The electronic warfare (EW) component is a key factor of success in a modern military operation. Lessons learnt from recent conflicts show the exceptional importance of the EW component, which becomes a true force multiplier allowing battlefield capabilities to be employed with greater effectiveness and efficiency. Ukrainian engineers traditionally have had a broad range of designs to offer in this high-technology area.
In Ukraine, the key player in the area of EW R&D and production of EW equipment is SE Novator of Khmelnitsky, which is part of the State Concern “Ukroboronprom” and is credited for creating EW countermeasure systems for Ukrainian army. Among the last works of the company is the modernized version of RCIED jammer system GARANT, which was presented during international exhibition «Arms and Security 2015», that took place in late September in Kyiv.
GARANT (which means ‘guardian’) is highly effective EW [electronic warfare] countermeasure system designed to jam the signals of remote control (RC) switches being used to trigger roadside bombs or improvised explosive devices (IED) throughout the frequency range. It is designed for vehicle use (military convoys, lone automobiles, tanks and armored vehicles), or fixed-installation protection. Adequate protection is provided by jamming the signals of RC initiators and preventing them from functioning at a distance. This is accomplished by setting up high-power broadband barrage jamming creating around the jamming carrier vehicle a ‘secure bubble’ area impervious to hostile radio transmission from RC triggers, which covers the entire frequency range employed by RC initiators and is powerful enough to protect a vehicle convoy.
The GARANT equipment kit includes three RC link jamming units (designated BPRL-1, BPRL-2 and BPRL-3), each comprising four active jamming dispensers complemented with one highly-productive ultra-broadband omnidirectional-beam flagpole antenna array. In all, the system uses 12 jamming units (each covering its assigned frequency band) and only three antenna arrays. GARANT is kind of a unique design which in its many aspects far surpasses western-designed alternatives. What makes the Ukrainian design truly unique is the broadband flagpole aerials employed in the GARANT RCIED jammer. Western equivalents, for example some of the French make, employ dedicated aerials specific to different parts of the frequency band (each radio transmitter, to be precise) – in all 12-14 antenna arrays as compared to GARANT’s three.
GARANT can be mounted on transport vehicles of all kinds (automobiles, armored personnel carriers, tanks and other AFV types), while foreign-designed equivalents (Russian, German or French) require a dedicated platform to be carried, with consequent inconveniences related to the need to assign such a dedicated platform to each vehicle convoy or even a standalone vehicle under protection. The GARANT with a baseline equipment fit includes attachment hardware optimized for the KamAZ-class truck platform. The attachment hardware can be custom-configured for any vehicle type, depending on specific assignments or the scenario’s challenges. GARANT equipment kits are mounted on Ukrainian Army tanks used for RCIED countermeasure operator training. The baseline GARANT equipment kit includes one power supply unit for each of the three BPRL jamming units. The power supply unit is built into a standard housing with integral batteries. The BPRL unit can be configured for all types of power supply units from all suppliers. The jammer’s output power is optimized in such a way so that to neutralize RC triggers to best effect but to give the operating crew as little as practical exposure to RF radiation.
Each of the BPRL units with an assigned antenna array weighs no more than 16.40 kg. In operating configuration, the antenna arrays for the BPRL-1, BPRL-2 and BPRL-3 units have heights of 2,880 mm, 2,500 mm and 800 mm, respectively. The jamming dispensers can be operating using 12 V power supply units or an external 11.5-14 V supply. Each BPRL unit (with four of its jammers operating all at a time) has an operating time of 60 minutes on two rechargeable batteries.
Also it has to be mentioned, that during the Kiev Arms and Security Expo 2015,the GARANT system was presented with the improved specifications. In particular, a new version of the system has the extended frequency range of noise radiation, which now is 20–2500 MHz, and longer radio suppression distance, which is 75–1000 m (depending on the radio link parameters).
In transport configuration, the GARANT equipment kit is transportable by railway, road, sea or air. Equipment options include a wideband directional-beam antenna designed to be mounted on fixed installations for jamming RC signals in a localized area.
The Novator’s protection systems, such as GARANT, are understood to be a unique and all-capable means of neutralization and disablement of hostile radio communications, allowing terminal effectiveness of enemy combat devises to be reduced considerably.