Samarkand electronic warfare system
Russia plans to place 16 new Samarkand electronic warfare systems near the borders in the West, in the East and on the territory of Belarus. In October 2018 information from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on holding a tender for current repairs, installation and revision of "Samarkands" came to RosSMI. This "uplifting" news for them immediately began to comment on Russian experts, and in most cases their opinion boiled down to the fact that this is "a completely new type of weapon, about which NATO countries do not know anything." In the tender documentation for the installation and connection of the components of the complexes to the data transmission system of the Ministry of Defense, posted on the public procurement portal, it is reported that 16 electronic warfare systems "Samarkand-U", "Samarkand SU-PRD-K2", "Samarkand PU-PRD-D "Are already in 13 military units in the Arkhangelsk, Kaliningrad, Moscow, Murmansk, Nizhny Novgorod regions, Krasnodar and Primorsky Territories , the Jewish Autonomous Region , as well as in Belarus. Work on the installation of the Samarkand electronic warfare systems should be completed by November 10, 2019, and the initial contract price is 61 million rubles.
It is logical to ask, what are these “Samarkands”? How will they affect the fighting efficiency of the army of aggressive Russia? And then, how afraid of new Russian electronic warfare systems is Ukraine and NATO countries? It is known from open sources that an electronic warfare complex designed to suppress radio signals from military equipment - from radar and communication stations to unmanned aerial vehicles. In fact, the EW complex is a signal jammer. How new can such a technique be? Russia has long been paying a lot of attention to the creation and renovation of such complexes: in 2012, the Russian Federation developed a project for the electronic warfare "Rubella-2". A year later, it was upgraded to "Rubella-4". Over the past 6 years, Russia has developed 6 electronic warfare systems, and another 7 is now at the testing stage - "Rubella", "Leer", "Murmansk", "Svet", "Samarkand" and "Moscow-1". Some of these complexes, namely “Moscow-1”, “Leer-3” and “Rubukha-2”, were also seen in the territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine occupied by Russia.
Detailed characteristics of "Samarkand" are classified. Military expert Anton Lavrov, in a commentary to the VZGLYAD newspaper, suggested that this complex is designed to suppress tactical military communications of the enemy in case of aggression. However, the expert of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies , captain of the second rank of the reserve Maxim Shepovalenko, has a different opinion. “All means of electronic warfare in one way or another work on all radio-electronic means of the enemy, be it communications, navigation, radar or whatever. Everything that emits will be suppressed, ”Shepovalenko explained to the VZGLYAD newspaper.
“Most likely,“ Samarkand ”is a means of operational and strategic importance. It is unlikely that this is what is supplied at the tactical level, relatively speaking, to formations - brigades or divisions. This is most likely a means of an army or district level, ”the source emphasized. “This is not a means of suppressing VHF radio stations, which, relatively speaking, are equipped with some Latvian or Estonian battalions or some American brigade or battalion that happened to be. This is an electronic warfare system for suppressing enemy command and control facilities at the level of the joint command, and so on, ”he suggested. “In general, this is a serious toy, not a tactical pukalka, but a means of the highest echelon,” Shepovalenko believes. An expert in electronic intelligence, editor-in-chief of the submariners' website "Avtonomka", Lieutenant-Commander of the Reserve Alexander Viktorov noted that it was no coincidence that the complexes were deployed in the Kaliningrad region and Belarus. “Why the western direction? Because recently, unmanned and manned reconnaissance planes often pass in close proximity to our borders and can take various kinds of telemetric information. For example, about the frequencies of air defense systems, military airfields - any information that may later affect the outcome of hostilities, ”he told the VZGLYAD newspaper. “Accordingly, this complex, as I suppose, firstly, can reduce such risks to a minimum, and secondly, make the intelligence and radio intelligence work of NATO countries less effective or even nullify it. The plane went along the border of Poland and Belarus - they took it on a pencil, "added Viktorov, adding that, most likely, the Samarkand complex will be located within a unified command and control system.
At the same time, Shepovalenko noted: “I do not think that this is connected with any particular threatened direction. If you look at it, they are evenly distributed between all directions. It has nothing to do with the teachings of Trident Juncture. In any case, we will routinely equip our forces with means of functional destruction of the enemy, that is, means that disable control systems. " It's just that Kaliningrad , Belarus - the west is one of the strategic directions, here there is a normal distribution among all, he explained.
But the very specificity of electronic warfare systems in a commentary to Ukrinform was explained by the editor of the English-language magazine Ukrainian Defense Review, Anton Mikhnenko. “The electronic warfare complex is designed to suppress signals that are emitted by military equipment in the range. The list of such equipment is quite wide: navigation aids, radio communication systems, radar stations, unmanned aerial vehicles and the like, ”explains Mikhnenko.
At the same time, the expert on national security and defense of the Ukrainian Institute of the Future, Glen Grant, in a comment to Ukrinform, suggested that the Samarkand electronic warfare systems are quite expensive. “One system like“ Samarkand ”can cost 60 million dollars, and there are 16 such complexes. So, Russia will spend about a billion dollars on“ Samarkand ”. It should be noted that the Russians' electronic warfare technology is one of the best in the world, if not the best in comparison with other types of weapons. However, here it is very difficult to understand how much this or that EW complex costs them, because it is not known which path the Russians took - they created something fundamentally new, or modernized the already existing stations, ”the expert argues. To assess what threats Samarkand will create for Ukraine, it is necessary to analyze the data on the deployment of the complexes, as well as the range. “If the range is within 200-300 kilometers, and the station is located somewhere in the Krasnodar Territory, the threat is not too great, but if they install Samarkand in the Rostov Region, directly on the border with Ukraine, then, of course, signals from objects that are in Ukraine, may be suppressed, ”explains Anton Mikhnenko.
“Ukraine has experience in countering RF electronic warfare systems. We are trying to equip our unmanned aerial vehicles or radar stations in such a way that Russian electronic warfare systems are the least effective for them. For example, the Ukrainian radar station "Malakhit" can change the frequency of the location. Interference of the EW complex is placed either specifically on its frequency, or broadband - in the full range. If in the full range - this is already a problem. Therefore, the overwhelming majority of electronic warfare stations are aimed at suppressing signals at specific frequencies. And Ukraine also has Harris communications equipment in service - they are designed to work in a rather complex radio-electronic environment, when the enemy's electronic warfare is intensively working. The Harrises are quick to exchange data, and they have the function of "jumping" from one frequency to another, and therefore they are not so easy to catch and suppress. It can hardly be said that the deployment of Samarkands means some new problems for Ukraine, ”sums up Anton Mikhnenko.
What was the goal pursued by the Russian Ministry of Defense, opening a large-scale deployment of these complexes? Glen Grant believes that the Samarkand deployment is part of a long-term plan. “We need to look at this from a strategic point of view. Russia is placing complexes "on its western border - in Rostov, Kaliningrad. Several complexes "flew" eastward, to the borders with Japan. It is possible that Russia can simply replace outdated electronic warfare systems with new ones, ”the expert said.
Glen Grant argues that the outdated electronic warfare systems that were imported into Ukraine during the Ukrainian-Russian war suit Russia in terms of their performance characteristics: “They have a range of 10-30 kilometers, which is more than enough to intercept drones and jam communications on the front line. ... The Samarkands have a much longer range, possibly more than 300 km. There is a war on the territory of Ukraine, and there is a risk that the location of "Samarkand" will be calculated. No commander will give the latest system to the front line, where it can be captured. Consequently, they will be installed where they are needed for the conduct of hostilities and will be safe. And using “Samarkand” now in Donbass is like shooting at flies with a cannon, ”the expert believes.
And why was the information "leaked"? And then how to assess the penetration of information about the tender from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation to the Internet - is it a deliberate "leak" or an accident? Considering that we are talking about the Kaliningrad region, and in relation to Belarus, it still looks like a "drain". “Russia traditionally uses the Kaliningrad region to demonstrate pressure on Western countries. Like, we have such means of warfare, and they will stand under your nose. In addition, the complexes have not yet been deployed - that is, this is a certain message to the Western countries, the creation of an atmosphere. And also this informational influence on its own population - an ordinary Russian positively perceives the news about modern military equipment, unknown to the "bad" West, which appears in the armament of Russia, "Anton Mikhnenko is convinced.
Supports the version that information about “Samarkand” was spread for a reason, and the expert of the Ukrainian Institute of the Future Igar Tyshkevich. “Firstly, the mobile version of Samarkand is not much different in terms of configuration from the previous electronic warfare complex“ Moscow-1 ”. Secondly, judging by the information about the points of deployment and the distance between them, it can be assumed that the radius of effective use of "Samarkand" is 80-90 km. Consequently, this is not a new complex, but a revision of "Moscow-1". And thirdly, all "Samarkands" should be deployed at those military facilities of the Russian Federation, where the electronic warfare systems were supposed to be by definition. Including, and at one of the military bases of the Russian Federation in Belarus "Vileika". Consequently, the deployment of "Samarkand" is nothing more than the modernization of existing communication centers. In this case, we have witnessed Russia's information operation against its own population and neighboring countries. This “operation” also supported the state of nervousness in Ukraine, reminded of the discussion about the degree of independence of the Belarusian leadership, and sparked discussions about the real danger for Ukraine from Belarus, ”the expert explains.
So, is that “Samarkand” not as scary as the Russian media and experts portray it? Or maybe this is similar to the case when Russia presents even insignificant stages in the work of its military-industrial machine as a great victory? Well, if so, then this is not the first and not the last such case. It is interesting, by the way, what the government of Uzbekistan thinks about this, because the name of the ancient Uzbek city is why this Russian "horror story" is named.
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