Russia’s modernized Khibiny systems are capable of defending aircraft from surface-to-air missiles, as well as locating and neutralizing enemy radio channels.
According to the Russian newspaper Izvestia, a source from the General Staff of the Russian Aerospace Forces has let on to the fact that these modernized systems are already in service for Russian units participating in the anti-terrorist operation in Syria.
These protection systems were designed by the Radiotechnical Institute of Scientific Research of Kaluga and are installed in two containers located on the wings of the aircraft. One is equipped with a receiver capable of determining the frequency of the enemy’s radio signal, while the second has a digital memory device that generates response interference. Upon analyzing enemy signals, the system chooses the protection strategy. Acoustical interferences can be deployed which occupy the whole spectrum, or produce false targets on the opponent’s radars.
The modernized version also has a third component, installed under the fuselage of the aircraft. In the case of a collective offensive, it is capable of protecting an entire air unit.
The new system can also interfere with ground-based anti-missile defense systems as well as conduct electronic intelligence operations.
According to military analyst Alexei Leonkov, quoted by the newspaper, the new generation of the Khibiny system will greatly increase the survival of Russian fighters who are involved in operations in areas of reach of missile defense systems.
According to the expert, Russian military engineers have been working on the creation of an electronic protection system for several decades.
“Previous Khibiny containers were installed in the Su-34s and Su-35s and carried out individual protection tasks, but in this case the aircraft payload – in particular the number of weapons the aircraft can carry – is significantly reduced,” he explained.
At the same time, he stressed that the use of the system on board only one of the unit’s aircraft allows the rest of the aircraft to have more weapons on board. The analyst recalled that the US protects its fighters with a Boeing EA-18 Growler electronic warfare aircraft.
In addition to protecting aircraft from air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles and distorting the adversary’s radar data, the new system is able to conceal the aircraft’s concrete model as well as the exact number of aircraft.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense plans to increase its share of electronic warfare by 90% by 2020.