The capture of a Russian SATCOM system could yield useful intelligence for NATO.
In early April, Ukrainian forces revealed they had captured a Russian Army Auriga-1.2B portable satellite communications (SATCOM) system. This gives some important clues on how the Russian Army uses SATCOM on the battlefield.
Armada was told the Auriga-1.2B is a relatively new system, having entered service with the army over the past five years. It has also been developed in a marinized form for naval vessels, designated the Aurgia-1.0K.
Sources familiar with Russian military communications said the Auriga-1.2B provides C-band (5.925-6.425GHz uplink/3.7-4.2GHz downlink) and Ku-band (14GHz uplink/10.9-12.75GHz downlink) channels. Auriga-1.2B users can move traffic across Russia’s Yamal and Ekspress constellations, both of which are operated by the Russian private sector. Yamal and Ekspress carry Ku-band SATCOM.
The Auriga-1.2B terminals can also use C-band SATCOM channels provided by the Russian Ministry of Defence’s Blagovest constellation.
Literature on the Auriga-1.2B in Armada’s possession says that data rates of between 32 kilobits-per-second up to four megabits-per-second are achievable with the terminal. The terminals are probably used for wideband backhaul carrying heavy traffic like imagery from deployed units to command headquarters. It is possible the terminals are used to carry unmanned aerial vehicle imagery across beyond line-of-sight ranges. The literature continues that the Auriga-1.2B can achieve an effective radiated power of 49 decibel/watts.
The Auriga-1.2B could prove an important find for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) should they be able to access the technology.
Reverse engineering the system may give indications on techniques and waveforms NATO could use to electronically attack Russian SATCOM. The Auriga-1.2B capture confirms the army is using SATCOM and high frequency (three megahertz/MHz to 30MHz) radio for trunk communications in Ukraine.
by Dr. Thomas Withington