Military Technology 6/2019

48 · MT 6/2019 Airborne Electronic Warfare Supplement EW Threats Russian investment in airborne electronic warfare (EW) capabilities continues unabated. Analysis published in 2018 by Roger McDermott, Senior Fellow in Eurasian Military Studies at the Jamestown Foundation think tank in Washington, DC, noted that the development of the L-175V/B KHIBINY airborne EW system is continuing apace. Open sources note the system is thought to be capable of detecting and geolocating hostile radar emissions across a 2-18GHz waveband – possibly even to 40GHz – and may employ Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) techniques to ma- nipulate potentially hostile emissions in such a manner as to provide the interrogating radar with false target information. Work on the system com- menced in 1982, but the long gestation period of development for elec- tronic countermeasures (ECM), combined with challenges experienced in integrating the system with a platform, led to the KHIBINIY-10V only being adopted on the Su-34 tactical aircraft in 2014. McDermott’s analysis con- tinued that the ECM has also been mounted in wingtip pods on the Su-35S (L-265 KHIBINIY-10M) and Su-30SM combat aircraft (KHIBINIY-U), with one pod acting as an RF receiver to detect and geo-locate hostile trans- missions, while the second acts as the jammer. The KHIBINY-U is mounted on the SU-30S’s ventral fuselage to pro- vide coverage for a strike package. It is thought that lessons learned from Russia’s deployment to Syria have been folded into the design. The over- all KHIBINIY series is technologically significant, as it may employ sol- id-state electronics, as opposed to relying on vacuum tube technology. This will provide the wherewithal to exploit DRFM techniques, in order to conduct precise and discreet jamming. McDermott’s analysis concludes that, as for the Su-34, the L-175V KHIBINIY-10V will be an important component of RuAF Suppression of Enemy Air Defence (SEAD) doctrine. Current doctrine calls on the Su-34 to accompany a strike package of ten air- craft and conduct escort jamming. It is noteworthy that the aircraft can carry an array of anti-radiation missiles (ARM), in- cluding the Kh-25MP, Kh-27, Kh-58 se- ries and Kh-31. In such a situation, the Su-34 could play a similar role to the US Navy’s (USN) EA-28G GROWLER EW aircraft. Likewise, this aircraft can escort a strike package and be equipped with ARMs, jamming hostile radars during the sortie. The technological advances the Russians may have perfected with the L-175V/B/U could make it a serious con- cern for NATO and allied nations. Other investments in Russia’s EW posture are evident in the Kh-58UShKE ARM, the existence of which was an- nounced by Russia’s TASS news agency in August 2018, claiming the weapon is considered 150% more effective than its predecessor, the Kh-58E. Reports on indigenous capabilities by Russian news agencies, however, have been known to be exaggerated…. The new weapon has a single broadband seeker, possibly covering at least a 2-40GHz waveband, as opposed to the Kh-58E, which was said to require five different RF seekers, according to the radar threat the missile was intended to engage. Although the new Kh-58UShKE is smaller than its predecessor, it has a reported range increase to 76km compared to the 46km of its predecessor when fired from an altitude of 200m, and 245km, compared to 200km, fired from 20,000 metres. Europe Denmark Terma and Leonardo announced last October that they have joined forces to develop a new pylon-mounted self-protection system for the F-16. The initiative could merge Terma’s Electronic Combat Integrated Pylon System (ECIPS+) with Leonardo’s Compact Jamming System (CJS). Terma stated the product could equip wing stations three or seven on the F-16 without sacrificing any performance or weapons load-out. The en- semble can be paired with Terma’s PIDS+ countermeasures dispenser, which can be affixed to the weapons station on the aircraft’s opposite wing, ensuring that it has both a jamming and physical countermeasures capability against incoming radar-guided and infrared threats. Usefully, the CJS can equip the existing ECIPS+ architecture, so no additional software or hardware modifications are required to enable the aircraft to use the new self-protection system. The only required changes are a software up- date to the AN/ALQ-213(V) EW management systems used by the Royal Danish Air Force’s F-16AMs. Although the two companies began work on The Su-34 has been equipped with the L-175V KHIBINIY-10V EW system, constituting a major enhancement to the aircraft’s self-protection capabilities. (Photo: Alex Beltyukov) In August 2018, Ilyushin mooted its Il-114-300 turboprop transport as a potential platform for an electronic intelligence/electronic attack capability. (Photo: Sergey Riabsev)