What electronic warfare aircraft do Russian strike aircraft need?

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As the Northern Military District in Ukraine has shown, modern war is unthinkable without developed electronic warfare systems. There is an urgent need for both compact electronic warfare systems to cover ground forces from enemy FPV drones, and air-based systems to increase the effectiveness of Russian aviation in the skies over Ukraine.

How are they doing?


The reason for writing this publication was post in the profile telegram channel “Russian Engineer”, which covers many technical issues related to the progress of the SVO:



What we absolutely lack, or rather, lack as a class, are electronic warfare aircraft based on front-line aviation. That is, not the electronic warfare that we are used to seeing from FPV, but factory systems that suppress communications and actively interfere with air defense radars. In NATO, their ratio, roughly speaking, is up to one vehicle per 10 attack vehicles, and dozens of such vehicles globally jammed the air defense of Iraq and Yugoslavia during raids. In fact, its task is located above and slightly behind, not in the range of the air defense missile system, and when they try to aim missiles at attack aircraft, the electronic warfare aircraft blinds the air defense missile system radar with interference, selects the desired frequency and signal shape so that it cannot be filtered out.

In case anyone is interested, we touched on the subject of airborne electronic warfare in ARTICLES as early as September 21, 2021, before the start of active hostilities. The reason for reflection was the myth of how a Russian Su-24 ten years ago was allegedly able to single-handedly disable the Aegis missile defense system of the American destroyer Donald Cook with an electronic warfare attack using the Khibiny complex, after which its crew allegedly almost Everyone resigned from the strongest emotional experiences.

What air-based electronic warfare systems we actually have will be discussed later, but for now let’s see what the American and Chinese armies have.

For example, on the decks of the American “democracy peddlers” are based the Boeing EA-18 Growler aircraft, specially created for anti-radar warfare using suspended electronic warfare containers ALQ-18 and ALQ-99. The carrier-based aircraft's armament also includes two AN/AGM-218 HARM anti-radar missiles. The main purpose of the EA-88 Growler is to jam enemy airborne radars and guided missiles, as well as provide group protection of aircraft combat formations from air defense systems.

It is known that remotely controlled versions of the Growler are being developed for the US Navy, as well as the latest electronic warfare aircraft based on the F-35B carrier-based short take-off and vertical landing aircraft.

They are also trying to keep up with their potential opponents in China. There, on the basis of the Soviet Su-27 fighter, produced under license, they created their own deeply modernized version called J-16, which now belongs to the 4++ generation. In the J-16D modification, the twin-engine Chinese fighter turned into an electronic warfare aircraft. But for its aircraft carriers, Beijing has developed the J-15D electronic warfare aircraft, which contains the genes of the Soviet carrier-based fighter Su-33.

And what about us?


When you start to look at what we actually have in terms of airborne electronic warfare, you get a not entirely clear impression. It seems that everything is there, but not enough, in conditionally “homeopathic” doses.

For example, there are specialized electronic warfare aircraft Il-22PP “Porubshchik”. Having risen into the sky, they must automatically find the desired frequency and disrupt the communication channel between the transmitting and receiving technique enemy. It would seem that the “Choppers” should have cut off all communications of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, disrupting their coordination and interaction, but only three of them were produced. And this is for the entire thousand-kilometer front line!

And is it worth mentioning separately that a relatively low-speed aircraft, created on the basis of the Il-22 Bison (an air command post based on the Il-18), is a priority target for enemy air defense aimed at the target with the help of NATO? The latter is also true for helicopter-based electronic warfare.

In particular, the carriers of the Rychag-AV and Rychag-BV active jamming stations are the few Mi-8MTPR-1 army aviation helicopters. They are used during the SVO for their intended purpose; previously they showed themselves well in Syria, so they are a tasty prey for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. On May 13, 2023, an entire air group was lost in the Bryansk region, consisting of a Su-34 fighter-bomber, a Su-35 fighter and two Mi-8 helicopters, one of which, according to some reports, carried electronic warfare.

Based on the experience of the Northern Military District, we can conclude that what is required is a massive front-line electronic warfare aircraft, as the “Russian Engineer” spoke about at the beginning of this publication. In addition to the notorious “Khibiny” systems, the SAP-14 “Tarantul” group defense container station complex, developed for the Su-34, can be used to create active noise interference with surveillance radars, air defense systems and aviation radars.

Thus, technical solutions are available, the only question is where to get so many free carrier aircraft for them and trained crews to get closer to the indicator of one electronic warfare aircraft per 10 attack aircraft to cover them. Perhaps we should also move towards remote-controlled unmanned vehicles, as the Americans do with their Growlers?
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  1. +2
    20 February 2024 12: 55
    It is known that remotely controlled versions of the Growler are being developed for the US Navy, as well as the latest electronic warfare aircraft based on the F-35B carrier-based short take-off and vertical landing aircraft.

    The transition to unmanned vehicles is clearly preferable, which is obvious. This means it’s high time to develop uncrewed electronic warfare aircraft and others. What kind of aircraft it is up to the experts to decide, but whether the Ministry of Defense has such orders, even if they cannot build the old ones in the required range and quantities. Or again, all hope lies with volunteers, because criticism of official structures has already set the teeth on edge....
  2. +1
    20 February 2024 15: 23
    What electronic warfare aircraft do Russian strike aircraft need?
    In the Russian Federation, is there a huge selection of aircraft???
    We also need AWACS equipment. AWACS based on the Il-76 A-100 in 2025 will mark the anniversary of the start of development, 25 years. It is not known when the A-100 will be delivered to the RF Armed Forces. All electronic warfare and AWACS aircraft are Soviet. In order to have electronic warfare, AWACS, etc., the radio-electronic industry and its own electronic components are needed.
  3. +5
    20 February 2024 15: 52
    Based on the experience of the Northern Military District, we can conclude that what is required is a massive front-line electronic warfare aircraft, as the “Russian Engineer” spoke about at the beginning of this publication.

    It is not for nothing that they say that our generals are always preparing for the last war. What, it was impossible to understand this before? Analyze the actions of the same Americans in all conflicts, starting with Vietnam, where they most massively used bomber and attack aircraft! Or Yugoslavia! Everywhere the Americans used aircraft jammers and flying radars to reconnaissance targets. Wasn’t it easy for lampasniks to simply carry out an analysis? And grab the Moscow Region’s throat with its teeth to allocate funds for the construction of such aircraft?
    I realized a long time ago that our generals are proud birds - until you hit them in the ass with a boot, they won’t fly...
  4. +1
    21 February 2024 22: 37
    Thus, technical solutions are available, the only question is where to get so many free carrier aircraft for them and trained crews to get closer to the indicator of one electronic warfare aircraft per 10 attack aircraft to cover them. Perhaps we should also move towards remote-controlled unmanned vehicles, as the Americans do with their Growlers?

    - thus, Sergei Marzhetsky, what prevented our Defense Ministry from ordering, and our military-industrial complex from creating and training? Or do you need to wait for the magic kickoff? Why do mattresses have them and we don’t? Why do their reconnaissance drones fly over the Black Sea as if they were at home, flying in from Sicily? Who should get the legendary lyulas to make all this move and spin? Or is everyone waiting for the elections again? And our guys in Donbass still somehow win... It's a mess!!!