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Russia fielding metric-wave anti-stealth radar.

In mid-January, Gen. Col. Vladimir Mikhailov, Commander of the Russian Air Force, announced that Russia will undertake an extensive modernization of its national air-defense system. The space-defense and air-defense networks will be integrated to higher degree and new concepts of operations will be also developed. From the equipment point of view, the new S-400 system will be fielded this year, along with modernization work on existing S-300PM and S-300PM1 systems. For the first time, it was also reported that the Pantsir S-1 system will be evaluated and considered for fielding for the role of close-in defense of medium- and long-range surface-to-air-missile (SAM) sites. Gen. Mikhailov said that there is a high interest in the system within Russian Air Force.


Along with the S-400, the 55Zh6-1 Nebo-U radar sets are also to be fielded this year. The radar was developed by NNIIRT [Nizhnonovgorod's Rsearch and Development Institute of Radio Technology] (Nizhny Novgorod, Russia) and has the distinction of probably being the only radar in the world with a digital phased-array antenna that works in the metric-wave band. The radar has one horizontal and one vertical antenna of large size and deeply modified Yagi-type aerials. The radar's range is up to 600 km for targets flying between 40-75,000 m, 400 km for targets at 20,000 m, 300 km for targets at 10,000 m, and at least 65 km for targets flying at 500 m. Despite its metric wavelength, the achieved resolution is high, reportedly 400 m in distance and 0.4 degress in azimuth. The radar can rotate at speeds of 10 rpm or 20 rpm to provide 360-degree coverage. Due to its large antennas and complexity, the radar requires seven heavy trucks and trailers to transport it, and its deployment time is 22 hours. The Nebo-U radar sets are being manufactured by AOA Nitel Company (Nizhny Novogrod, Russia), which already has produced of small batch of pre-series sets.

The radar's ability to operate accurately in the metric band makes it capable of capable of detecting and tracking stealth-type targets without a major reduction in the radar's range. Metric radar's main shortcoming had been its low accuracy, making them unsuitable not only for weapon control but even for precise ground-controlled intercept. The Nebo-U enables precise ground control of interceptor aircraft, with an accuracy of 1-2 km. This is theoretically fair enough for an interceptor to make visual contact with a stealth aircraft, such as a US F-117A (shown here), and shoot it down with gunfire, at least in clear daylight or on moonlit nights. Historically, dark nights have been preferable for stealth operations. Nevertheless, the Nebo-U is an interesting technological achievement and is one of a kind among radar systems currently deployed. It will be interesting to see where this technology leads.-with Jerzy Gruszczynski

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Title Annotation:EUROPEAN REPORT
Author:Gruszczynski, Jerzy
Publication:Journal of Electronic Defense
Geographic Code:4EXRU
Date:Mar 1, 2004
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