Air International 1999-11
A.Dawes - Jam With Everything /Military aviation/ (2)
Marconi’s Zeus integrated airborne radar warning and jamming system on the Harrier GR.7 is characterised by the twin prongs of the forward hemisphere sensors under the nose. Other sensors are mounted in wing tip bulges and in the tail cone to provide all-round coverage in C-J band. The system is capable of automatically selecting the appropriate jamming response to a given threat and will also tell the pilot how many chaff and flare rounds remain in the dispensers. The majority of the processing units are installed within a flush-mounted Aden gun pod, exemplifying the advances made in the miniaturisation of complex electronic systems.
On a large aircraft, like the Rockwell B-1B lancer, there is very little external evidence of its extensive internally-mounted countermeasures equipment. However, as part of the current Block D upgrades of this important bomber, the Raytheon AN/ALE-50 towed decoy system is being installed in flush-mounted fairings under the tail. Four magazines are stacked vertically in fairings on each side of the fuselage, providing eight standalone decoy units for protection against the air-to-surface and air-to-air missile threat.
Two Russian aircraft equipped with a terrain bounce jamming system as part of their self-protective ECM suites are the Tupolev Tu-95MS Bear-H and the Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer-D. On this Bear-H, the comparatively small transmitting antenna is visible just behind the main radar antenna alongside the Mak (Poppy) missile approach warning sensor. Terrain bounce is usually employed by a low-flying aircraft as protection against the SAM threat and its presence on the medium-level cruise missile carrying Bear-H is something of a puzzle.
Sukhoi’s Su-39 Frogfoot is currently the only fixed wing combat aircraft to incorporate a built-in active Infrared jammer. Based on the helicopter-mounted L166V Ispanka (Spanish Lady), the L166S Sukhogruz (Vessel) system is built into the base of the fin and radiates its mechanically modulated IR energy in the most threatened rear hemisphere. The principal advantage of the integral IR jammer is that it can be used repeatedly in a high-threat environment, whereas flare protection is space limited, offers only one-time use and therefore requires careful dispenser management.
Northrop Grumman’s EA-6B Prowler epitomises the newly-embraced Western philosophy of combining hard-kill techniques and standard EW procedures to eliminate threat radar systems. This Prowler, carrying a single AGM-88A HARM anti-radiation missile as well as its podded AN/ALQ-99F suite of tactical jammers, is much more of an electronic attack aircraft than a simple electronic countermeasures platform. The concept of electronic attack is, of course, already familiar from Wild Weasel operations, but is more widely diffused into the new doctrine of Command and Control Warfare.
Like its Russian near contemporaries, the F-15 Eagle adopted an internal self-protective ECM suite when it entered service with the USAF in 1974. The entire system is known, therefore, as the Internal Countermeasures Set (ICS) and consists of the AN/ALQ-135 radar Jammer, AN/ALR-56 radar warning receiver and the AN/ALQ-45 countermeasures dispenser. This impressively loaded F-15E Strike Eagle demonstrates the benefit of not requiring pylon space for podded jammers, albeit still using two for the LANTIRN navigation and targeting system.
Flares being ejected from a Tornado F.3