Sep 17, 2020
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The main secret of the S-400. What frightened the French scouts in the Black Sea

Foreign reconnaissance ships often visit the Black Sea, but this is almost the first time NATO sailors are carrying out overt espionage missions.

Remembering Donald Cook

All warships visiting the Black Sea are required to comply with the Montreux doctrine. According to it, other states have the opportunity to send to the Black Sea basin, but with significant restrictions - no more than 30 thousand tons for a period of no more than 21 days. Often the Black Sea region is visited by warships whose home port is far from the Black Sea. For example, the Canadian frigate "Toronto" and the British "Reggele Ferdinand" have visited the Black Sea. All of them enter the water area not only to demonstrate the flag, but also for purely practical purposes.

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How such a "demonstration of determination" can end, can be well told by the sailors of the American destroyer Donald Cook, who in 2014 decided to deliberately enter the area of ​​permanent presence of the Black Sea Fleet ships. The inclusion of the Bastion coastal defense system and the irradiation of the ship was then enough for the American ship to describe the "eight" on the surface of the sea and at full speed rushed off into the sunset. Since 2014, the Russian military began to regularly build up its grouping in Crimea, and without exception, the details and subtleties of the operation of military systems began to interest the American military.

Destroyer URO "Donald Cook".  Photo © Wikipedia

Destroyer URO "Donald Cook". Photo © Wikipedia

Retired captain of the first rank Sergei Molko noted that collecting an electronic databank with signals from Russian military equipment is a routine procedure for the American military, but it is more and more difficult for the Americans to carry out these operations each time.

Everything changed after the Caucasus-2012 exercise. Then the command and control system began to be used in a completely new way. The Americans learned that such exercises were carried out from the news, not from intelligence. From a security point of view, the electronic warfare forces then managed to create an electronic dome around the exercise area. This strategy took root, and in Crimea the military did the same, just at a different level.

Sergey Molko

Retired First Rank Captain

From the air and from the sea

In 2015, after the start of the large-scale rearmament of the Black Sea Fleet, Vladimir Putin will utter historic words. "We made a fortress out of Crimea"- said the president then. There is no mistake in this statement. Crimea has indeed become impenetrable to all prying eyes, both from the air and from the sea. In addition to the Bastion complexes with cruise missiles, ultra-modern Su-30 aircraft of the naval aviation of the Russian Navy, modern frigates with Kalibr missile systems appeared in Crimea, and in the near future they will be accompanied by two Russian Mistrals built according to Project 23900 Priboy ".

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The S-400 complexes are responsible for protecting the airspace in Crimea, the secret of which is of interest to many countries of the world, including those located across the ocean from the peninsula. American RQ-4 Global Hawk drones and RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft fly over Crimea regularly. Both aircraft are equipped with a powerful active-passive antenna, thanks to which the US military has been trying for many years to "capture" the characteristics and frequencies of the entire military infrastructure of the Crimea, including the S-400 complexes. However, the presence of American aircraft often plays against the American military. To prevent the latter from being accused of dangerous behavior, NATO ships and planes are sent to get Russian military secrets from neutral waters near Crimea.

There is something to see

The United States and NATO "partners" devote significant resources to uncovering the main military secrets in Crimea. The US military is trying to do this with the help of colleagues from NATO. For example, while the US Air Force B-52 reconnaissance aircraft patrolled at the very edge of international airspace, the French reconnaissance ship Dupuy de Lome "probed" the radio frequency situation over the Crimea. From the point of view of technical equipment, there is nothing remarkable about it - an ordinary, if not ordinary, reconnaissance ship. On the other hand, the objects that the French ship with a displacement of 3.5 thousand tons tried to "probe" are of exceptional interest to the US and NATO military.

  • The secrets of the Black Sea Fleet base and the ships located at the quay wall are guarded by the Murmansk-BN electronic warfare complex. Among the military, he received the nickname "Tsar-Burner" for his ability to "clog communication channels" for thousands of kilometers. In addition to the range, practically nothing is known about the complex. The military deploy Murmansk-BN several times a year, and, in addition to exercises, the complex is regularly included in the work, but the goals and objectives for such equipment are secret and are not commented on by the military.
Photo ©

Photo ©

  • The Tor-M2 complexes (as well as the entire echelon of the air defense system), which cover the S-400 in the Crimea, were also the subject of study by the French spy ship. The point is that the approach of any foreign aircraft, especially the B-52 nuclear weapon carrier, and even more so an imitation of a nuclear strike, is "met" by a high alert regime. The role of "provocateur" in this case was played by the B-52, and the French frigate was given the role of a spy with a tape recorder to record all the changes.

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Blow to the ears

The French publication Air & Cosmos noted that from the point of view of security, the Crimea peninsula and the base of the Black Sea Fleet are "ultra-protected" from all points of view. The Crimean group of forces includes at least 85 fighters, ships with Caliber missiles and S-400 complexes that can destroy any enemy. However, the French reconnaissance ship did not come under rocket fire, but left the area of ​​the reconnaissance operation even faster than the American B-52 aircraft. The sources of Life in the defense industry explain the trick with the disappearance simply - the French could be "illuminated" from the shore.

Here again it is necessary to recall the story of the destroyer "Donald Cook". After the Monolith guidance station was switched on (it measures the target parameters - range, speed, size, type), the Americans decided not to tempt fate and left the Black Sea. The French military could test their strength not only with the Monolith, but also with the Krasukha - an electronic warfare complex that "crushes" all communication channels and practically paralyzes the operation of any equipment. Its military could turn on in response to the approach of a French reconnaissance ship to Russian territorial waters.

According to the candidate of technical sciences, one of the creators of the "Mandat" electronic warfare complex, Sergei Vlashkov, the American warship and the French ship failed to obtain data on Russian military installations in Crimea.

Americans even buy some information about Russian military equipment from other countries. It's not a secret already. It is becoming more and more difficult to spy on our own - planes are intercepted, they know the flight routes of drones. Stealth is almost zero. So you have to do a feint with your ears in order to collect at least some grains of information. There is no danger for the S-400. Electronic warfare covers the entire group like a warm duvet in cold weather

Sergey Vlashkov

Candidate of Technical Sciences, one of the creators of the "Mandat" electronic warfare complex

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Experts believe that the last Black Sea cruise of the French ship will be remembered for a long time by the military, but it is still not worth waiting for the United States and NATO to calm down. The next "voyage" of American ships is expected a couple of days before the start of the strategic exercises "Kavkaz-2020". True, this time the military does not exclude that, in addition to the French military, representatives of the military departments of several countries will start spying for the Americans.

Sergey Andreev
Sergey Andreev

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