How the Russian General Staff is fooling the US and Israel
Vineyard of the Saker,
4 April, 2018
The day before yesterday, the world media have published the new of the meeting in Sweden of the Western European UN representatives regarding implementation of the UN general Assembly resolution 377 “Uniting for Peace”. The meeting made clear the strategy of the West to exclude Russia from discussions of all critical political and military issues anywhere in the world.
Judging by the experience of the mid-20th century when our so-called “partners” easily unleashed the bloody Korean was of 1950-1953 getting around the Soviet veto in the UN Security Council, this resolution in likely to succeed in achieving its objectives.
Let us reviews the situation regarding the delivery to Syria of the newest anti-aircraft and anti-missile defense systems as well as the details of the use in case of further attack by the coalition.
The first information, with the reference to informed sources in the Tartus province, about the possibility of the delivery to the Syrian Arabic Republic of an unknown number of S-300 systems of unknown modification appeared across the space of the Western and Russian Internet approximately a week ago. It has been reported that the systems have been delivered to Syria in the dock for armored vehicles of the large amphibious assault ship “Nikolai Filchenkov” of the Russian Black Sea Fleet and unloaded under aerosol screen in order to hide from the watchful eye of the electron complex SYERS-2B/C installed in the rotary turret of the RQ-4B drone “Global Hawk”.
The new was reinforced by the information from the online traffic monitors about the arrival to the airbase Khmeimim of the heavy transport aircraft AN-124 “Ruslan”, which in 2015 delivered to Syria the first C-400 “Triumf”, as well as the statement by the Syrian ambassador in Russia Riad Haddad that it has been a month since the Syrian Army have had S-300 in its arsenal.
Nevertheless, in spite of all this disparate information, our military and diplomatic sources and other agencies close to the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff of Russia are not in a hurry to announce the transfer to Syria of S300 systems as a fait accompli. Why is that?
This could be an attempt by our military to mislead the opponents regarding the time of delivery or the actual availability of C-300 systems to Damascus. This would create an effect of a sudden shock when the crews of “Rivet Joints” and “Raptors” see for the first time on the panels of their electronic support measures systems 55000 or AN/ALR-94 the signals indicating engagement of the low-altitude search and acquisition radar CLAM SHELL 76H6, long-range surveillance radar BIG BIRD 64H4 and tracking and missile guidance radar TOMB STONE 30H6E. This could force the coalition to completely change the tactics of the future missile attacks, which, in its turn, will postpone the next attack and allow for further improvement in the Syrian air defense capabilities. Importantly, the Air Force of the US and Israel will not be able to detect the presence of S-300 systems until they start working.
For example, missile launchers 5P85SD(SE) with radars 30H6E, 76H6 with their 5H63S(54K6E) command post could be located on the eastern slope of the mountain ridge of Lubnan ash-Sharquiyah under the cover of the all-purpose camouflage systems UBM-1/2 and frameless camouflage “Shatyor”, which reduce manifold the radar and infrared signatures as well as visibility for aerial and space surveillance in the radar and visual modes. The mountain ridge also serves as a natural “screen” hiding the presence of S-300 from AN/ZPY-2 Multi-Platform Radar Technology Insertion Program sensors on “Global Hawks”, which survey the territory west of the Lubnan ash-Sharquiyah mountains.
When the command post 54K6E receives from early warning and control aircraft Beriev A-50 (MAINSTAY) and the space surveillance system the information about the launch of the enemy cruise missiles from the sea or air platforms, within 20 min all the elements of the complex can deploy at the predetermined positions, get ready in 5 min, and wait until “Tomahawk” or other attacking elements, including low-altitude airplanes, reach the target detection and missile range of the complex.
It is likely that the Syrian crews for S-300 will be trained to act in the mode “deploy-do the job-withdraw from the position”, with the emphasis on the minimization of the time the systems operate in the zone of activity of the enemy radar surveillance. It would be rather stupid to waste expensive self-guiding anti-aircraft missiles to intercept ordinary anti-radiation missiles AGM-88E AARGM when there could be 200 of those just in one wing of F/A-18E/F “Super Hornet” strike aircraft! A relative safety of the S-300 group in Syria could only be ensured by using the tactics of “fast massive intercepts and change of position”, since the Israel and US Air Force, which have complete numerical superiority, could attack each complex with literally hundreds of high precision weapons (from small diameter precision guided glide bomb “Spice 250” and GRU-53/B to cruise missiles AGM-84H SLAM-ER and “Popeye-II”).
A separate issue is the inflatable models of the S-300 elements, which could be provided to the engineer-camouflage units of the Syrian Arab Army.
These models, which could be installed very quickly, have the optic characteristics and the surface dispersion similar to that of the real launch units, radars and command post of the S-300 system. These models would confuse practically any air surveillance system from Global Hawk to the Boing E-8C-based JSTARS (Joint Surveillance and Target Detection System) equipped with the most advanced scanned array radars AN/ZRY-2 MP-RTIP and AN/APY-3. By using high frequency centimeter X-range and the synthetic aperture mode, these radars are capable of producing very high-resolution images allowing for classification and, in some cases, identification of the land and sea surface objects. However, inflatable models are able to fool even these radars but only until the radar of the real complex becomes active.
Now let us talk about the most “piquant” technical details, which cause a feeling of fear and uncertainty in fighter pilots of the US and Israel Air Force.
The thing is that considering how secret the process of delivery of the S-300 complexes to Syria is, neither Tel-Aviv nor Washington is likely to be able to figure our the modification of these complexes. And there could be no less than 3 of those.
The most likely modification to be delivered is S-300PMU-2 “Favourit” (GARGOYLE). This is the most advanced version with the improved command post 54K6E2 equipped with better control unit 53P6-2 based on new software base. In contrast to the older command post 54K6E, the new unit allows for the integration of the S-300 command post with practically any air defense network, which are still centered on automated control system “Baikal-1ME” and “Polyana-D4M1”. The information and control system of the S-300PMU-2 is the closest to the control 30K6E system of the S-400 “Triumf”, which means that the Syrians crews would be able to receive radar information via Baikals as well as directly via all-altitude radar station RLS 96L6 located in Tartus and Khmeimim.
The best feature of the S-300PMU-2 is the medium range anti-aircraft guided missile 48H6E2 with the range of 200 km. From that point on, everyone inclined to bomb with impunity strategic objects of the Syrian government would have a problem. That is because the tracking and missile guidance radar 30H6E2 located in the equipment container F1M of the S-300PMU-2 has the same working frequency (X range) and energy potential as the 30H6E radar of the S-300PMU-1, which could also be delivered to Damascus. Therefore, even when the S-300 complexes are engaged, the electronic support measures systems like AN/ALR-67(V)3 of “Super Hornets”, SPS-3000 of Israeli F16I “Sufa”, or specialized complexes like 55000 of RC-135W “Rivet Joints” would not be able to distinguish the two modifications. However, the anti-aircraft missiles on these systems are quite different.
For example, a pilot of F/A-18E/F would be taking a risk if he moves within 170 km of S300, since he would have no way of knowing whether the system would use against him anti-aircraft guided missile 48H6E with the 150 km range or 48H6E2 with its 200 km range. The latter would be much harder to avoid, since it has significantly higher maximum height of its trajectory, which means that the slowing effect of the aerodynamic resistance would be felt at a longer distance.
This situation causes serious concern in the Israeli Air Force command, since S-300PMU-2 would provide control of the middle- and high altitudes over the entire air space of Israel all the way to Tel-Aviv.
Deploying the complexes in the mountains regions west of Damascus would widen the range of intercept of the Hel HaAvir aviation and the US Air Force acting from the south and southeast. Anti-aircraft missiles 48H6E and 48H6E2 have unique speed characteristics: in the acceleration range, they accelerate to 6900-7100 km/hour, which leaves very little time for the enemy pilots to execute anti-missile maneuvers. Consequently, Israel’s F16C/D/I stationed at the Ramat David Airbase would be automatically in the range of the Syrian S-300PMU-1/2 immediately after they take off and ascend to several kilometers.
There is also an economy version of S-300 to improve the Syrian air defenses – 75P6 S-300PS introduced to the Russian Air Defense Force in distant 1982. The complex is equipped with an earlier version of the radar 30H6-1, which has the 75-90 km range of detection of a target with the radar signature of 2-3 sq.m. The anti-aircraft missiles have the same range due to low energy properties of the radar, but their speed is essentially the same (hypersonic) as of the later modifications, i.e. 6500 km/h.
The outdated electronics of the command post 5H63C (specifically, the equipment container F2K) does not allow for the intercept of the targets moving faster than 4700 km/h, whereas S-300PMU-1/2 are capable of destroying hypersonic cruise missiles and ballistic targets moving at 10,500 km/h. Hopefully, the American and Israeli Air Force will not be using such weapons in the Syrian war theater, so S-300PS might do. The radar 30H6-1 have 6 channels, the same number as in newer S-300PMU-2, and is capable of tracking up to 100 air targets in the multi-target mode. As a result, the system comprising 6 complexes could simultaneously intercept 36 targets. There is a possibility to coordinate with the different modifications of the automated control systems “Baikal” and Polyana”, which has been confirmed by the official information from the “Almaz-Antey” company.
The only thing that caused some concern before the 14th of April was the minimal detectable radar signature of 0.05 sq.km of the target (as opposed 0.02 sq. km of “Favourit”), since the reflective surface of the missiles used by our opponents in Syria could have been smaller. But the experience proved otherwise.
So, even the good old S-300PS is capable of making thing lively for for “smart and beautiful” missiles of Donald Tramp.