- According to Janes Defence Weekly article published on
22 September 2006
- an unknown number of Ukraine made passive Kolchuga detection
systems, the most advanced long range aircraft detection system in the
world, which is capable of detecting the lift-off and determine the course
and speed of aerial targets through their emissions and identify the mode
of their weapon control systems while designating them for air-defence
systems at a range of 600 km (narrow beam) or 200 km (wide beam) along
a front of 1,000 km, was sold to Iran for USD25 million each, with deliveries
either recent or imminent.
- What follows is Ukrainian article from 2004 about this
- A COUNTRY CAPABLE OF CREATING THE
"KOLCHUGA" CAN LOOK INTO FUTURE WITH CONFIDENCE
- By Volodymyr Horbulin
- After the loud "promotion" by the U.S. Department
of State, the Ukrainian "Kolchuga" radar was noticed in Ukraine,
at last. The team of designers with the Topaz state holding, who developed
this sophisticated hi-tech equipment, has been nominated for the State
Science and Engineering Prize.
- Vladimir Gorbulin, a member of the National Science Academy
and a well-known statesman, shares his views on the scientific and technological
achievements of the Ukrainian researchers in developing the new-generation
strategic radar complex "Kolchuga" [Rus. for "hauberk"],
and the developments around it.
- It should be noted that unlike most Ukrainian politicians
or high-ranking officials, who normally only come up with comments in response
to some problem, Gorbulin ventures to highlight the attainments and prospects
of one of Ukraine's hi-tech sectors. He admits that there are still very
many problems to solve, but insists that "optimistic sprouts"
need to be noticed and supported, because Ukraine's future in the global
division of labor in the third millennium depends on how deep such sprouts
are rooted in the national soil.
- I am convinced that there are only three factors that
give Ukraine a chance to become competitive in the globalized world of
the 21st century. Number one is the still-available capacity for developing
and manufacturing sophisticated and science-intensive commodities. Number
two is the world's largest area of fertile black soil, the importance of
which is likely to grow vis-a-vis the growing population on the planet.
And number three is Ukraine's advantageous economic and geographical location
at the intersection of basic Eurasian transport corridors.
- Regrettably, the second and third factors, which Ukraine,
like most modern nations, inherited from previous generations, are static.
Their influence tends to reduce considerably and inevitably under continual
pressure from so-called dynamic factors of nations' competitiveness, i.e.
factors created by nations in the process of production expansion. One
of these dynamic factors is a nation's ability to develop and produce sophisticated
and science-intensive commodities. And the fact that the lion's share of
business activity in Ukraine involves commodities with low time and labor
consumption, non-renewable resources, and simpler processing and transportation
infrastructures, should leave no illusions about the rather bleak prospects
for such businesses in the 21st century.
- It is only an innovative form of development, directed
at creating advanced science-intensive industries, that can give Ukraine
a long-term competitive advantages. One of the State's instruments for
encouraging researchers' and designers' innovative efforts is the practice
of awarding annual state prizes for scientific achievements.
- Regrettably enough, industrial engineers, researchers,
and designers of defense products seldom win such prizes. This is explained
by the high costs of research, development, and manufacture in the defense
industry, which the young Ukrainian state can not afford yet. At the same
time, as international experience shows, this branch is not only a guarantee
of national security, but also a kind of "locomotive" for the
civilian branches of economy. One of the subjective reasons, to a certain
extent, is the fact that representatives of the defense industry tend to
conceal their achievements, which sometimes only become known to the general
public for political considerations. Information about new weapons and
their technical capacities is disclosed only when it appears expedient
in terms of psychological influence on personnel or potential enemies.
- The new-generation strategic long-range passive radar
complex "Kolchuga" meets the most stringent moral-ethical and
environmental standards as absolutely harmless to people or the environment.
It is unique because, firstly, all research, development, pre-process,
and serial production works were performed by the Topaz holding, and funded
through Ukrspetsexport investment and Prominvestbank credits; secondly,
the high technological level of the Ukrainian radar was asserted de facto
by the most developed and powerful country, the trendsetter in the military
- What Scared the Americans So?
- The Americans must have been indignant over the alleged
breach of UN sanctions against Iraq by Ukraine. But there is another feasible
explanation, and it lies in the uniqueness of the Ukrainian radar complex.
- The Ukrainian scientific, engineering, and design solutions
in the field of passive radiolocation, embodied in the Kolchuga complex,
are what is eating U.S. designers and government functionaries, who are
responsible for stealth technologies in modern armaments. Such technologies
are meant to fulfill every general's dream: to make his aircraft, ships,
tanks, and other hardware invisible to enemies. The geometrical shape
may be changed (like in the F-117 or B-2) to disperse a reflected signal
from active radars, or there may be various wave-absorbing coatings to
transform active signals into heat energy. But no modern military aircraft,
tank, or ship can exist without its own radar. Without a radiating aerial
it is simply "blind". That is why every aircraft, ship, and
ground-based radar complex has active radiolocation devices. These devices
are always on, emitting radio signals. Each specific type of hardware emits
signals within different parameters. Consequently, a machine on which an
emitting radar is mounted can be identified.
- As a rule, there is a very long and sometimes impassable
distance between an abstract formulation of some technical feasibility
and its "embodiment" in metal. This distance was covered by the
Special Radio Device Design Bureau public holding, the Topaz holding, the
Donetsk National Technical University, the Ukrspetsexport state company,
and the Investment and Technologies Company. It took them eight years (1993
- 2000) to conduct research, develop algorithms, test solutions on experimental
specimens, and launch serial production. The new product dramatically changed
the balance in the constant competition between offensive and defensive
means. The relatively cheap Ukrainian Kolchuga radar station, which is
able to detect and identify practically all known active radio devices
mounted on ground, airborne, or marine objects, actually cancels out all
those billions of dollars spent on stealth-based armaments.
- The operation in Iraq in 1991, when the U.S.A. first
used new F-117 stealth fighters, seemed to have named the winner in the
battle between air offense and air defense. Not a single (!) F-117 was
even damaged in 1,272 sorties. The U.S. fighters destroyed about 40 percent
of prime ground targets in areas with a high concentration of Iraqi air
defenses. Notably, the U.S.A.F. owed much of its success in the offensive
operations to neutralizing, rather than overcoming, the enemy air defense.
First, active radars were detected (an easy task, considering their powerful
radiation), and then destroyed by various means. In other words, the Iraqi
air defense systems were built on the principle of active radiolocation
only, so the best they could do was warn of an air raid, because the attacking
side destroyed them within a couple hours.
- And when the newly independent Ukraine that had only
just survived a severe economic crisis, developed an advanced passive
radiolocation complex, it was a severe blow to the Americans, who were
so sure of their domination in the air thanks to their stealth planes.
On the one hand, the advantages of the attacker's "invisibility"
were reduced to zero. On the other, passive radiolocation, i.e., the absence
of the radar's own radiation, radically reduced the disadvantage of insufficient
secrecy. Besides, an attacking object detected by a passive radar is never
aware of its detection and so has no reasons to activate its own defenses.
It means that the most important advantage is now in the hands of the air
defense, especially considering the impression produced on experts by the
latest Kolchuga modification.
- - A complex consisting of three Kolchuga radar stations
makes it possible to spot ground and surface targets and trace their movement
within a radius of 600 km (air targets at the 10 km altitude - up to 800
km), which makes an effective early warning air defense system;
- - The Kolchuga station is equipped with five meter-,
decimeter-, and centimeter-range aerials, which provide for high radio
sensitivity within a 110dB/W - 155 dB/W swath, depending on the frequency;
- - A parallel 36-channel preset receiver makes it possible
to spot instantly, identify, and classify signals from any source with
unlimited input density within the entire frequency range from 130MHz to
- - All radio objects are spotted and identified automatically,
a powerful computer digitizing and identifying targets by comparing their
parameters with the available databank, results being shown on a field
- - Special inhibitory sorters omit up to 24 interfering
signals, and tracking sorters make it possible to synchronously sort out
and track signals from 32 targets;
- - All normal operations require only one operator (two
other operators work on a shift basis for 24-hour duty), who controls the
station through dialog with a PC.
- Since the whole U.S. non-nuclear military power hinges
on stealth technologies, the prospect of worldwide proliferation of the
unique Ukrainian radar systems definitely runs counter to U.S. interests.
They were first demonstrated at the SOFEX-2000 arms expo in Jordan. That
is, probably, why such close interest, especially from the United States,
catalyzed the notorious "Kolchuga scandal".
- Competitors Lagging Far Behind
- Such a promising trend as passive radiolocation is certainly
of great interest to highly developed countries. But the Ukrainian Kolchuga
radar, with all its technical and operational characteristics taken together,
has no analogs anywhere in the world. And in its basic parameters it surpasses
all known means of the same or similar purpose.
- The 800-km detection range has been achieved only by
the Ukrainian Kolchuga. The best the U.S. AWACS can do is 600 km, while
the ground-based complexes Vera (Czech Republic) and Vega (Russia) can
reach out up to 400 km - half what the Ukrainian complex can reach. The
Kolchuga's lower limit of the working frequency range is 130MHz and is
the lowest of all analogs. For the AWACS it is 2,000 MHz, for the Vera
it is 850MHz, for the Vega it is 200MHz.
- But where the Kolchuga has the greatest advantages is
its ability to identify accurately radio objects thanks to unique algorithms
and hi-tech equipment. In particular, the mean square deviation in frequency
measurement - the most informative parameters for identifying types of
spotted radio objects - is 0.4MHz in the Kolchuga. It is 0.5MHz - 1.0MHz
in the Russian Vega, 1.0MHz in the U.S. AWACS, and as much as 3.6MHz -
21.0MHz in the Czech Vera. The maximal duration of detected impulses, measured
by the Kolchuga, is 999.0 microseconds, versus 99.9 microseconds for the
AWACS and 200 microseconds for the Vera. And the impulse repetition period
can be measured by the Kolchuga up to the maximum of 79,999 microseconds,
while no analogs can perform such measurements longer than 10,000 microseconds.
- As a result, the number of detected radio objects that
the Kolchuga can classify is practically unlimited, which can not be said
about any known analogs. The Ukrainian station has advanced algorithms
and software programs for analyzing, systematizing, generalizing, and storing
information about all radio objects and parameters of their signals. And
the data already collected in the database can be used to identify newly
detected radio objects and can be correlated with data obtained from other
- It should be noted that the Kolchuga's undeniable advantages
are not accidental or temporary. The Ukrainian product is head and shoulders
above all American, Russian, French, Czech, or Brazilian developments in
this field. But those who developed and made this unique product aren't
resting on their laurels. They continue to work.
- Several contracts for exporting Kolchuga complexes have
been fulfilled, but that is well below the export potential of this product,
which already has numerous prospective buyers.
- National Hi-Tech Complex: Positive Trends
- The fact that Ukraine, for the first time since independence
in 1991, has entered the world market of hi-tech radio electronics with
its own serially manufactured product, which has no analogs, testifies
dramatically to positive trends in the development of the national hi-tech
- Among the domestic factors that have facilitated this
symptomatic breakthrough we should note close cooperation between the Topaz
holding and Ukrainian researchers, the Donetsk National Technical University
in particular. The company's substantial material support to the university
did not only stimulate theoretical research in the field of passive radiolocation
and data visualization systems, but also facilitated training of highly
qualified technicians for Topaz and the Special Radio Device Design Bureau.
The latter is incorporated in the holding and, unlike most Ukrainian research
institutions, which have lost their qualified personnel and only make ends
meet by leasing their premises, it has beefed up its personnel fourfold
since 1996. The scientific school has not only been preserved, but has
expanded the field of its applications.
- Thus, we can see that Ukrspetsexport's investment and
Prominvestbank's credits were sown in a fertile field and their managers
proved to be farsighted. So the researchers, supported organizationally
and motivated materially, did their best and produced commendable results.
- In the course of long, painstaking, and persistent work
on developing the Kolchuga complex and launching its serial production,
a great number of unprecedented technical solutions were found. Hi-tech
process lines were developed for manufacturing components for high-frequency
and microwave electronics, mirror aerials, and other products, which determined
the superb characteristics of the unique radar complex. Eight technical
solutions to the design and twelve know-how innovations in the manufacture
- Thanks to the stable demand for Kolchuga radar complexes
in external markets, Topaz has not only retained its skilled workforce,
but also has been able to reinvest in new research and development projects.
Aware of their leading position in the field of passive radiolocation,
the Donetsk specialists have embarked on improving the Mandat jamming complex,
their basic Soviet-era product. Their new brainchild is expected to surpass
all existing analogs.
- Topaz also repairs and modernizes other types of passive
radar equipment used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, thus reducing budget
spending. This scientific and engineering breakthrough has not only built
a solid financial basis for further research, but has also contributed
to the country's defense potential.
- It is symptomatic that the Donetsk tandem of industrial
enterprise and the design bureau, with financial support from the state-run
export company and the Ukrainian bank, has become a sort of "growth
center" in radio-electronic and related sectors.
- The global manufacture of science-intensive products
is based on 50 macro-technologies. Seven most developed countries that
possess 46 macro-technologies control about 80% of the highly profitable
market of science-intensive products. Labor inputs have a considerable
specific weight in the cost of such products, which certainly has a positive
effect on living standards in these countries.
- The fact that Ukrainian researchers, designers, and engineers
have been able to enter the global hi-tech market with their product, which
is superior to all foreign analogs, inspires optimism about Ukraine's future
place in the international division of labor. No successful market transformations,
unless backed by technological breakthroughs, can result in what is called
an economic miracle. And the Kolchuga proves that after a long drift in
the rough seas of economic cataclysms, the Ukrainian scientific and engineering
potential has begun to materialize in highly competitive products and yield
tangible economic profits.
- So, it is quite logical to reward the pioneers on this
thorny path, who have not only been able to preserve the scientific school
and technological potential in the hardest economic crisis, but have also
produced the world-famous Kolchuga radar complex.
- What does this mean?
- Iran can be surprise attacked only by ballistic missile
or missiles launched from sub submerged nearby if they have no detectors
along their coast, which is probable.
- Now it is clear why Rumsfeld once said that ballistic
missiles tipped with conventional warheads can be used against terrorists.
- For attack on Iran, first wave will consists of such
ballistic missiles so the Kolcuga systems and active radar defence systems
could be destroyed prior the conventional attack with aircraft could start.
If this first wave fails and Iran succeeds to use their electromagnetic
pulse devices on detected U.S. hardware, then all will go nuclear.
- IZAKOVIC http://www.deepspace4.com