/, accessed, August 6, 2021; Author interviews with NATO EW officers by VTC, May 12, 2021.

[72] 15-ya otdel’naya brigada radioelektronnoy bor’by (v/ch 71615), http://voinskayachast.net/suhoputnie-voyska/specialnie/vch71615; 16-ya otdel’naya brigada radioelektronnoy bor’by (v/ch 64055), http://voinskayachast.net/suhoputnie-voyska/specialnie/vch64055; 17-ya otdel’naya brigada radioelektronnoy bor’by (v/ch 11666), http://voinskayachast.net/suhoputnie-voyska/specialnie/vch11666; 18-ya otdel’naya brigada radioelektronnoy bor’by, https://66.ru/rabota/office/182022/; 19-ya otdel’naya brigada radioelektronnoy bor’by, http://bmpd.livejournal.com/1852552.html. On December 1, 2015, the 1270th electronic warfare center of the Southern MD, located in a suburb of Rostov-on-Don (military unit No. 62829), was reorganized into the 19th EW Brigade.

[73] Aleksey Ramm, Dmitriy Litovkin, Yevgeniy Andreyev, ‘V voyska radioelektronnoy bor’by pridet iskusstvennyy intellekt,’ Izvestia, http://izvestia.ru/news/675891, April 4, 2017. The 15th EW Brigade in Tambov, in Western OSK/MD, is subordinated to the General Staff. A. Yasinskiy, ‘Napravlenie deiatelnosti 15-oi otdelnoi brigady radioelektronnoi borby (verkhnovnogo glavnogo komandovaniia) v oblasti radioelektronnoi borby,’ Radioelektronnaia bor’ba v Vooruzhennych Silach Rossiiskoi Federatsii, 2015.

[74] No exact Russian version of ORBAT exists in official manuals or within the military lexicon. The closest equivalence is gruppirovka sil i sredstv (grouping of forces and means).

[75] Aleksandr Kruglov, Nikolai Surkov, ‘Pekhotu prikroyut elektronnym zontikom,’ Izvestia, https://iz.ru/744402/aleksandr-kruglov-nikolai-surkov/pekhotu-prikroiut-elektronnym-zontikom, October 10, 2018.

[76]15-ya otdel’naya brigada radioelektronnoy bor’by (v/ch 71615),’ http://voinskayachast.net/suhoputnie-voyska/specialnie/vch71615, ‘19-ya otdel’naya brigada radioelektronnoy borby,’ http://bmpd.livejournal.com/1852552.html, Accessed, June 17, 2021; Aleksei Ramm, ‘Elektronnaya voyna – mify I pravda (chast 1),’ Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, http://vpk-news.ru/articles/27272, September 30, 2015.

[77]Spetsialisty REB obshchevoyskovoy armii ZVO podavili sistemu svyazi uslovnogo protivnika v khode ispytaniy kompleksa Palantin v Voronezhskoy oblasti,’ Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, https://function.mil.ru/news_page/country/[email protected]&_print=true, July 20, 2021; Anton Lavrov, Aleksei Ramm, ‘Gasi volnu: yug Rossii zakroyut nepronitsayemyye glushilki,’ Izvestia, https://iz.ru/1091042/anton-lavrov-aleksei-ramm/gasi-volnu-iug-rossii-zakroiut-nepronitcaemye-glushilki, November 24, 2020.

[78] Balybin, V.A, Baturin, Yu.O, Gulidov, A.A, ‘O sovershenstvovaniyi sistemy vooru-zheniya radioelektronnoy bor’by,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.4, 2013, pp.38-45.

[79] KTK seems to be a Russian variant of electronic support.

[80] Yury Lastochkin, Oleg Falichev, ‘Kupol nad Minoborony,’ Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, http://www.vpk-news.ru/articles/36422, April 26, 2017.

[81] Lester W. Grau and Charles K. Bartles, The Russian Way of War; Force Structure, Tactics, and Modernization of the Russian Ground Forces, FMSO: Kansas, Fort Leavenworth, 2016, p. 290.

[82] Rostec, established in 2007, is the State Corporation for Assistance to Development, Production and Export of Advanced Technology Industrial Product. It specializes in investing in strategically important companies mainly in the defense and high-technology sectors of the Russian economy.

[83] See: http://www.ntc-reb.ru/.

[84] Yury Lastochkin,Ni dnya bez pomekh,’ Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, http://www.vpk-news.ru/articles/30428, April 27, 2016.

[85] Sergei Denisentsev, ‘Okno vozmozhnostey dlya REB,’ Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, https://vpk-news.ru/articles/20874, June 30, 2014.

[86] Ibid.

[87] Ibid.

[88] V. A. Anokhin, V. V. Mikhailov, D. V. Kholuyenko, ‘O napravleniyakh sosredotocheniya usiliy v razvitiyi radioelektronnogo vooruzheniya,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.3, 2016, pp. 81–87.

[89]Upravleniye nachal’nika voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by Vooruzhennykh Sil Rossiyskoy Federatsii,’ Op.Cit.

[90] M. V. Zhirnov, ‘Organizatsiya podgotovki spetsialistov radioelektronnoy bor’by k dezorganizatsii sistem upravleniya nazemnymi robototekhnicheskimi sredstvami inostrannykh armii,’ Vozdushno-Kosmicheskiye Sily. Teoriya i Praktika, No.14, 2020, pp. 26–40; S. V. Golubev, M. V. Zhirnov, A. I. Chernenko, ‘Obosnovanie dopolnitel’nogo soderzhaniya voenno-professional’noy podgotovki specialistov radio`elektronnoy bor’by v voennom vuze dlya vypolneniya zadach dezorganizacii sistem upravleniya nazemnymi robototehnicheskimi sredstvami inostrannyh armii,’ Vozdushno-Kosmicheskiye Sily. Teoriya i Praktika, No.12, 2019, pp. 75–83.

[91] V. A. Balybin, ‘Nauchno-issledovatel’skiy ispytatel’nyy institut (radioelektronnoy bor’by) — 60 let na strazhe efira’,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.12, 2020, pp. 78–85.

[92] Viktor Khudoleyev, ‘Strazhniki efira na pravil’nom puti,’ Krasnaya Zvezda, April 15, 2020.

[93] Ibid.

[94] V. Lobov, P. Chernyshov, O. Gaponov, ‘Sovremennyy opyt organizatsii i prakticheskogo resheniya zadach radio-, radiotekhnicheskogo kontrolya i monitoringa radiochastotnogo spektra vo vzaimodeystvii s federal’nymi organami ispolnitel’noy vlasti Rossiyskoy Federatsii,’ Radioelektronnaya bor’ba v Vooruzhennykh Silakh Rossiyskoy Federatsii – 2017, http://reb.informost.ru/2017/pdf/1-9.pdf, pp. 45–47.

[95]Spetsialnyye Ucheniya Elektron-2016 Provodyatsya Na Yuge Rossii,’ DefendingRussia.ru, https://defendingrussia.ru/a/cpecialnyje_uchenija_elektron2016_prohodjat_na_juge_rossii-6207/, August 19, 2016.

[96] ‘Moscow, Minsk to Jointly Prepare Electronic Warfare Structure,’ Interfax, June 8, 2011.

[97] Nikolai Boky, Viktor Silyuchenko, Igor Kamensky, ‘Vazhneyshaya zadacha ZRV VKS,’ Vozdushno-Kosmicheskiy Rubezh 9, No. 3, August 2019, p. 83; Oleg Kotov and Andrey Chizhankov, ‘Effektivnaya razvedka vozdushnogo protivnika,’ Arsenal Otechestva, November 6, 2018; V. I. Litvinenko, ‘Osnovnyye Tendentsii Ognevogo Porazheniya v Yedinom Informatsionnom Prostranstve v Sovremennykh Operatsiyakh (Boyevykh Deystviyakh),’ Vestnik, No. 1, 2014, pp. 99–103.

[98] In August 2021, in preparation for Zapad 2021, a joint EW grouping was formed (Belarus and Russia). EW units and subunits were tasked with breaching the communication channels of the opposing side, interfering with radio exchange, and protecting their own forces from electronic intelligence. The Russian defense ministry also stated that the EW emphasis during the exercise was to counter enemy cruise missiles and UAVs along with fire and electronic impact on a simulated enemy. Roman Kretsul and Anna Cherepanova, ‘ “Izmerit” podavleniye: v sentyabre proydut masshtabnyye ucheniya voysk REB,’ Izvestia, https://iz.ru/1205342/roman-kretcul-anna-cherepanova/izmerit-podavlenie-v-sentiabre-proidut-masshtabnye-ucheniia-voisk-reb, August 11, 2021.

[99]Spetsialisty REB ZVO distantsionno vyveli iz stroya stayu udarnykh dronov uslovnogo protivnika na SSU Zapad-2021 na poligone Mulino v Nizhegorodskoy oblasti,’ https://function.mil.ru/news_page/country/[email protected], September 11, 2021; ‘Podrazdeleniya REB i svyazi soyedineniy YUVO i VDV razvernuli sistemy ASUV i obespechili zashchitu ot BLA protivnika pod Volgogradom v khode SKSHU Kavkaz-2020,’ https://function.mil.ru/news_page/country/[email protected], September 21, 2020; Natalya Valkhanskaya, ‘Podrazdeleniya REB vychislili terroristov na ucheniyakh Tsentr-2019,’ Tvzezda, https://tvzvezda.ru/news/2019920555-R90W5.html, September 20, 2019; Anton Valagin, ‘Na ucheniyakh Vostok primenyat sekretnoye elektronnoye oruzhiye,’ Rossiyskaya Gazeta, September 12, 2018; Oleg Vladykin, ‘Zapad-2017 natselen na zashchitu Vostoka,’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, September 15, 2017; ‘Sily PVO Zapadnogo voyennogo okruga razvernulis’ v novykh rayonakh na ucheniyakh Zapad-2017,’ TASS, September 16, 2017; ‘SKShU Kavkaz-2016,’ https://sc.mil.ru/files/morf/military/archive/FR_2016-09-12.pdf, September 13, 2016; ‘V khode ucheniy Tsentr-2015 voyska REB otrabotayut naneseniye radioelektronnogo udara,’ Vesti, September 15, 2015.

[100] A. S. Korobeynikov, D. V. Kholuyenko, S. I. Pasichnik, ‘Effektivnost’ gruppirovki voysk radioelektromioy bor’by v khode kompleksnogo porazheniya informatsionno-iipravlyayushchey sistemy protivnika,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No.8, 2015, pp. 30–34.

[101] Dr. Lester W. Grau and Charles K. Bartles, The Russian Way of War; Force Structure, Tactics, and Modernization of the Russian Ground Forces, p. 298.

[102] Nikulin, Koval, Koban, ‘Soglasovannoye primeneniye. Osobennosti radioelektronnoy bor’by v sovremennykh vooruzhennykh konflikt,’ Op.Cit.

[103] Ibid.

[104] Operating frequency range 1.5–30 Megahertz (MHz); Panoramic scan rate 480 MHz/s; Jamming output power 1.0 kilowatt (kW); Narrowband 3.0; 10.0; 20.0; 50.0; Response rate (from detection to jamming) 15 milliseconds (ms); Multi-target jamming capability up to 5; Deployment time less than 40 minutes; Scan rate up to 7,000 MHz/s; Detection-to-suppression time less than 5 ms; Frequency hopping signal detection up to 300 hop/s Crew of 4; Truck chassis Ural-43293.

[105] The jamming system provides analysis and selection of emitters’ signal parameters. The R-330B/R-330T VHF jamming system consists of an equipment vehicle on a wheeled (R-330T) or tracked (R-330B) chassis, a diesel electric power station mounted on a two-axle trailer (R-330T), or an MT-Lbu armored tracked chassis (R-330B).

[106] Frequency range 100–400 MHz; Transmitter power 500 W; jammed RF links (at fixed frequencies) 4; jammed RF links (with frequency hop) 1; RMS direction-finding error not more than 3 degrees; Time of deployment 30 minutes; Crew 3; Types of jamming signals: 1) high-frequency signal modulated in frequency by noise with deviation of 800 and 6000 Hz, 2) high-frequency signal modulated in frequency shift of 5, 10, 20 and 40 kHz and unit intervals of 150 and 800 µs, 3) high-frequency signal manipulated in phase (0–180°) with discretization of unit elements of 800 µs.

[107] Frequency range 100–2,000 MHz; Transmitter power 10 kW; Suppression range 20–30 km; RMS direction-finding error not more than 2 degrees; Time of deployment less than 40 minutes; Crew 4.

[108] Protected area 5 km; Frequency range 95–420 MHz; Energy potential not less than 300 W; Deployment times less than 4 minutes; Crew 2.

[109] Frequency range (search and detection) 20–2,000 MHz; Frequency range (direction and finding) 25–2,000 MHz; RMS direction-finding error not more than 3 degrees; Instant monitoring bandwidth 180–1200 kHz; Types of searching signals FM, AM, SSB, FSK, PSK; Transmitter output greater than 100 W; Deployment time 15 minutes.

[110] Grau, Bartles, The Russian Way of War; Force Structure, Tactics, and Modernization of the Russian Ground Forces, pp. 292–297.

[111] Vladimir Chernov, ‘Krasukha – imya: novyye mobil’nyye kompleksy vkhodyat v sostav voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by,’ Na Strazhe Rodiny, April 15, 2016.

[112] Ibid.

[113] Aleksei Kozachenko, ‘Glushitel’nyy uspekh. V Kitaye vysoko otsenili sistemu REB Murmansk-BN,’ Argumenti i Fakti, https://aif.ru/society/army/glushitelnyy_uspeh_v_kitae_vysoko_ocenili_sistemu_reb_murmansk-bn, October 4, 2021.

[114] Yury Rossolov, ‘Korotkovolnovyy ekran,’ Krasnaya Zvezda, January 18, 2016.

[115] Yury Lastochkin, Oleg Falichev, ‘Kupol nad Minoborony,’ Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, http://www.vpk-news.ru/articles/36422, April 26, 2017.

[116] Vladimir Mukhin, ‘Rossiyu ozhidayet demilitarizatsiya,’ Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, https://www.ng.ru/politics/2018-05-11/1_7222_demiltaryrisation.html, May 11, 2018.

[117] Aleksei Ramm, ‘Novyye sistemy smogut effektivno reshat’ zadachi bez uchastiya cheloveka,’ Izvestia, https://iz.ru/733218/aleksei-ramm/novye-sistemy-smogut-effektivno-reshat-zadachi-bez-uchastiia-cheloveka, April 27, 2018.

[118] Ibid.

[119] Aleksei Ramm, Anton Lavrov, Bogdan Stepovoy, ‘Vidit tsel’: Bylina smozhet atakovat’ protivnika bez uchastiya operatora,’ Izvestia, https://iz.ru/1000101/aleksei-ramm-bogdan-stepovoi/vidit-tcel-bylina-smozhet-atakovat-protivnika-bez-uchastiia-operatora, April 16, 2020.

[120]Radiuse polutysyachi kilometrov vse pod kontrolem Moskvy,’ Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, https://vpk-news.ru/news/56157, March 30, 2020.

[121] During exercises, the Krasukha-20 handled detection of the domestic A-50U long-range radar detection and command and control aircraft, which has characteristics similar to those of the US E-3 Sentry. Anton Valagin, ‘Oslepit’ AWACS: chto mozhet novaya versiya sistemy REB Krasukha,’ Rossiyskaya Gazeta, July 13, 2020.

[122] Pavel Markush, ‘Rossiyskiye voyennyye nauchilis’ osleplyat’ vrazheskiye samolety-radary i sputniki,’ URA, https://ura.news/news/1052333432, May 4, 2018.

[123] Vitaly Orlov, ‘Voyna nevidimaya i effektivnaya,’ Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, https://vpk-news.ru/articles/63516, August 24, 2021.

[124] Ibid.

[125] Orlov, ‘Voyna nevidimaya i effektivnaya,’ Op.Cit; ‘Noveyshiye rossiyskiye kompleksy REB oslepyat vrazheskiye samolety-radary i dazhe sputniki,’ Izvestia, https://iz.ru/739217/2018-05-04/noveishie-rossiiskie-kompleksy-reb-oslepiat-vrazheskie-samolety-radary-i-dazhe-sputniki, May 4, 2018.

[126]Nad Divnomor’yem Avaksy ne letayut! V voyska REB postupili noveyshiye kompleksy,’ Topwar.ru, https://topwar.ru/140969-voyska-reb-poluchat-mobilnye-kompleksy-divnomore.html, May 4, 2018.

[127] Orlov, ‘Voyna nevidimaya i effektivnaya,’ Op.Cit.

[128] Ibid.

[129] Ibid.

[130] A. N. Sidorin and A. N. Bezrodniy, ‘Perspektivy primeneniya tekhnologiy iskusstvennogo intellekta v radioelektronnoy bor’be,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 12, 2021, pp. 108–118.

[131]Eksperty rasskazali o printsipakh raboty kompleksov REB Samarkand,’ Izvestia, https://iz.ru/805723/2018-10-28/eksperty-rasskazali-o-printcipakh-raboty-kompleksov-reb-samarkand, October 28, 2018.

[132] Andrei Rezchikov and Aleksei Nechayev, ‘Samarkand prevratit armii NATO v voysko dikarey,’ Vzglyad, https://vz.ru/society/2018/10/28/674524.html, October 28, 2018.

[133] Ibid.

[134]Voyska RF poluchilo modernizirovannyye kompleksy Khibiny,’ Pravda-tv.ru, https://www.pravda-tv.ru/2018/06/09/364542/vojska-rf-poluchilo-modernizirovannye-kompleksy-hibiny, June 9, 2018.

[135] Aleksandr Kruglov, Aleksei Ramm, Bogdan Stepovoy, ‘Aviatsiya poluchila usovershenstvovannuyu zashchitu,’ Izvestia, https://iz.ru/741830/aleksandr-kruglov-aleksei-ramm-bogdan-stepovoi/aviatciia-poluchila-usovershenstvovannuiu-zashchitu, June 9, 2018.

[136] Ibid.

[137] The R&D was carried out by the Kaluga Research Radio Engineering Institute. It first worked on such systems from 1977 to 1990. In 1995, it completed the first test cycle, and in 1997 the second test cycle allowed some procurement options. In 2013, Kaluga Research signed a contract to develop an EW system for the Su-30SM. However, it was not until 2014 that the Khibiny EW complex first entered service on the Su-34. Dmitriy Grigoryev, ‘Bombardirovshchiki ZVO unichtozhili PVO s pomoshch’yu REB Khibiny,’ Rossiyskaya Gazeta, https://rg.ru/2017/10/27/reg-cfo/bombardirovshchiki-zvo-unichtozhili-pvo-s-pomoshchiu-reb-hibiny.html, October 27, 2017.

[138] Lastochkin, Falichev, ‘Kupol nad Minoborony,’ Op.Cit.

[139] Viktor Khudoleyev, ‘Strazhniki efira na pravil’nom puti,’ Op.Cit.

[140] Ibid.

[141] ‘Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, May 14, 2017,’ http://www.osce.org/special-monitoring-mission-to-ukraine/317386, May 15, 2017. Orlan-10 UAVs have also been shot down by the Ukrainian Armed Forces during the conflict in Donbas.

Paul Robinson, ‘Explaining the Ukrainian Army’s Defeat in Donbass in 2014,’ (Eds), J.L. Black and Michael Johns, Return of the Cold War. Ukraine, the West, and Russia, Routledge: London, 2016; Roger McDermott, Brothers Disunited: Russia’s Use of Military Power in Ukraine, Foreign Military Studies Offices, http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/Collaboration/international/McDermott/Brotherhood_McDermott_2015.pdf, April 2015.

[142] N. A. Kolesova and G. Nasenkova, (Eds), Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Ot eksperimentov proshlogo do reshayushchego fronta budushchego [Electronic Warfare: From the Experiments of the Past to the Future Decisive Front], CAST: Moscow, 2015, p. 229.

[143] Author interviews with former members of the OSCE SMM, April 15, 2021.

[144] Ibid.

[145] Vyacheslav Gusarov, ‘Osobennosti organizatsii i vedeniya radioelektronnoy bor’by v boyakh za Ilovaysk. Analitika IS,’ http://sprotyv.info/ru/news/kiev/osobennosti-organizacii-i-vedeniya-radioelektronnoy-borby-v-boyah-za-ilovaysk-analitika, December 5, 2016.

[146] Ibid.

[147] Author interviews with Ukrainian EW specialists, May 24, 2021. It is unlikely this could have been carried out on a wide scale; rather, it probably used deployed EW assets to targets pockets of resistance. Equally, targeting enemy cell phones in this way may imply Russian access to sensitive Ukrainian military personnel details.

[148] See: ‘Electronic Warfare by Drone and SMS: How Russia-backed separatists use ‘pinpoint propaganda’ in the Donbas,’ Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Laboratory, https://medium.com/dfrlab/electronic-warfare-by-drone-and-sms-7fec6aa7d696, May 18, 2017.

[150] Vyacheslav Gusarov ‘Taktika rossiyskikh grupp REB v boyakh za Debal’tsevo. Analitika IS,’ http://sprotyv.info/ru/news/kiev/taktika-rossiyskih-grupp-reb-v-boyah-za-debalcevo-analitika, January 5, 2017; See: http://sprotyv.info/ru/news/kiev/radioelektronnaya-borba-rossiyskih-terroristicheskih-sil-v-nachalnoy-faze-voennogo, September 20, 2016.

[151] Author interviews with Ukrainian EW specialists, May 24, 2021.

[152] Sergey Sukhankin, ‘Blind, Confuse and Demoralize: Russian Electronic Warfare Operations in Donbas,’ The Jamestown Foundation: Washington DC, https://jamestown.org/program/blind-confuse-and-demoralize-russian-electronic-warfare-operations-in-donbas/, August 27, 2021.

[153] Ibid.

[154] An anonymous blogger at Milkavkaz.com presented a detailed breakdown of the structure of the Russian Led Forces in Donbas from 2014 to 2017; however, it is unclear whether the blogger was a genuinely independent source of this information. Since last accessed by this author on December 27, 2019, the site has been removed. Vooruzhennyye sily DNR i LNR, http://milkavkaz.com/index.php/8-main/25-voorujonnie-sili-dnr-i-lnr, June 6, 2017 (accessed December 6, 2019).

[155]V Vooruzhennykh Silakh Rossiyskoy Federatsii Otmechayetsy Den’ Spetsialista Po Radioelektronnoy Bor’be,’ http://eurasian-defence.ru/?q=node/38809, April 15, 2017.

[156] Borys Kremenetsky, ‘EW Lessons Learned: Russian Hybrid Warfare in Ukraine,’ Royal United Services Institute, March 20, 2019.

[157] Sukhankin, ‘Blind, Confuse and Demoralize: Russian Electronic Warfare Operations in Donbas,’ Op.Cit.

[158] Kremenetsky, ‘EW Lessons Learned: Russian Hybrid Warfare in Ukraine,’

[159] EW receives surprisingly little coverage in the following: M. Yu. Shepovalenko (Ed), Siriyskiy Rubezh, CAST: Moscow, 2016, pp. 105–120.

[160]Razvedyvatel’nyye samolety, sistemy radioelektronnoy bor’by i vysokotekhnologichnaya voyna Rossii v Sirii,’ Russian Insider, http://russia-insider.com/ru/oborona-i-bezopasnost/razvedyvatelnye-samolety-sistemy-radioelektronnoy-borby-i, October 31, 2015.

[161]Radioelektronnaya bor’ba, Voyna v Sirii,’ Defence.ru, https://defence.ru/article/krasukha-4-v-sirii-god-elektronnogo-schita-nad-khmeimim/, October 11, 2016; ‘V Siriyu pribyli noveyshiye rossiyskiye kompleksy radioelektronnoy bor’by ‘Krasukha-4,’ ’ Military-informant.ru, http://military-informant.com/airforca/v-siriyu-pribyili-noveyshie-rossiyskie-kompleksyi-radioelektronnoy-borbyi-krasuha-4.html, October 5, 2015.

[162] Barbara Opall-Rome, ‘Russia, Israel to Broaden Defense Coordination in Syria,’ Defense News, www.defensenews.com/story/defense/air-space/2015/11/30/russia-israel-broaden-defense-coordination-syria/76576390/, December 1, 2015; Neil MacFarquhar, ‘US Agrees With Russia on Rules in Syrian Sky,’ New York Times, www.nytimes.com/2015/10/21/world/middleeast/us-and-russia-agree-to-regulate-all-flights-over-syria.html?_r=0, October 20, 2015.

[163] ‘Turetskiy Korall protiv rossiyskogo Triumfa: sistemy REB u granits Sirii,’ http://topwar.ru/87224-tureckiy-korall-protiv-rossiyskogo-triumfa-sistemy-reb-u-granic-sirii.html, December 3, 2015.

[164] Yevgeny Saltykov, ‘Bitva za efir: rossiyskiye sistemy REB pokazali v Sirii svoyu effektivnost’,’ Vesti, http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=2732816, March 18, 2016.

[165] Tarantul is an EW complex for Su-34s to conceal aircraft or a group of strike aircraft from enemy radar. The Tarantul ECM system is part of the modernization program for the Su-34 fighter bomber in the 2020s.

[166] Aleksandr Alexeev, ‘Voyna v efire. Chast’ 1,https://topwar.ru/116054-voyna-v-efire-chast-1.html, May 22, 2017.

[167] Author interviews with Israeli defense specialists, July 14, 2021.

[168] Vladimir Gundarov, ‘Siriyskiye uroki REB Kuda uleteli 36 Tomagavkov s amerikanskikh esmintsev,Voyenno Promyshlennyy Kuryer, https://vpk-news.ru/articles/60891, February 16, 2021.

[169] Ibid.

[170] Nikulin, Koval, Koban, ‘Soglasovannoye primeneniye. Osobennosti radioelektronnoy bor’by v sovremennykh vooruzhennykh konflikt,’ Op.Cit.

[171] Ibid.

[172]Rossiyskiye stantsii REB v Sirii sveli s uma protivnika,’ Moskovskiy Komsomolets, https://www.mk.ru/politics/2021/02/25/rossiyskie-stancii-reb-v-sirii-sveli-s-uma-protivnika.html, February 25, 2021; Anatoliy Tsyganok, ‘Primeneniye sil i sredstv REB v voynakh i konfliktakh KHKHI veka,Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, https://nvo.ng.ru/wars/2019-09-20/6_1062_reb.html, September 20, 2019; Aleksandr Stepanov, ‘Polet vslepuyu,Rossiyskaya Gazeta, https://rg.ru/2019/08/14/rossijskie-kompleksy-reb-sposobny-oslepit-samolety-nevidimki-f-35.html, August 14, 2019.

[173] Andrei Rezchikov, Nikita Kovalenko, ‘Kak rossiyskiye kompleksy REB meshayut amerikanskim voyennym v Sirii,’ Vzglad, https://vz.ru/politics/2018/4/26/919811.html, April 26, 2018.

[174] Ibid.

[175] Colin Clark, ‘Russia Widens EW War, ‘Disabling’ EC-130s oR AC-130s In Syria,’ Breaking Defense, https://breakingdefense.com/2018/04/russia-widens-ew-war-disabling-ec-130s-in-syria/, April 24, 2018.

[176] Rezchikov, Kovalenko, ‘Kak rossiyskiye kompleksy REB meshayut amerikanskim voyennym v Sirii,’ Op.Cit.

[177] Stefan Morell, ‘Optimizing Joint All-Domain C2 in the Indo-Pacific,’ Air and Space Power Journal, Special Edition, Summer 2021, p. 67.

[178] Ibid.

[179] O. V. Tikhanychev, ‘O roli sistematicheskogo ognevogo vozdei’stviya v sovremennykh operatsiiakh,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 11, November 2016, pp. 16–20.

[180] R. S. Anosov, Yu. Ye. Donskov, S. G. Zelenskaya, V. A. Orlov, ‘Sovremennyye voyenno-ekonomicheskiye usloviya razvitiya sistemy vooruzheniya radioelektronnoy bor’by VS RF,Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 9, 2021, pp. 76–84.

[181] Yu. Ye. Donskov, A. S. Korobeynikov, O. G. Nikitin, ‘K voprosu o prednaznachenii, meste i roli voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by v armeyskikh operatsiyakh,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 12, 2015, pp. 20–24.

[182] This was touched upon, though only indirectly, in A. S. Korobeynikov and S. I. Pasichnik, ‘Osobennosti metodicheskogo obespecheniya otsenki effektivnosti REB pri modelirovanii kompleksnogo porazheniya informatsionno-upravlyayushchikh sistem protivnika,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 11, 2015, pp. 58–64.

[183] Yu.I, Lastochkin, ‘Rol’ i mesto radioelektronnoy bor’by v sovremennykh i budushchikh boyakh,Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 12, 2015, pp. 14–19.

[184] Author’s emphasis. Note that the writers of the cited article stress the roles of electronic attack (EA) and electronic protection (EP).

[185] Donskov, Korobeynikov, Nikitin, ‘K voprosu o prednaznachenii, meste i roli voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by v armeyskikh operatsiyakh,’ Op.Cit.

[186] Ibid.

[187] Ibid.

[188] I. Korolyov, S. Kozlitin, O. Nikitin, ‘Problemy opredeleniya sposobov boyevogo primeneniya sil i sredstv radioelektronnoy bor’by,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 9, 2016, pp. 14–19.

[189] Ibid.

[190] G. V. Konstantinov, A. V. Chizhankov, I. A. Shishechkin, ‘Razvitiye teorii primeneniya formirovaniy radioelektronnoy bor’by v interesakh protivovozdushnoy oborony voysk i ob’yektov,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 10, 2019, pp.49–55; V. K. Novikov and S. V. Golubchikov, ‘Formy radioeletronnoy bor’by v sovremennykh usloviyakh,Vestnik, No. 2, 2019, pp. 139–143.

[191] Yu. I. Lastochkin, ‘Metodicheskoye obespecheniye obosnovaniya sposobov boyevogo primeneniya sil i sredstv radioelektronnoy bor’by pri protivodeystvii radioelektronnoy razvedke v operatsiyakh ob’yedineniy Sukhoputnykh voysk,’ Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 6, 2018, pp. 58–67; Yu. I. Lastochkin, ‘Sistema pokazateley dlya kompleksnogo analiza sostoyaniya i perspektiv razvitiya sil i sredstv voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by VS RF,’ Vooruzheniye i Ekonomika, No. 4, 2017, pp. 21–32; Yu. I. Lastochkin, ‘Rol’ i mesto radioelektronnoy bor’by v sovremennykh i budushchikh boyakh,Voyennaya Mysl’, No. 12, 2015, pp. 14–19.

[192] Yu. I, Lastochkin, ‘Perspektivy razvitiya voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by Vooruzhennykh Sil Rossiyskoy Federatsii,Voyennaya Mysl’, No.12, 2020.

[193] Ibid.

[194] Ibid.

[195] Ibid.

[196] Ibid.

[197] Ibid.

[198] Kolesova, Nasenkova, (Eds), Radioelektronnaya bor’ba. Ot eksperimentov proshlogo do reshayushchego fronta budushchego, Op.Cit, pp. 41–42.

[199] Novikov, Golubchikov, ‘Formy radioeletronnoy bor’by v sovremennykh usloviyakh,’ Op.Cit; Voyennyy Entsiklopedicheskiy Slovar’, Op.Cit.

[200] Chizhankov, Shishechkin, ‘Razvitiye teorii primeneniya formirovaniy radioelektronnoy bor’by v interesakh protivovozdushnoy oborony voysk i ob’yektov,Op.Cit; Donskov, Korobeynikov, Nikitin, ‘K voprosu o prednaznachenii, meste i roli voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by v armeyskikh operatsiyakh,’ Op.Cit.

[201] A. I. Kupriyanov and L. N. Shustov, Radioelektronnaya borba. Osnovy teorii,’ Op.Cit.

[202]Rossiyskiye stantsii REB v Sirii sveli s uma protivnika,’ Op.Cit; Tsyganok, ‘Primeneniye sil i sredstv REB v voynakh i konfliktakh KHKHI veka,Op.Cit; Stepanov, ‘Polet vslepuyu,’ Op.Cit.

[203] Zhirnov, ‘Organizatsiya podgotovki spetsialistov radioelektronnoy bor’by k dezorganizatsii sistem upravleniya nazemnymi robototekhnicheskimi sredstvami inostrannykh armii,’ Op.Cit; Lastochkin, Falichev, ‘Kupol nad Minoborony,’ Op.Cit.

[204] Gusarov, ‘Osobennosti organizatsii i vedeniya radioelektronnoy bor’by v boyakh za Ilovaysk. Analitika IS,’ Op.Cit; Gusarov, ‘Taktika rossiyskikh grupp REB v boyakh za Debal’tsevo. Analitika IS,Op.Cit; ‘Razvedyvatel’nyye samolety, sistemy radioelektronnoy bor’by i vysokotekhnologichnaya voyna Rossii v Sirii,Op.Cit; ‘Radioelektronnaya bor’ba, Voyna v Sirii,Op.Cit; ‘V Siriyu pribyli noveyshiye rossiyskiye kompleksy radioelektronnoy bor’by ‘Krasukha-4,Op.Cit; Saltykov, ‘Bitva za efir: rossiyskiye sistemy REB pokazali v Sirii svoyu effektivnost’,Op.Cit.

[205] Rezchikov, Kovalenko, ‘Kak rossiyskiye kompleksy REB meshayut amerikanskim voyennym v Sirii,Op.Cit.

[206] Donskov, Korobeynikov, Nikitin, ‘K voprosu o prednaznachenii, meste i roli voysk radioelektronnoy bor’by v armeyskikh operatsiyakh,Op.Cit.

[207] Kremenetsky, ‘EW Lessons Learned: Russian Hybrid Warfare in Ukraine,’ Op.Cit.

[208] Author presentations in NATO capitals, 2017–2019; Author Interviews by VTC, June 4, 2021.

[209] Ibid.

[210] Nikulin, Koval, Koban, ‘Soglasovannoye primeneniye. Osobennosti radioelektronnoy bor’by v sovremennykh vooruzhennykh konflikt,Op.Cit.