INTERVIEW OF COMMANDER OF THE ELECTRONIC WARFARE TROOPS OF THE ARMED FORCES MAJOR GENERAL YURY LASTOCHKIN
Commander of the electronic warfare troops Major General Yury Lastochkin speaks about the role of his troops in contemporary wars.
New digital technologies allow significant reduction of the special, temporal and information gap between the troops and the command bodies. Remote contactless effect in the entire depth of operational ranks of the enemy becomes the main method for achievement of the goal of an operation. What is specific of use of electronic warfare means in these conditions? Commander of the electronic warfare troops of the Armed Forces Major General Yury Lastochkin answered these and other questions of Voenno-Promyshlenny Kuryer.
Question: What do you think characterizes the current stage of development of electronic warfare, which areas are especially important?
Yury Lastochkin: Growth of the role of electronic warfare is determined by the task of disorganization of commanding of troops and weapons of the enemy by radio electronic hitting. It is necessary to clearly understand that there has appeared a new area of struggle in the form of information and telecommunication space. The range of tasks of the electronic warfare troops is broadened significantly. Effect of use of advanced electronic warfare means is comparable with highly accurate firing. Conceptual documents in the field of electronic warfare approved by the President aim us at this too. Military political authorities of the country pay much attention to improvement of the electronic warfare system as one of the most important elements for provision of national security.
Question: The electronic warfare troops created in 2009 constitute the basis of our combat component of the electronic warfare system. What are they like?
Yury Lastochkin: Our troops are intended for radio electronic hitting of enemy objects and comprehensive control over measures for counteraction to technical means of reconnaissance and for radio electronic defense of our own forces. They consist of command bodies, formations, military units and units of various subordination. Electronic warfare forces and means are parts of the strategic system of radio interferences, unified system of comprehensive technical control (CTC), kits of electronic warfare units of military districts and formations of branches of Armed Forces.
At present, the main forces and means are concentrated in the Ground Forces, Aerospace Forces and Navy that constitute inter-branch groups of the military districts. In the Airborne Forces we are represented by CTC units in every missile army, division and training range. Since 2014, tasks of combat duty in electronic warfare are fulfilled by radio suppression forces and means in the districts.
Question: What are priority lines for development of the electronic warfare armament system?
Yury Lastochkin: Improvement of electronic warfare hardware should be balanced. There is a traditional approach. It implies broadening of the range of objects of impact, types of electronic warfare means, standardization, improvement of protection from precision-guided weapons, mobility and modernization potential. In the innovative aspect I would single out five areas:
– arrangement of controlled fields of radio suppression on the enemy territory on the basis of standardized compact reconnaissance and jamming modules delivered with assistance of drones;
– creation of means for hitting with powerful electromagnetic emission on the basis of use of specialized ammunition and mobile systems;
– development of technology of program impact on highly organized command systems through disruption of accessibility, wholeness and confidentiality of information;
– implementation of means for imitation of false radio electronic situation and misinformation of systems for commanding of troops and weapons of the enemy;
– increasing of the level of information support of command bodies (points) of electronic warfare, improvement of decision-making algorithms on account of a unified contour for commanding of forces and means.
Fulfillment of these tasks for development of the armament system will result in increase of the volume of tasks fulfilled by the electronic warfare troops.
Question: As I understand, this is in combat conditions. Which tasks do electronic warfare troops fulfill in peacetime including your directorate?
Yury Lastochkin: Function of the main radio frequency body of the Defense Ministry that fulfills a broad range of tasks is laid on the directorate of commander of the electronic warfare troops. This is provision of electromagnetic compatibility of electronic means, planning of use of radio frequencies and conversion of radio frequency spectrum.
Importance of these tasks is determined, first of all, by the fact that advanced foreign radio technologies are being implemented in the country increasingly actively in the bands of frequencies that are historically used by the radio electronic systems of military command and state governance. There appear preconditions for appearance of non-deliberate interferences for data of the radio electronic systems. This may result in failure of fulfillment of tasks of provision of security of the state.
Specialists of the directorate of commander of electronic warfare troops defend the interests of the Defense Ministry on international and national level participating in work of the international electronic communication union (global and regional radio communication conferences), state commission for radio frequencies and other organizations that determine the ways of development of radio communication in the world and in our country.
CTC units are used for control over use of the radio frequency spectrum and provision of electromagnetic compatibility of radio electronic systems of military command and state governance on the permanent basis. Special attention is paid to important state events such as APEC summit, St. Petersburg international economic forums, 22nd Winter Olympics an the 11th Winter Para-Olympics. During these events our tasks were fulfilled together with antiterrorist tasks.
Question: Very much is said now about tapping of telephones, computer attacks, hacking of email and other methods of theft of confidential information. How does the Defense Ministry fulfill a task of counteraction to foreign technical intelligence services?
Yury Lastochkin: New systems are developed and put into operation for protection of information according to the most informative physical fields for its leakage through technical channels. Zaslon-REB system developed in the interests of the electronic warfare troops and successfully tested in 2016 can serve an example. The system is intended for guaranteed blocking of all possible channels for leakage of confidential information and creation of “information impenetrability dome” above objects of the Defense Ministry. The system is fully automated, has flexible architecture and provides control over all kinds of mobile communication and data transmission on the territory of defended objects.
Question: Are such tasks worked out during exercises?
Yury Lastochkin: The quantity of tactical special exercises of electronic warfare units and formations conducted in the last four years grew twofold. Special attention is paid to objective control of their efficiency. For this purpose we use testing facilities of the research testing institute (of electronic warfare) of the Air Force Academy and inter-branch center for training and combat use of electronic warfare troops.
We managed to organize practical testing of advanced methods of use of the newest electronic warfare means during special research exercises of the electronic warfare troops Electron-2016. Imagine, events of such scale have not been organized on the strategic level since 1979. The troops tried practical creation of an electronic warfare group in a strategic direction for the first time and provided for organization of military technological experiments prepared by specialist of the research organizations of the Defense Ministry. Recommendations to military command bodies for organization of interaction and proposals for regulation documents became the most important results.
Question: Experience of Syria has shown that multifunctional unmanned drones demonstrate a very high efficiency during conduction of reconnaissance and delivery of pinpoint firing strikes now. What can be counteracted to this threat? What is the level of automation of combat command processes?
Yury Lastochkin: Drones of more than 500 types are operated, have been created or are being developed in armed forces of more than 30 countries. Russian Armed Force counteract to them with use of air defense and electronic warfare means. Along with this, electronic warfare means represent actually the only way of efficient combating of compact drones now.
The automated command systems developed and adopted by the Armed Forces seriously increase the degree of use of combat capabilities of electronic warfare troops through integration of data on radio electronic situation in a unified information space and significant reduction of command cycles. I would say that along with the Air Defense Forces we are leaders in this field.
The situational center has been deployed and is functioning in the directorate of commander of the electronic warfare troops. Automation of command has been completed in electronic warfare formations. This means that the command is through from top-ranking commanders to executive elements. In the near future we plan to complete integration of electronic warfare resources into the unified information space of the Armed Forces and thus to provide for a possibility of use of all data on operational and radio electronic situation available to military command bodies and federal executive power bodies interacting with them.
Question: Since 2014, Russian defense industry has been under sanctions. How do you estimate the real capabilities of enterprises of the military industrial complex for production of electronic warfare systems in the light of decrees of the President about achievement of 70% equipment of troops with modern armament models by 2020?
Yury Lastochkin: Sanctions hit almost all enterprises of the military industrial complex. Along with this, negative effect on development and production of series-made hardware is practically minimized now, I believe. The problem of import substitution is being solved successfully.
A steady group of cooperating enterprises was established in many years in two main directions: development and series production of electronic warfare systems and troops command systems. The companies that specialize in this are united into two corporations: Sozvezdie and Radio Electronic Technologies. Both integrated structures develop dynamically, find non-standard technical solutions, implement and master new technologies and present what they develop according to their own initiative to the military. All this, as well as successful fulfillment of the state armament program and state defense order for many years enables us to say that by 2020 electronic warfare troops will be equipped with modern and advanced models of armament by not less than 70%.
Presence of two integrated structures in the electronic warfare cooperation does not mean that other enterprises that wish to create highly efficient systems cannot serve as their developers and series manufacturers. An illustrative example if Special Technological Center company that develops some innovative options for development of the armament system and presents its models created according to its own imitative for experimental operation.
Question: If we speak about advanced products, what are the results and what are the problems?
Yury Lastochkin: State tests arrange a kind of bridge between activity of research organizations of the Defense Ministry, enterprises of the military industrial complex and operation of armament and military hardware in the troops and combat work. More than 30 various tests of electronic warfare systems were conducted in the last three years for efficiency (Borisoglebsk-2, Lorandit-M, Palantin, Bylina etc), as well as tests of radio electronic systems for radio electronic protection an tests of ground armament and aircraft for noticeability. In general, the models manifest a fairly high operational fitness.
Of course, there are problems, both research and technological and organizational. In the near future, we plan serious investments in modernization of the exiting experimental and testing basis. At the testing range of the research testing institute (of electronic warfare) it is planned to create a testing facility for assessment of radar and optical signature of advanced models of aircraft and armament in flight conditions. This work is outlined by federal targeted program “Development of the military industrial complex for the period until 2020” and state defense order (experimental designing programs Yegoryevets V, Laborant). Interaction is organized with the central research institute of radio technical technology named after Academician Berg.
With regard to experimental designing program Yegoryevets V we conducted state tests of a set of climatic equipment. Equipment of the experimental and testing base with it will allow conduction of a full cycle of diverse checks from unified systemic positions, quickly and with a high degree of reliability.
Question: It is known that Soviet research and technological potential has been exhausted for a long time. Which potential was developed lately?
Yury Lastochkin: The leading organization in this field is the research testing institute (of electronic warfare) of the Air Force Academy named after Zhukovsky and Gagarin. Its research and production activity covers all electronic warfare problems from development of conceptual and normative legal documents to accompanying of work at all stages of the life cycle of the hardware. On the federal level the research testing institute (of electronic warfare) also provided information and analytical support of work of the research and technological council of the Military Industrial Commission and interagency commission for planning and coordination of development of the electronic warfare system. It is also the basic organization of the interagency coordinating research and technological council for the problems of development of the electronic warfare system.
The basis of the research potential of the institute consists of nine dynamically developing military scientific schools that have 19 doctors and more than 130 candidates of sciences. Research is conducted in close interaction with the central military command bodies, electronic warfare services of all braches of the Armed Forces and military districts, ordering and research organizations of the Defense Ministry, structures of executive power bodies and enterprises of the military industrial complex. A full cycle of research “idea” – “modeling” – “testing” is provided. An example of fruitful cooperation is organization of close interaction of the research testing institute (of electronic warfare) (Voronezh) with academic institutes of theoretical and applied electrodynamics (Moscow), information technologies and automation (St. Petersburg) in the form of “virtual” joint laboratories provisions on which are approved by the President of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Chief of the General Staff.
A system for support of decision-making for identification of drones that provides a choice of the optimal method of radio electronic impact has become an important result. Implementation of innovative solutions for reduction of signature of the fifth-generation aircraft will reduce losses of airplanes in a contemporary war.
The entire complex of measures for development of the electronic warfare troops will increase their contribution in gaining of superiority in commanding and use of weapons significantly. Volume of the tasks fulfilled efficiently in various strategic areas will grow by 100-150% and will reach 85% by 2020. In turn, this will become the basis for an efficient ground and air electronic warfare system that can nullify technological advantage of the enemy in the aerospace field and information and telecommunication space.