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Electronic Warfare in the Navy’s Activities

The Russian Navy holds the upper hand in such a specific part of radio electronics as electronic warfare (EW). Yet the first steps made on implementation of the radio proved both undeniable advantages and principle flaw namely subjection to purposeful external actions. That is why the development of countermeasure principles commenced simultaneously with the evolution of radio itself and appeared in the Russian Navy by the beginning of Russo-Japanese War.

The first instance of electronic warfare use can be considered April 2, 1904 when during Port Arthur’s bombardment from the Japanese battleships the radio transmissions for fire adjustments from the spotters were jammed by deliberate interference. The classical concept of electronic warfare as the two-sided process of suppression of electronic means on one hand and interference protection on the other makes the basis of the dialectics of radio electronics development. The intention to obtain positive effect in such a confrontation has been and will always be an impetus to technological progress and improvement of tactical employment of electronic means.

Since the first days and until now the electronic warfare in the theory and practice of warfare has experienced both evolutionary and revolutionary changes. The development stages of electronic warfare are typical for the armed forces of many countries and can be traced on the assumption of such qualitative criterion as the place of EW within the boundaries of combat struggle. The mentioned criterion should be considered from different sides namely technical and military. On the basis of such concept three main stages can be highlighted in the development of electronic warfare.

Initial Stage

Its general features are:
  • From the military standpoint this is the tactical technique with the limited range of use both in time and reach (in some cases the range of EW use was extended but the main classification principle of “system (set of systems) versus system (set of systems)” remains),
  • From the technical standpoint this is the use of system or sets of systems against other systems purposely to complicate the usage of the latter by means of making deliberate interference.

This stage in the process of electronic warfare development was the most continuous both in this country and the West. The main goal was increasing of EW means in number and enhancement of their performance capability.

The Second Stage. Electronic Warfare as One of the Main Types of Combat Support

The main content of the stage is related to the enhancement of electronic means consisting of systems and packages for intelligence, communication, weapons control, development and implementation of guided weapon. That moment for complicating their usage it was required to set against the systems and packages of weapon control not ordinary means but REC systems and packages. And the more so these should be operated in strict compliance with the military operation plan (battle plan).

Thus the second stage witnessed quality changes both in military side i.e. transformation of electronic warfare in a separate type of tactical (combat) support with the extension of its range to the range of strategic, operational, and tactical use of forces and in technical side as development of EW quality changes.

The Third Stage. The Growth of Electronic Warfare into Information Struggle as an Independent Type of Warfare

It can be said the Gulf War turned a new page in the development of means usage in the armed conflicts. For the first time in the practice of military operations of such magnitude USA managed to integrate the systems of intelligence and weapons control of Multinational Force of all levels from strategic to tactical. In addition automation equipment allowed them to operate in the near real time conditions. It can be said much of the evolution of war is owned to the stability and efficiency of operation of these systems. Use of Multinational Force was aimed at disruption of the Iraqi system of command structure that was a task in hand. To meet this challenge the whole spectrum of precision weapons and EW means was used. It can be taken as an example that the new form of warfare comes into view namely activities aimed at disruption of adversary’s systems of command structure.

The mentioned general mechanisms of electronic warfare development can be traced to the full extent in the history of EW of the Russian/ Soviet Navy. Considerable contribution into the making and development of EW means was made by Russian admirals and scholars S.O. Makarov, A.S. Popov, G.O. Essen, A.N. Nepenin, I.I. Rengarten, A.A. Petrovskiy. During 1914-1917 a number of regulations of electronic warfare set-up were developed for the Navy, EW related issues were included into operational plans and tried out in battle trainings. Theoretical studies and full-scale experiments on increasing of jamming efficiency were carried out. But the Civil War resulted in dwindling of Navy’s numbers and power, actual stoppage in Navy’s development for many years slowed the progress in electronics altogether and electronic warfare means in particular.

During World War II Germany, USA, Great Britain not only possessed the means of radio detection and hydroacoustics but special means of their jamming as well. Wide usage of EW means during the landing operation in Normandy became a classical example. USSR Navy entered and finished the war without any means for blanking. The results of the war made them pay attention to this sphere of electronics in the first post-war years. On account of war’s experience study, examination of captured enemy equipment, scientific experiments, prognoses of electronics development in 1948 the report “Protective means against enemy’s radio detection and the sequence of their designing” (authors V.N. Lupall, A.D. Trophimovich) was prepared in the Navy’s Institute #6, the report served as the foundation for the development of EW in the USSR. In the late 40’s and early 50’s there were established the first scientific departments in the Naval Research Institute, opened the researches on designing of the first ship-based means of EW. However such work was not properly coordinated from both managerial and ideological sides as the regulatory bodies of the Navy lacked the departments capable to resolve such issues.

The experience of the Korean War showed the ever increasing value of electronic warfare on one hand and gap between our Navy and Navies of the leading foreign states on the other. For the first 10 post-war years only one ship-based jamming station Korall (Coral) was designed and commissioned for the Navy in 1954.

In order to expedite the development of electronic warfare, coordination of activities of Navy’s authorities and Research and Development Institute in 1956 in Operations Division of Navy Staff it was established a department for radio countermeasures and deception under captain I rank G.V. Slaschinskiy. Similar structures were organized at the different Fleets. This very time was marked by creation of EW ground units meant for the support of naval forces’ activities at sea.

In 1958 the Navy commissioned ship-based jamming station Krab (Crab) that was installed at the cruisers, destroyers and large submarine submarine-hunting ships. In 1961-1962 the first self-propelled and drifting stations for hydroacoustic noise were commissioned for submarines. “Fighting Manual against Adversary’s Electronic Means” was introduced in the Navy. Practical drills on EW took its place in operational training procedures. There were many enthusiast including P.I. Moshkin, D.I. Schukin, K.P. Sergeev, B.I. Bondarev, A.N. Prikhodko, S.P. Panfilov, V.S. Fedorischev who worked on the issue in the Staffs and Institutes.

In spite of some positive results achieved in the 50’s-60’s there were no distinctive breakthrough in the field of electronic warfare development. The main bottlenecks were the following:
  • There were no special training of EW specialists and communication radio-technical specialists were engaged for these positions as a rule;
  • There were no specialized plants as the EW means were attempted to manufacture as additions to ordinary electronic means;
  • There was no system established for training of naval specialists of command level;
  • Lack of distinct combat and specialized training on EW.

Vietnam and Middle East Wars definitely claimed for radical efficiency increase of EW in view of naval operations. That is why in the late 60’s Navy’s EW bodies were reorganized into separate Divisions of Navy and Fleet Staffs. They were headed by A.N. Khudyakov, S.S. Romanov, V.A. Nikitin, N.A. Piastre.

In the Naval Academy it was established a special class at first that later grew into department of Naval Electronics Warfare under V.S. Pirumov. Starting 1969 the specialists training was begun in the Naval Institute of Radioelectronics under supervision of V.Ya. Radovilskiy.

In the late 60’s and early 70’s the new generation of EW means was commissioned for the Navy, including electronic intelligence stations, active and passive jamming means, self-propelled submarine decoys. The level of their performance capability however and the main thing their amount did not meet the swiftly growing needs of ocean going Navy under construction.

In 1975 the author of this article was put in charge of the EW Naval Division. At short notice the issue of Naval EW condition was highlighted with regard to real life needs. It would be enough to mention the issuance of 7 decrees by the Central Committee of Communist Party of the Soviet Union and government regulating the primary tasks, building programs and fitting the Navy with EW equipment as well the measures to ensure fulfillment of the mentioned decrees.

The general essence of this work was the implementation of system approach to the development of EW in all aspects. The main burden of such work fell upon the shoulders of EW Division’s specialists including considerable contribution from V.A. Nikitin, I.V. Kavetskiy, F.A. Smirnov. Their activities were greatly supported by naval scholars and in the first place by A.N. Partala and R.A. Chervinskiy.

By the late 70’s the Navy had developed and almost adopted the theory of organization and conducting EW during military operations, structured EW units and detachments, established EW training for all the branches of the Navy.

The Navy raised and trained experts on EW including L.V. Aminin, V.A. Kalinin, A.V. Dubinin, V.K. Kashintsev, I.M. Tregubov, P.I. Smirnov, N.N. Gelunov and others. Active part was taken by scientific departments led by Doctors of Science V.S. Pirumov, A.N. Partala, G.V. Slavyanskiy, R.A. Chervinskiy.

The high effectiveness of the activities was facilitated by the constant attention to EW issues, direct management and assistance from the Navy Staff and in particular S.G. Gorshkov, N.D. Sergeev, V.A. Kasatonov, G.M. Egorov, P.G. Kotov who truly devoted to the magnitude and complexity of the issue and participated at first hand personally and directly.

The work completed in the late 70’s and early 80’s allowed passing to the new stage of EW development resulted in making in the end of the 80’s of multipurpose systems of EW based on modern technology and wide introduction of automation.

The EW means developed in the 80’s were high-efficiency systems capable in the shortest time available to manage the electronic environment in the operational zone and blank with active and passive jamming adversary’s detection acquisition systems, weapons and forces control systems.

The Russian Navy is now equipped with the means that in some instances are as good as their foreign analogues and sometimes even better.

As it was mentioned above nowadays the EW systems and packages along with precision weapons are considered as the basis for the deception of adversary’s control systems. In comparison with other means they possess a number of unquestionable advantages. Among them are lack of need for direct confrontation with adversary’s forces meaning absence of possible losses in personnel and equipment while accomplishment of the objective, “inexhaustible supply” of active jamming means, initial advantage in mutual detection and range of efficient attack on the systems using active detection and aiming methods, etc. Potentially EW means can widely expand their capabilities by adding a facility for functional kill of radioelectronics and impacting of computers and intelligence systems, etc.

All this shows the prospects of this warfare that in the 21st century can become one of the main armament of the navies.

Author: V.S. Pirumov – Doctor of Military Science, honored worker of science of Russia, Rear-Admiral

Translated by: RusNavy.com