Why is the Russian Navy is planning an upgrade of the electronic warfare systems adorning the ‘Admiral Gorshkov’ class frigates?
While much of the Electronic Warfare (EW) limelight is occupied by the Russian Army’s enhancement of its EW systems, the Russian Navy is pursuing some notable endeavours. Last month, Russia’s official Tass news agency reported that the navy’s two ‘Admiral Gorshkov’ class frigates will receive new electronic warfare systems.
To date the eponymous vessel, the first in the class, commissioned on 28th July 2018. Her sister, the ‘Admiral Kasatonov’ is expected to commission this summer. A further six ships should join the fleet by the end of the decade.
Electronic Warfare Equipment
Open sources state that the two ‘Admiral Gorshkov’ ships are equipped with the KRET TK-28E/5P-28 electronic support measure, Prosvet-M countermeasures launcher, CT-308 decoy launcher to deliver corner reflectors.
The TK-28E/5P-28 is designed for large combatants, with a version of the system, dubbed the TK-25E, optimised for smaller ships like offshore patrol vessels. Russian sources have indicated that the TK-25E has similar performance characteristics to the TK-28E.
Rosoboronexport, which markets the system, states that the TK-25E can detect emissions across a 500 megahertz to 40 gigahertz/GHz waveband. Up to 100 targets can be analysed simultaneously, and two targets jammed simultaneously. Its literature continues that X-band (8.5GHz to 10.68GHz) and Ku-band (13.4GHz to 14GHz/15.7GHz to 17.7GHz) threats can be jammed by the TK-25E with between 100 watts/W and 1.2 kilowatts of power. Threats can be detected across 360 degrees of azimuth and up to 40 degrees of elevation.
The Tass report said that alongside upgraded radars, the two ‘Admiral Gorshkov’ ships would receive modernised electronic warfare systems. Tantalisingly, the report made no mention as to what this would entail or the EW systems to be procured.
Why the ‘Admiral Gorshkov’ class, a comparatively new frigate class in the Russian Navy, is receiving new electronic warfare systems is puzzling. The TK-28E is considered as among the most modern surface combatant EW systems in the fleet.
It is possible that enhancements are being made to the TK-28E and other electronic warfare systems used by the vessel as opposed to new EW systems being installed. These improvements may result from operational and trials experience with the eponymous ship in the class. They may be retrofitted onto the ‘Admiral Kasatonov’ once she has commissioned. These upgraded EW systems may thus become the standard specification for future members of the class.
Similarly, the improvements could adorn the enhanced so-called ‘Super Gorshkov’ class frigates; a greatly enhanced version of the ‘Admiral Gorshkov’ class. These could displace up to 8,000 tonnes and commence construction by 2023.