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Radio Electronic Combat (REC)
Electronic Counter-Measures (ECM)

For years the Soviets recognized the importance of electronic warfare (EW) and made a major investment in electronic counter-countermeasures (ECCM), as well as lethal and nonlethal countermeasures. Soviet writings on EW are included under broader topics such as security, command and control, reconnaissance, air defense, and camouflage. This treatment of electronic warfare in the context of routine operations indicated that the Soviets consider EW to be integral to all combat actions.

Technical advancements in both electronic warfare support measures (ESM) and electronic countermeasures (ECM) have been noted in all Soviet forces. Ground forces continue to introduce new jammers, as well as a new series of improved signals intelligence (SIGINT) vehicles. The air forces have numerous aircraft devoted to EW as escortand standoff jammer platforms. Also since 1979, there had been increased emphasis on Soviet offensive, penetrating air forces equipped with ECM and accompanied by dedicated EW aircraft. Strategic fixed jammers were located throughout the Soviet Union.

The Sovietshave developed their electronic warfare capabilities into an integrated system called Radio Electronic Combat (REC). REC doctrine added a new dimension to the US view of electronic warfare. REC combined signals intelligence, direction finding, intensive jamming, deception, and destructive fires to attack enemy organizations and systems through their means of control. The purpose of REC is to limit, delay, or nullify the enemy's use of his command and control systems, while protecting Soviet systems by electronic counter-countermeasures. An estimated goal of the system is to destroy or to disrupt a majority of the enemy's command, control, and weapon system communications, either by jamming or by destructive fires.

Communication control points are assigned a priority according to their expected relative impact on the battle. They are selected with the intention of eliminating them by either physical destruction or by jamming. Although REC target priorities are dependent on the command level and may be altered as the tactical situation develops, they generally were:

  • Artillery, rocket, and air force units that possess nuclear projectiles or missiles and their associated control system.
  • Command posts, obsemtion posts, communications centers, and radar stations.
  • Field artillery, tactical air force, and air defense units limited to conventional firepower.
  • Reserve forces and logistics centers.
  • Point targets that may jeopardize advancing Soviet forces, e.g, dug-in tanks, antitank guided missile emplacements, bunkers, and direct fire guns.

Aviation supporting front operations included support squadrons with aircraft equipped to conduct electronic warfare missions. These units can conduct electronic reconnaissance missions and ECM against radar, electronic guidance, and communications systems. The most common air ECM operations were spot or barrage jamrning and dispensing chaff directed against enemy air defense early warning and lire control radars. Frontal aviation bombing operations will be protected or camoutlaged by aircrhfi using ECM in either a stand-off or escort role. Jamming equipment, with an effective range up to 200 kilometers and covering frequencies used by NATO air defense radars, is installed in these ECM aircraft. They also may eject chaff to achieve jamming, deception, and camouflage. Individual aircraft may carry self-screening jammers and chaff dispensers.

Various Soviet aircraft have variants that are dedicated to EW activities. Included are modified versions of the AN-12 CUB used for ECM and electronic intelligence (ELINT) collection, the COOT-A ECM or ELINT variant of the IL-18 transport which supposedly carries a side-looking airborne radar (SLAR), and fighter variants such as the MiG-21 FISHBED H with a center. line pod, and the MiG-25 FOXBAT, which carries five cameras and is believed to have a SLAR capability. There are also ECM versions of the Yak-28 BREWER (E-model) fixed-wing aircraft and the Mi-4 HOUND helicopter (C-model). The Mi-4 contains multiple antennas projecting from the front and rear of the cabin, and, on each side, communication jammers. Long-range EW aircraft indude the BEARD, BISON C, BADGER D, and BADGER F variants.

Airborne electronic reconnaissance platforms provide a much improved capability to intercept radio and radar signals more frequently and at greater distances than ground-based systems. These airborne electronic reconnaissace platforms are aimed at the detection and location of enemy battlefield surveillance radars, command posts, communication centers, and tactical nuclear delivery systems. They also are used in standoff or escort jamming roles.

Naval aircraft are employed in long-range reconnaissance and ocean surveillance, with some aircraft equipped to provide midcourse target data for antiship missiles launched "over the horizon" from surface ships, submarines, and other aircraft. Reconnaissance aircraft in use in the 1980s included about 50 of the larger Tu-95 / BEAR D turbo-prop planes, about 100 twin-jet Tu-16/BADGER aircraft, and Tu-2Z/BLINDER jet aircraft that have a supersonic speed.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:13:10 ZULU