Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Russia Claims its ‘Sunflower’ OTH Radar can Detect US F-35 Stealth Jets

See the invisible

A Podsulnukh-E OTH high frequency surface wave radar system in Russia.

Russia claims its powerful Podsolnukh E (sunflower in English) over-the-horizon (OTH) surface-wave radar system can detect the "invisible" U.S. F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter at short range.

China installed a long-range Podsolnukh-E OTH radar station with a 300 km range on Hainan Island in 2008 to detect enemy warships. 

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Podsolnukh E is a coast-horizon shortwave short-range radar system that can detect both air and sea targets approaching it from the sea. Aircraft flying at different altitudes and over the horizon can be spotted at a maximum distance of 450 kilometers. Podsolnukh can simultaneously detect, track and classify 100 aerial targets and 300 maritime targets in an automatic mode.

The system is also able to determine the target's position and give target indications to weapon systems located on ships or on the ground.

Russian sources said short-wave stations such as Podsolnukh can see stealth fighter jets like the multi-million dollar F-35 "as clearly as WWII-era aircraft".

It says the system can become operational in 10 days and needs a team of just three people to remain operational. Podsolnukh is easy to operate and doesn't need much equipment. The radar stations have to be spaced 370 kilometers apart to provide complete coverage.

Sea- and shore-based OTH systems are popular in Russia, which has long coastlines in Europe and Asia. Russia currently has three operational Podsulnukh radar stations: one each in the Sea of Okhotsk; the Sea of Japan and the Caspian Sea. These fixed stations, however, are conspicuous because of their large radar towers.

OTH surface wave radar relies on ground wave or surface wave propagation of the radio signal transmitted by the radar. They are normally coastal installations with the ocean providing the conducting surface.

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