Could Russia’s New Electronic Warfare Aircraft disable U.S. Satellites?
Moscow says it is developing a new Electronic Warfare (EW) aircraft capable of disabling electronics components on U.S. satellites, according to Russian State media.
Electronic-warfare (EW) aircraft can jam radars, missile-guidance systems and communications networks. For that matter, Washington worries about Russian capabilities to jam or spoof its military GPS links that are key to navigation and targeting.
The new EW aircraft “will be capable of turning off the electronics installed on military satellites,” says Sputnik News. The conceptual work has reportedly been completed and design and development is expected to begin soon.
“The work is currently underway to develop an aircraft equipped with jamming systems that will replace Il-22PP Porubshchik [electronic warfare aircraft], which are currently being delivered to the Russian Aerospace Forces,” an unnamed Russian defense industry source told Sputnik News.
“This machine will receive a fundamentally new on-board equipment, which will allow to conduct electronic suppression of any targets—ground, air, sea—and disable enemy satellites that provide navigation and radio communication on the ground,” the source said.
“The problem of Porubshchik 1 is in the aircraft platform itself, as Russia has about 10 Il-22 planes and this machine cannot be reproduced,” the source added. “The new aircraft will be named Porubshchik 2, but most likely, this machine will join the Aerospace Forces under a different name,” the source added. “There definitely will be a new air-frame. There is a possibility of developing such an aircraft on the basis of Tu-214 or Il-76 plane.”
Moscow currently operates three EW aircraft based on the Ilyushin Il-22. The Il-22PP versions are variants of the Il-22 (NATO code: Coot B) airborne command post, which is itself derived from the Il-18 airliner.
The Il-22PP was first publicly appeared in 2016, is denominated as an “escort jammer” designed to provide EW support other aircraft. The Il-22PP was intended to disrupt radars, surface-to-air and cruise-missile guidance systems, and tactical data networks such as Link 16.