« A few observations by David Habakkuk | Main | New military analyst on SST »

19 October 2015


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



Very interesting.

I wonder what this signifies for a US military
that more or less assumes information dominance.

Probably nothing good.

USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96


Colonel, with all due respect, I think that it behooves us to take the USS Donald Cook story with a large grain of salt. The fact is that the US continues to maintain almost constant Aegis destroyer presence in the Black Sea, in contravention of the spirit of the Montreux Convention. I find it hard to believe that would be the case if the Su-24/Donald Cook story was as dramatic as presented.


Would a system like this also jam (Russian) friendlies? Presumably not, I guess I don't understand the tech well enough


Wondering if the withdrawal of the German and US Patriot missiles from the Turkish Syrian border is somehow connected with Russian jamming or as the links below suggest that might have been hacked.



Also possibly of interest, General Breedlove (NATO) discussion on Russian A2/AD Kalingrad, Crimea and now Syria.


red brick

If true, this might shed light on that strange event during the 2013 Ghouta crisis, when several media reported that the US and Israel "test fired" cruise missiles in the Mediterranean. Some conspiracy websites claimed that Russia downed them with new jamming technologies and thus blocked a war on Syria. Maybe there was some truth to these rumors...



I am far from being any kind of expert on electronic countermeasures, but I'm skeptical of some of these claims.

First of all, due to radiation being subject to the inverse square law (strength of a signal falling as the square of the distance) I find it hard to believe that a broad spectrum, multiple system jammer could work at a distance of 600 km without using a nuclear reaction or have exclusive use of a major power plant as a power source. It would also not be a mobile system.

Second, including sonar is strange as it requires completely different hardware than EM systems. It's also primarily used under water, how an aerial system could sense, block or modify underwater signals also stretches the imagination.

I am aware of two different types of jamming systems, one operates by putting out so much noise that it's impossible to detect a signal above the noise level. The second type listens for the wavelengths used by a system, then responds with a signal that is manipulated in a way to make the device report incorrect detections. These systems are usually narrow spectrum, that is they are designed for a specific system (let's say a specific radar system) and are programmed to send signals that will confuse that specific system. I've never heard of one that is wide spectrum, or one that is able to handle multiple different systems at the same time.

I could be wrong and such a system may exist, but it sounds too good to be true.


TTG, please do not take this seriously. First of all, there is exactly three sentences about this supposed new system in the article:

"New Russian Jamming System Near Latakia Blocks All NATO Electronics Inside Bubble 600 Km in Diameter; Radar, Satellites, Communications All Disrupted; System Shifts Military Balance in Favor of Russia"


"From the combat zone in northern Syria comes news of the deployment of a new Russian electronic jamming system which can reportedly blind radar, disrupt electronic guidance systems, and interfere with satellite imagery as well. As a result, NATO is effectively blinded inside a bubble of 600 km in diameter centered on the Russian base at Latakia, reports, Thierry Meyssan from Damascus."

The rest is, to put it nicely, editorializing. A great deal of space is spent describing helicopter-based EW system known as the "Rychag" which reportedly targets C2 systems and radars. That information is based solely on a Sputnik (the state-owned media outlet formerly known as Ria Novosti) article that itself is based on a public interview by the manufacturer, KRET Rodioelectronic Technologies. There isn't any other information on Rychag besides company advertising and promotion.

But this article isn't about that system, but this "new" system. The article doesn't provide any details about it, not even a name. There's no source for this "revelation" except that it comes from Thierry Meyssan, the 9/11 truther and noted fabulist (just google him and you'll see what I mean). There's no evidence presented that this system even exists, much less is deployed and actually operating in Syria. More than all that, the description of the system's capabilities is laughable - it's magic that defies the laws of physics.

Ishmael Zechariah

Perhaps your statement: "My advice for anyone eager to teach the Russians a lesson is to proceed very cautiously, or better yet, just STFU..." should be applied independent of Richag-AV or any other systems. In lieu of STFU, some of the Western "elite" (including certain perfumed princes)might consider challenging Putin or Lavrov to hand-to-hand-combat. If Putin is not enough, "anyone eager to teach the Russians a lesson" should suit up and go to the dance. The liver-eaters will welcome them, I am sure.
Ishmael Zechariah


TTG and Red Brick:

Putin implicitly confirmed the interception of the cruise missiles in a meeting on developing aerospace defense systems held in November, 2013 (two months after the Ghouta crisis).

Putin said: "...let me highlight the Voronezh missile attack early warning system. ...And I must say that in September this year, during combat-like exercises, it detected launches from the Mediterranean region, and effectively proved it's efficiency and reliability."

He subsequently commissioned seven more of these stations




As an electronic technician who got his start working on Navy radar systems, I must view such wide ranging claims with more than a little skepticism.

A jamming system that can interfere with everything inside a 600 kilometer bubble!? If those claims about the USS Cook are true and the entire ship's gear was rendered inoperable until the Russians turned it off then it must be a brute force wide spectrum jammer - not something more focused that targets a particular frequency range; or something more sophisticated that spoofs an enemies radar into thinking nothing is there, or lot's of somethings are there, or the something is somewhere else. (I saw examples of all those when on exercises with our battle group in the early '80's, they were projected from B52's and of course we had countermeasures)
A brute force jammer with the signal strength to mess up all signals within a 600 km bubble probably uses more power than a helicopter can supply but probably not a problem for a cruiser or land based system. It would also cause problems for the user - how are the Russians and Syrians supposed to use their own equipment inside the bubble? What happens to any aircraft that is flying inside the bubble when it's turned on? Does every personnel carrier need the kind of EMF shielding found in an Aegis class ship's CIC? I think you can easily see the point.

So it seems that we must drop the wildest of speculations as disinfo. Which still leaves a lot. For example: the big brute force jammer could be focused by appropriate antennae. It could be focused in frequency range. If they do both it could be a sort of HEMP gun, which could actually destroy sensitive RF receiving gear within range, but most US mil electronics is shielded against such.

The equipment could also be much more sophisticated in that it spoofs enemy radar, gps gear, and renders EW gear, tactical communications and satellite links useless. But that's a lot of different frequencies, many operating modes, and a lot to master. Remember that to spoof something you must know exactly what the other side is doing in order to fool it. In the case of radar you don't need to know exactly what the enemies circuitry or software is but you do need to analyze frequency, pulse width's, repetition rate etc. Not terribly hard to figure out from signal analysis but it's different for every system, and thus the Russian system must take it and all the countermeasures into account. Certainly they will try their best which I'm sure is very good, but the 600 km blackout and completely shutting down a modern warship beggars belief. You'd think by now there would be stories floating around various taverns frequented by sailors and the news would have spread to more believable forums. (Maybe it has and I'm stuck in the stone age) We shall see.

Also: the Sputnik article mentions sonar - everyone knows that sonar uses sound pulses. Sound is not in the electromagnetic spectrum. A jamming system could interfere with the comms links that transmit a sonar systems info to another platform - like a sono buoy's link to heli, P3, or ship but not the sonar itself.

I apologize for such a lengthy first comment. I'd like to express my appreciation for this fine website, I've been learning a lot by being quiet and just listening. Sometimes I just got to blab tho...

Allen Thomson

> I could be wrong and such a system may exist, but it sounds too good to be true.

I agree. Like with a lot of stories, there may be some germ of truth here, even a significant amount of it, but it's gotten heavily mythologized. On the satellite imaging bit, if they're talking about US national systems, jamming would take the resources of a big ground-based transmitter that could bust directly into the satellite's electronics. Probably doable, but very unlikely to be carried on a helicopter.

The Twisted Genius

OIFVet and HankP,

You both suggest a healthy dose of skepticism. That's wise. As for how something like this would work is far beyond my meager knowledge of this field. Obviously, it would have to involve much more finesse than brute strength. My best guess is that this is not any single system but a family of systems with the cumulative effect of jamming a bubble of up to 600 km. I assume we'll eventually find out if this is fact or fiction.


I agree. My imperfect understanding of jamming is that it still is reliant on sheer radiating power. An Arliegh Burke class DDG has way more than any Russian aircraft ever made, regardless of the sophistication of the system.

And, the line about the new system being able to jam sonar? Someone is going to have to educate me on how a ground based system is going to do that, unless it was an oversimplification and the system has a navalised version. The physics don't appear compatible.


I agree that their should be some people but the people claiming that because the US didn't respond to it that it's not true need to remember that this is a US military that built up a mythology about PFC Lynch and CPL Tillman and stubbornly refuses to not only learn from mistakes, but even admit them.

There's some editorializing, but there's more truth here than I think anyone in the Pentagon would like to admit. How much does the US really know about what Russia has been up to in the last few years? Something like this fits in perfectly with their MTOE and kicks out two of the legs of our current military tripod strategy (SpecOps, Drones, and Air Strikes)


I find this more believable than the idea of a fighter that will be able to perform CAS better than an A-10, air to air better than a Super Hornet, have VTOL and stealth capabilities, and be cheaper to produce than an F-22.



given my birth nationality I have very little doubt about Russian ingenuity. They are very likely to have the means to inflict a good amount of electronic havoc on US/NATO systems, but I am skeptical of claims about a single miracle weapon. Knowing the Russians, they are likely to employ a suite of electronic warfare platforms and tactics (with some amount of overlapping capabilities, no doubt), and in numbers.

As far as the Donald Cook incident, I think it was an ELINT gathering mission. The runs were definitely designed to "rattle the cage a bit," in order to goad the Donald Cook to reveal as much of the AEGIS capability as possible. I trust the gathered ELINT was analyzed and solutions and countermeasures designed and implemented in a speedy manner.

That said, I wish the Russians best of luck in Syria. So do most sane Europeans, now that they have been swamped by Sultan Erdogan's human wave blackmail.

The Twisted Genius

OIFVet et al,

The Richag-AV is a replacement for an existing jammer system, the Smalta-V that was also mounted on an MI-8 (Mi-8SMV). I found the following description of how the Richag-AV is supposed to work. Perhaps you, sillybill, HankP or anyone else with some knowledge of this technology can comment on it's viability.

"The system utilizes multi-beam antenna arrays with DRFM (Digital Radio Frequency Memory) technology jamming any radio frequency based weapon system. Richag-AV can be employed to carry out radar-based intelligence gathering finding foreign sources of electromagnetic radiation. An onboard database allows to quickly determine the type of targeted radar finding the most effective way of jamming."

As far as the claim of being capable of jamming sonar goes, I bet that is either a translation or techno-ignorance error. It probably refers to naval signals rather than just air force signals. And the 300 km may be a wild exaggeration, but the old system supposedly had a range of 100 km. 100 to 300 is not that big a stretch over 35 years of technological advancement.


Agree with Andy above. No such unicorn exists. Meyssan is a crackpot, if he is the source then the story is bogus.

The Twisted Genius


Meyssan is only the source of the Syrian deployment information and, perhaps, the 300 km range claim. I've found several sources describing the existence of this unicorn.
The Pakistan Defense article may be based on the Sputnik article.


This sounds like the season premier to Battlestar Galactica. Anyone got some old technology, old warriors and an old dinosaur lying around to implement a winning strategy? Wait, that's what we do here! Seems that's what the R+5 are doing in Syria too, though maybe they have young dinosaurs.


Where can get one of those and how much will it cost. If I get one i can probably get some peace and quiet here on the east coast. Can I have one fed-Exed to me by Thursday? My wife's birthday is coming and she'd love one of these, with instructions in English, of course. let me know. This way I can block TBV shows like Dance Moms, and lend it to whoever sees a decent need to utilize it.


maybe it means the USA can stick it where oit belongs and butt out and start paying attention to us US citizens who care about this like we care about a dead fly.


TTG, I found this article on the Richag-AV system and other Russian jamming systems ...

Blog: Modern EW Capabilities Accompany Russian Forces Into Syria http://www.afcea.org/content/?q=Blog-modern-ew-capabilities-accompany-russian-forces-syria
… there is a new ship protection EW capability called Richag-AV. It is mounted on MI-8 helicopters. Moskva can carry one KA-27 helicopter, and if Richag-AV can be mounted on it, then it comes with capabilities to jam both radar and sonar detection as well as threat weapons systems several hundred kilometers away.


"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - Arthur C. Clarke.

I have been needling the good Colonel for at least Two years over the possibility that America might one day not have full spectrum dominance. "Disruptive technology" is the term. With respect to experts disbelieving Russian achievements, I am reminded that the WWII German forces thought Enigma was unbreakable.

Perhaps this is why the U.S. Navy just reintroduced Celestial Navigation back into the Naval Academy training curriculum?


The Twisted Genius


So, celestial navigation is back at USNA. Glad to hear that. Now they need a couple of square riggers to augment the knockabouts, Luders yawls and YP craft. I learned celestial navigation from Brother Quegan, SJ in Long Island Sound.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

March 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        
Blog powered by Typepad