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Communication Means of the Navy

The appearance of the USSR naval ships in the vast of World Ocean in the sixties, the relevance increase of the tasks to meet from strategic point of view the same as the experience gained in the years of the World War II required the change from various types of communication systems to the unified global hot line that was supposed to meet the main goal i.e. the assurance of prompt, reliable and secure relay of information. In its turn the development of the global naval communication link involved solution of a vast variety of scientific and technical issues related to communication with the submerged submarines, range of coverage, security of a submarine in a process of data transmission, automation of communication chain and communication quality in condition of active electronic countermeasures.

All this necessitated the development of not only radically new comms links with the higher-end hardware but the new principles in construction and operation of land and ship-based communication facilities as well.

The basic administrative and technical solutions were developed and proposed by the Naval Research Institute of Communication with active participation of professors of the Naval Academy future academicians of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (AS USSR) A.I. Berg and A.N. Schukin. It was envisaged to develop controlling and communication means of the command centers for the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy and Fleets Commanders, receiving radio centers of long-distance communication with submarines, land-based radio stations and centers with high capacity operating high frequency (HF) and ultra long waves (ULW), as well as comms links between radio centers and stations. The basic concept of the new naval communication system was set forth in Naval Communication Regulations published in 1952 in Head Communication Department under N.I. Tsvetkovs supervision.

In the late forties and early fifties for the Navys purposes the construction of receiving and transmitting radio centers operating HF range and high power ULW radio stations was commenced. In 1952 the installation of captured-base ULW radio station Goliaf (Goliath) with 1000 kW output capacity was completed.

In parallel with the development of land-based communication systems of the Navy the technical means with high-speed, security and automation were designed for surface ships and submarines. The experts of the Naval Research Institute of Communication designed special HF very-high-speed (VHS) secured communication link later named Akula (Shark). Then existing systems could not detect and not even saying of taking a bearing of VHS transmissions. In addition thanks to the usage of increased capacity (up to 15 kW) radio transmitting equipment at submarines and a set of geographically distributed land-based receiving radio centers the high-fidelity reception was possible even at range of 8-10 thousand kilometers. Navy commissioning of VHS communication means marked the new qualitative stage in the development of naval communication systems.

Since 1956 the devices for automatic coding of transmitted information found widespread application in the Navy they were later developed into the whole system of devices.

In parallel with the wide spread of VHS means at submarines there were taken steps in development of communication of land-based submarines command and control centers. With this end in view there were designed high capacity ultra long wave radio stations of types Gercules (Hercules) and Taran-M (Ram-M), high-sensitivity narrow-band VHS radio receivers Glubina (Deep), terminal unit of automatic communication Glubina-M (Deep-M), submarine-based magnetic frame aerial. All this allowed to commission in 1959 Glubina (Deep) comms link providing for data transmission to submerged submarines.

By mid sixties the unified global communication system of the Navy started taking a form ensuring centralized command and control of Naval Forces. At the Office of Naval Communication Head it was established a communications control center responsible for the long distance comms and operations control of the ships at sea. Thanks to such a set-up the time of data relay decreased from several hours to dozens of minutes.

The second half of the sixties featured revitalization of the long distance cruises of the Navy. Combat duty tasks had become primary activities of the Navy in the peacetime. The requirements to increase the coverage of communication for the purposes of naval nuclear forces command came to the fore.

Starting 1966 the submarines were equipped with trailing wire antenna of type Paravan designated for receiving of VHS signals being at missile launch depth.

Abandonment of manual coding and implementation of Akula and Glubina links, usage of trailing wire antennas met the wants of forces command to a certain extent at the first stage of global Navy communication system development. At the same time the ever-increasing became the need in the integrated automation of communication processes.

For the purposes of communication with submarines in 1969 there were developed and commissioned special automated comms links Integral and Dalnost (Distance) providing for several times decrease of data transfer. For the first time there were materialization of the methods of frequency and geographical distribution of receive-transmit, logical addition, automated data processing. V.N. Semenov, B.N. Pavlov, and V.I. Zhitomirskiy were awarded with the State Prize for the development of signal communications equipment of comms links Integral and Dalnost.

By the early seventies the global communication system of the Navy had took the features of the modern shape. By the efforts of the Head of Communication of the Navy, teams of the Naval Research Institute of Communication and manufacturing companies the task of provisioning of surface ships and submarines with prompt, reliable and secure communication almost anywhere in the World Ocean was solved.

The significant part of Navys communication became the space communication and positioning system Tsiklon (Cyclone) that had been utilizing data from low-flying earth satellites. It became an element of the greater weapons communication system managed from the Ministry of Defense. R.S. Kovalevskiy, V.V. Lopainskiy, G.G. Tolstolutskiy, and N.I. Trukhin became laureates of State Prize for the deserts in development and refinement of the named system.

The further development of communication links was aimed at troubleshooting of communication quality with submarines at great depth in conditions of active electronic countermeasures. A series of R&Ds and designed hardware outfit for the communication in the bandwidth of ultra low frequencies (ULF) with the set of antennas using air power lines with the length of several kilometers allowed the submarines to receive special commanding transmissions at submergence depth of 100-160 meters.

The upgrade of ULW communication means had been carried out simultaneously. In particular there was built the most powerful radio transmitting station Okean (Ocean) with the advanced cells arrangement.

State Prizes for the achievements in the field of ULF/ULW communication were awarded to L.B. Lesin, E.V. Syrnikov, A.S. Panfilov.

In order to ensure uninterruptable communication with the submerged submarines there were developed special trailing wire antennas capable to receive ULF, ULW and HF signals. At the same time the solution had been sought to cut down personnel operating communication facilities by means of implementation of processes automation. In 1972 the first in the Navy fully automated communication system Molniya (Lighting) was developed and commissioned.

The last generation systems comprise the newly developed nonjammable comms links. Navys Communication System has become an integral part of the National Military Command System. It comprises of the Navy command and control system, operational comms link between the Fleets, unified operational communication between naval ships, space links, mobile communications system and ensures command of ships and Naval Air Forces, troops of Army Forces, land-based rocket troops and artillery as well as interaction with other branches of the Armed Forces. The development progress in the field of communication for the Navy was contributed significantly by the Research Council of the Russian Academy of Sciences responsible for communications issues.

Authors: .V. Dorogoe Candidate of Military Science,
S.D. Kovalenko - Candidate of Technical Science

Translated by: RusNavy.com