Science

Russian Missiles and Radar Systems Almost Useless Against US Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, Admit Russian Experts

By | May 08, 2017 10:11 AM EDT
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The U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG-67) unleashes a Tomahawk cruise missile. (Photo : US Navy)

Despite hubris that its surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems such as the S-300 and Buk can easily deal with American cruise missiles, it turns out these state-of-the-art Russian SAMs are almost useless when it comes to efficiently shooting down cruise missiles.

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This embarrassing admission was made recently by Russian experts following the attack on the Syrian Air Force's Al-Shayrat Air Base on the evening of April 7 by 59 U.S. Navy UGM-109E Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs).

This missile barrage eluded both the Russian-made radar systems of the Syrian Air Defense Force (SyADF) and the wide range of Russian-made SAM systems such as the S-300; Buk and the SA-6 "Gainful" operated by SyADF.

The successful American attack was a huge black eye for Russia's SAM systems and this much has been admitted by some Russian experts.

A Russian electronic warfare (EW) expert told a Russian state-controlled media outlet the "Tomahawk is a very hard target to deal with" and that cruise missiles are very hard targets to hit.

He admitted Russia lacks effective EW equipment able to "dupe cruise missiles through and through" to make them miss the target or to render them inefficient altogether. He said one can only degrade their guidance or force them to climb to an altitude where they become theoretically vulnerable to air defense systems.

He also derided a belief prevalent among other Russian EW experts that it's enough to jam the Tomahawk's GPS signal to prevent the cruise missile from getting a fix on its own position thereby causing it to veer off course.

"Alas, this is far from the fact," said the expert.

He said these so-called "experts" make such statements "due to their ignorance of the operating principles of the Tomahawk's guidance and navigation systems."

He also noted that Tomahawk cruise missiles are difficult targets for Russian EW systems.           

He revealed that the Tomahawk's circular error probable (CEP) is within 10 meters. With satellite navigation (satnav), however, the accuracy increases to within 10 centimeters, which is a bulls-eye by any standard.                 

The expert refuted accounts in Russian media that a Russian-made Rychag-AV EW system jammed several dozen Tomahawks, causing them to crash. He pointed out Rychag-AV is effective against air defense radar systems and not against cruise missiles, which means "only an utter layman can say that the system 'jammed' the Tomahawks."


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