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Radiotechnical Troops (Radio-Teknicheskie Voiska)

The Radio-Technical Troops (RTT) is a subdivision of the Russian Air Force. Their objective is to carry out the radar reconnaissance of enemies in the air and report radar information to the command-and-control elements of the Air Force and parts of the Russian Armed Forces.

All the existing Air Defense Systems, including Air Defense Force, Anti-missile Defense Force, the Moscow Anti-rocket Defense Force, the Early Warning against rocket attack system and the space echelon satellites, which monitor missile directions were all to be part of the new Aero-Space Defense Force, created in 2011.

In support of the Air Defense Forces, the Radiotechnical Troops operated 10,000 ground-based air surveillance radars for surface-to-air missile operations. In addition, the air defense systems of the Warsaw Pact countries were highly integrated into the Soviet network, effectively extending the range of Soviet early warning capabilities. The Radar Forces of the PVO consist of brigades and regiments, together with a number of independent battalions and companies. They are equipped with several thousand radar installations, for the detection of enemy aircraft and space weapons and for the guidance towards these targets of PVO robot and interceptor aircraft.

The RTT is a relatively new. In their current form, they were created in January 1952, but they have much deeper historical roots. The need to alert the population and troops of approaching enemy aircraft became imperative during World War I, prompting the creation of "horizon observation posts" to help defend the city of Petrograd and the Tsarskoe Selo, suburb of St. Petersburg, from air attacks. Later, these posts merged into the Aerial Surveillance, Warning, and Communication Service (ASWC).

Up until the late 1930s, ASWC posts were equipped with relatively primitive equipment. In 1938, the RUS-1 (aircraft radio detector), the world's first radar, was created. It was first used during the Soviet-Finnish War in 1939-1940. The RUS-2 (Redoubt) radar, a modification of RUS-1, was designed in 1939 and was widely used against enemy aircraft during the Great Patriotic War (a term used in Russia and other ex-Soviet states to describe the conflict between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany during World War II).

In the postwar years, it became increasingly important to have information on enemy air forces and the timing of a possible attack, and to prevent and control the enemy's air reconnaissance.

On December 15, 1951, the USSR Council of Ministers issued a resolution, which established the Radio-Technical Troops as a combat arm of the National Air Defense (AD) and the radar service of the AD fighter aviation. They were based on the ASWC. They were officially called the Radio-Technical Troops of the Aerial Surveillance, Warning, and Communication Service of the National Air Defense. In 1955, they were renamed the Radio-Technical Troops of the National Air Defense, and in 1980, the Radio-Technical Troops of the Air Defense.

In the 1950s declared goals for Soviet air defense projected a defense in depth. Evidence of a continuing commitment to "brute force" solutions, high priority to warning, and indicative of the problems faced in protecting vast regions of the USSR, overlapping air surveillance and early warning networks began to appear in some regions of the Soviet Union during this period. Priority to these regions limited coverage capabilities in others. Large numbers of manned interceptors enabled the employment of barrier patrols to provide some warning and limited engagement capabilities for these regions in good weather. Visual observers also continued active even as overall radar warning capabilities grew.

The experience of the Korean War also showed the Soviets the increased importance of a first attack by jet fighters. In a "majority of cases" they found the first attack was the only possible one. This put a high premium on warning and effective GCI as well as improved pilot training. Thus, as PVO Strany moved to improve the Soviet national air defense system, increased and continuing emphasis was given to GCI equipment. The Token development and deployment gave evidence of Soviet technological capacity since it marked a modest time lag between appearance of a prototype and the subsequent large-scale deployment. It provided a practical demonstration of the great strides made by the Soviets in mastering Western technology, but in particular, seemed to underscore the sense of urgency and purpose in Soviet air defense developments.

Air defense requirements grew for the USSR as the threat of Western strategic air increased. The Soviet actions to plug gaps in the developing air defense system with available capabilities and expedients contrasted with US deliberations about costs and commitment to strategic offensive forces. The Soviet basic concern for warning was evident; less clear is whether it derived its form and dimension because of specific US developments and deployments. As it uncovered, the major portion of the Soviet effort appeared to be directed against strategic attack possibilities. By the early 1950's, U.S. carrier aviation and the growth of NATO tactical capabilities extended the problem.

From the late 1950s to the mid-1960s the Radio-Technical Troops underwent rapid development. The combat arm was extensively supplied with the most advanced radar equipment of the day, and new forces were deployed. From the mid-1960s to the late 1970s, the combat arm continued adopting new equipment, most importantly automated control systems.

In the 1980s, the combat arm was supplied with new weaponry and military equipment, including significantly more powerful radar systems and radar stations, based on state-of-the-art technology developed by Soviet programmers and radio engineers. An extensive rearmament program facilitated the creation of automated radar systems within combined units and large strategic formations of the Air Defense Forces.

By the 1980s the Troops of National Air Defense (PVO) deployed extensive and effective radar target detection and fire control systems. Radar coverage in the Soviet Union made it possible to continuously track aircraft movements across the country's airspace. The radars fall into two general categories: surveillance and fire control. Surveillance includes early warning, target-acquisition, and height-finding radars. Some fire control radars also have limited target-acquisition capability. Radars work as systems rather than as separate units. The majority of target-acquisition radars are at the operational level. Army and army group air defense operations centers accumulate and process most target information and pass it to maneuver divisions.

High-level commanders select the weapon system that can best engage a given target. Army group, army, and division target-acquisition radars detect and monitor targets. The radars then provide the necessary data for engagement. They gather the information without unnecessarily exposing the air defense firing battery and radars mounted on transporter-erector-launchers and radars (TELARs) to detection by enemy forces and subsequent neutralization by electronic countermeasures (ECM) or destruction.

Although equipped with numerous modern weapons systems, the Air Defense Forces made operational errors that raised serious questions about their command, control, and communications systems and training. In September 1983, Soviet interceptors shot down a South Korean passenger jet that strayed into Soviet airspace over Sakhalin. In May 1987, Mathias Rust, a citizen of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), flew his private airplane into Soviet airspace and landed in Red Square in Moscow. As a result, the commander in chief of the Air Defense Forces, a former fighter pilot, was fired and replaced with a high-ranking Ground Forces officer who had extensive combined arms experience.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the Air Defense Forces were significantly weakened. The disbandment of a large number of radio-technical units disrupted the continuity of radar coverage over Russia and made the air defense system less capable.

The Federal Airspace Reconnaissance and Control System (FARCS) was created on January 14, 1994, by order of the Russian president. The new structure was designed to integrate radar systems and the Air Defense Forces, the Department of Air Transport, the Air Force, and the Navy by means of an automated system. The FARCS management was assigned to the Commander of Air Defense Forces, who exercised his power through the commanders of the various air defense areas.

In 1998, the Air Defense Forces and the Air Force merged into a single service. Units with similar duties were combined, which resulted in the creation of a unified system of radar reconnaissance and radar support based on the Radio-Technical Troops.

Roughly 50 percent of Russia's airspace was not covered by the country's radar and tracking systems, "Izvestiya" reported on 8 August 2003, citing Defense Ministry air-defense officials. "Regular radar monitoring is carried out only on the western and southern borders of Russia," Air Force commander Colonel General Vladimir Mikhailov said. "In other regions, it is spotty. In the north, only one-third of the airspace is covered. In all, radar covers about 35 percent of the territory of the country."

Defense Ministry air-defense official Mikhail Kizilov told the daily that President Vladimir Putin has ordered the complete overhaul and modernization of the country's air-defense system and that process is already under way. He said Russian aircraft have been equipped with recognition systems and that next year the country will begin deploying the new, advanced S-400 antiaircraft missile system. He added that the Air Force's fleet of interceptors is being upgraded, although money for new aircraft has not been allocated.

The joint CIS air-defense system was established in 1995 by nine CIS countries. However, it became clear that only Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were continuing to improve the system. Ukraine and Uzbekistan cooperate with Moscow on a bilateral basis alone, while Georgia and Turkmenistan have not been involved in interaction over the last seven years. In 2005 Moscow and Minsk established a joint regional air-defense system in 2005. The Supreme Council of the Belarus-Russia Union State would appoint a general in charge of this bilateral air-defense system and its forces and resources would be subordinated to him.

The RTT consist of radio-technical regiments, which are part of the Air Force, the Space Defense Brigade, and other units under the control of the Air Force High Command. In peacetime, all deployed RTT units and command posts are on alert duty and protect the state border in airspace. In 2013, the RTT tracked over 360,000 flights over Russian territory.

The RTT are a high-tech combat arm, equipped with complex and costly modern weapons and military equipment. To operate the high-tech equipment, the service personnel are required to have thorough education and training. Each year, over 1,000 personnel, including officers and lower-ranking specialist personnel, undergo training and take professional development courses at RTT educational centers.

The main requirement for the radio-electronic equipment supplied to the Radio-Technical Troops is its ability to increase RTT units' maneuverability and their ability to provide information on the current military situation in any new positioning area in the shortest possible time.

The RTT are supplied with advanced radio-electronic equipment, including radar systems and radars such as Nebo, Protivnik, Gamma, Sopka, Kasta, Podlyot, and automated systems like Fundament and Krym. In 2014, RTT units will receive ten Nebo-ME advanced radar systems capable of detecting any type of aircraft at ranges of over 1,000 kilometers. By 2015, the share of modern weapons in the RTT is expected to reach at least 30 percent, approaching 70 percent by 2020.

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Page last modified: 15-12-2016 16:01:30 ZULU