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Jun 23, 2022
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Su-57 in the Ukrainian theater. Air defense suppression in focus

Although the suppression of the air defense of the Ukrainian Air Force, including the disabling of the 30N6E illumination and guidance radars of the S-300PS systems, as well as the military Buk-M1 air defense systems, was completely entrusted to the crews of the Su-30SM multipurpose fighters and Su-34 bombers, no less significant From now on, the Su-57 multifunctional fighters of the 5th generation will also contribute to the implementation of this task.

So, according to the RIA Novosti agency, citing a competent source in the Russian defense department, a link of 4 promising stealth Su-57 fighters, combined into a single network-centric target distribution network via secure radio channels, was first involved in the operation to suppress the air defense and missile defense system of the Air Force Ukraine in the Donbass theater of operations. Without going into tactical and technical details, the source said that “the creation of a single information network was carried out through an automatic system for communication and switching of strike complexes, as well as data transmission, navigation and identification in real time.”

What principle of operation of this system could be used by Su-57 pilots in relation to the operation to suppress Ukrainian air defense-missile defense systems, taking into account a number of tactical and technical features of the functioning of the H036 Belka airborne radars, as well as radio engineering and optoelectronic sensors installed on these machines 5th generation?

It is quite obvious that the primary task assigned to the crews of combatant Su-57s was the detection, analysis of the amplitude-frequency parameters of operation and the final identification of the 36D6 and 9S18M1 divisional detection radars and 30N6E and 9S36 illumination radars attached to the S-300PS and ” Buk-M1″ Ukrainian Air Force. After opening the positions and identifying the types of enemy radars, the coordinates of the latter were to be either distributed among the fighters of the link for further destruction by their own missile systems (X-59MK2 missiles), or transferred to the crews of Su-34 front-line bombers for striking with Kh-31PD anti-radar missiles.

Meanwhile, the main condition for the successful completion of the task of electronic intelligence and target designation on the Ukrainian theater of operations was the concealment of one’s own location from the US Air Force E-3C / G Sentry early warning aircraft loitering near the Odessa region, 36D6 surveillance radars and more modern Pelicans, as well as strategic radio engineering aircraft Rivet Joint intelligence.

And in this field, the Su-57 can boast the widest range of advantages in comparison with the Su-34 fighter-bombers. Possessing an effective reflective surface of the order of 0.2-0.25 sq. m, promising multi-role fighters Su-57 can operate freely in the airspace of the republics of Donbass and the southern regions of Nezalezhnaya without any risk of revealing their own location by AWACS aircraft loitering in the northeastern part of Romanian airspace. After all, targets with such an effective reflective surface can be detected by the AN / APY-2 radar systems of E-3C / G aircraft at a distance of no more than 270-320 km, while those with an impressive image intensifier tube of 5-7 square meters. m (with weapons on hardpoints) Su-34 multi-purpose bombers are detected by AWACS at a distance of 550-600 km.

Therefore, without information about the location of the low-profile Su-57s in the airspace above Nezalezhnaya, the E-3C / G “air radar” operators are not able to notify the crews of the Buk-M1 air defense systems and other air defense systems of the Ukrainian Air Force about the need to urgently turn off radiation from radar detectors and illumination and guidance radars. This fact allows the Su-57 pilots to locate the latter with the help of deeply modernized on-board radiation warning stations of the Pastel line, as well as N036B side-scan AFAR radars operating in the passive mode of electronic intelligence.

In the future, the coordinates of the detected radar systems assigned to Ukrainian air defense systems can be distributed in a single information field between the weapons control systems of all four Su-57s in a flight, or 12 vehicles in a squadron. For target distribution, a secure radio channel for the exchange of tactical information K-LLI is used, using the frequency range 960-1,250 MHz and protected from interference and decryption of data packets by the method of pseudo-random shifting of the operating frequency (PFC) and by using the Reed-Solomon code. Thanks to such a data exchange network, the pilot of each Su-57 from the flight or squadron will be able to track the overall operational and tactical situation with the coordinates of the enemy’s radio-emitting means in the theater.

Subsequently, these coordinates can be loaded into the inertial navigation units of Kh-59MK2 multi-purpose low-observable tactical missiles located in the Su-57 intra-fuselage weapons bays, or transferred to Su-30SM/1 and Su-34 multi-purpose fighter-bombers in the configuration of encrypted “accompaniment” files » for further loading into the INS of anti-radar missiles Kh-31P and Kh-58UShKE, the massive use of which contributes to the disabling of multi-channel air defense systems in service with the Air Force of Ukraine.

Evgeny Damantsev

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