Russian Maritime ‘A2/AD’: Strengths and weaknesses

This is a follow up post to the A2/AD discussion dealing with Russian VKS and PVO-SV air defense, it is also meant to flog the discussion in this WOTR article on whether Russian A2/AD is a really a problem from a maritime perspective. Anti-access/area-denial has some purchase as a concept in the maritime domain, but it was meant to be a conversation about China. The term has been lackadaisically applied to Russia because defense ‘strategists’ group similar capabilities into a common functional problem. This then allows them to say ‘Russia and China’ = problem X, and even worse, if we buy capability Y to deal China then it will definitely work for Russia because we have now declared these to be the same problem set.

This post is not about operational concepts, but again the tactical side of things, as there has been some debate on the efficacy of Russian A2/AD systems. Hence I hope to tease out a conversation on how things work, or don’t probably work, and areas where I think we don’t necessarily know (or maybe just I don’t know).

In the Russian case what gets touted as A2/AD capabilities are just land based coastal defense systems, which for Russia is somewhere between Plan C or Plan D in order of echelonment for dealing with a blue water navy. It mostly misses the plot of Russian thinking about maritime strike. The Russian Navy has historically pursued a damage limitation strategy, starting with forward deployed guided missile ships/submarines, land based aircraft with anti-ship missiles, then offensive/defensive mining and CDCMs.

However, for littoral NATO states in the Baltic/Black Sea with small navies the missile batteries pose a pretty big problem, quite relevant for those who start within the alleged range rings. Think tanks and defense industry advocacy organizations often offer us these scary circles, but does starting within range of these systems equal automatic attrition? The answer is depends.

a2ad rings
map of very scary a2/ad things

How capable are Russia’s coastal defense cruise missile batteries? (A2/AD things) Precision strike in the maritime domain depends heavily on queuing, and having a workable kill chain, because unlike buildings ships move around. This means having to address technical things like over the horizon targeting, satellite targeting, etc. Being able to find and fix the actual target is most of the problem. The range rings drawn based on missile flight range don’t mean anything, plus they probably don’t reflect the actual ranges anyway. Second, the most important leg in this supposed A2/AD chain is still land based aviation, both for queuing with maritime patrol aircraft, and the ability to conduct strikes against maritime targets.

The bulk of the Russian coastal defense force includes the BAL, which fires 8 x Kh-35E subsonic missiles per TEL. This system delivers a salvo of up to 32 missiles per battery, with subsonic anti-ship missiles at a max range of 260km. The Bastion-P fires the P-800 Oniks, which is advertised at 450/500km on a high trajectory, 300km combination medium-low, and 120km with a low-low flight profile. It is possible that P-800 Oniks actual range could be further than officially stated given some of the statements that occasionally come out of India about the capability of their Brahmos. Of course ships have numerous countermeasures, defenses, and can use geography to hide, so one should not presume that the Russian ability to hit a ship guarantees that a missile will connect with the target.

These CDCM batteries come with their own Monolit-B targeting radars. Russia’s defense export sites claim that they have an active radar mode (35km), over the horizon radar using waveguide (90km), over the horizon using refraction (250km) passive targeting mode to detect emitting radars  (450km). We can take that with a grain of salt, but the numbers listed don’t seem especially fantastical. It comes in a pair of transmitting and receiving vehicles. They can receive targeting data via data link from airborne units, like Ka-31 helicopters, reconnaissance aircraft like Su-24MR or MP, or potentially the much longer range Il-38N and Tu-142 (Bear F). Russian forces also use larger over-the-horizon radar (OTHR) arrays, such as the high frequency surface wave Podsolnukh-E (OTH-SW) systems found based around Russian fleets (200-450km), or the much bigger Container (OTH-B) array located deep in Russia with a range of 3000km+.

Podsolnykh-E
Podsolnykh-E OTH-SW

One of the questions occasionally raised is whether they can they hit anything using the OTHR? It has been alleged that using OTHR is basically just firing blind, and I don’t think that’s the case. I’m not an expert on OTHR systems, but it would be a really poor investment to buy such long range missiles without investing in a viable targeting system for them, and to pair them with so many unhelpful mobile OTHR systems. The battery’s organic Monolit-B radar is relatively short range, but it is supposed to not only detect targets beyond the radar horizon, but also classify them, and one wonders whether that is all a big lie. OTHR has a lot of problems, but with modern signal processing technology the current generation of OTH-SW and OTH-B systems could be much better. I would not bet the ship on the proposition that Russian OTHR systems cannot effectively see and classify targets over the horizon.

Monolit-B2
Depiction of Monolit-B and Ka-31 used for targeting

Given the various forms of civilian traffic control, ship automatic identification systems, it may also be possible to easily cross reference signals to separate military from civilian traffic. In a Russia v NATO fight, most of the traffic will belong to combatant nations, and might be considered fair game by the adversary. ELINT based targeting seems to be another functionality of the Monolit-B, and is useful for space-based targeting, which we will get to late. The extent to which a target is cooperative makes a significant difference.

Of course coastal defenses often rely on Su-24MR or Ka-31 helicopters to confirm targets at longer ranges, and while these can be shot down, the numbers game doesn’t look great. Also the act of shooting down an aircraft with ship based air defense system means becoming a cooperative target that identifies you to passive means of detection. Coastal defense units are shifting to drones for recon-strike targeting, like much of the Russian ground force, which means there are simply going to be too many cheap ISR platforms in that tactical-operational range of 100-300km. There is a panoply of means to classify a target, from a guy with a radio on a fishing trawler, to an AGI, to drones, aircraft, and helicopters.

The second half of the package is the missile. Russian anti-ship missiles are advertised as having a sophisticated seeker with active radar, home on jam, ability to de-conflict with other missiles, and a complex flight profile. Soviet missiles were known to be quite smart, able to de-conflict with each other, execute search patterns to actively scan for targets. There is no reason to assume modern Russian missiles can’t do the same, but better. The missile can do quite a bit of the work of classifying and differentiating targets, i.e. it will figure out which one is a fishing boat and which one is an AEGIS destroyer on approach.

P-800 Oniks

What about land based naval aviation?

The Russian A2/AD discussion often overlooks the fact that coastal defenses are just a backup for other defensive layers, from ships and submarines to the Russian air force, which is partly what makes it unworkable as an alleged strategy. It’s the last layer of defense for Russia’s maritime approaches, not the primary one. Against a blue water navy it is near useless since there is no reason cruise missile carrying platforms, or carriers, need conduct operations within range of Russian ‘A2/AD’ capabilities.

The USSR began to think along these lines in the early 1960s once carrier based aviation got longer legs, hence the damage limitation strategy. Basically the A2/AD business doesn’t solve any of Russia’s central problems with U.S. naval power projection, which is again why there is no strategy just based on these capabilities. They are a relatively close-in layer for defending Russian littorals and maritime approaches but not the basis of Russian strategy. (More on that in this article.)

Russian long range aviation took the Tu-22M3s from the Navy back in 2011, then got converted into the VKS Aerospace Forces in 2015. This means that part of the maritime strike mission is in the possession of the long range aviation component (LRA) of the VKS. We can add to this the Su-34 bomber, Su-24M2 tactical bomber, and the Su-30SM heavy multirole fighters assigned to naval aviation regiments. It is hard to know what might be operational from the Tu-22M3 force, but it is safe to assume that what’s left is a relatively small force compared to the heyday of Soviet naval aviation –  a couple regiments strong at best. Tu-22M3s, even in small numbers, pose a challenge because of the range of their Kh-32 missiles.

The Su-34s are worth looking at, because the Russian VKS has received 125 of them and they have increasingly been practicing anti-ship strikes with Kh-31 and Kh-35 in exercises. The Su-30SM is also suitable for this role with 114 delivered, although a relatively small portion of these went to naval aviation regiments. Land based aviation is becoming more of a player in maritime strike and I think this space is worth watching. I will skip the Mig-31K because it’s not clear right now where it will get the queuing from to target the Kinzhal ALBM against high value naval platforms.

Su-34 with Kh-35
Su-34 with Kh-35 in Syria

The main limitation on Russian naval aviation is the availability of Il-38N and Tu-142 long range maritime patrol aircraft. This means that Russian aviation looks good at the operational range of 300-500km, but anything beyond that starts to get problematic given the limited availability of long range ISR platforms. Limited availability is sometimes used as a euphemism for ‘they can’t do it,’ but what it translates into is intermittent coverage, or a high chance of running out of assets due to attrition.

Can space based means be used to target at sea? It depends.

The Soviet Union used two space based ISR systems for targeting: Legenda for maritime reconnaissance and targeting, and Tselina for radio-technical reconnaissance (ELINT). These constellations used nuclear powered, and solar powered satellites of the «УС-А» (active radar) и «УС-П» (passive detection). They provided targeting information at sea and transmitted it to ships or guided missile submarines, like the Oscar-II armed with Granit missiles.

However, both space based recon systems are considered to have ceased functioning some time ago, to be replaced by the Liana system which has had trouble getting off the ground. Liana was meant to consist of two Lotos electronic signals intelligence satellites, and two Pion-NKS radar reconnaissance satellites. Lotos had problems in development, consistent with much of Russia’s space program, but the first satellite went up in 2009. It was followed by three Lotos-S1 satellites, though none of the Pion-NKS satellites have been launched. Izvestia reported last year that both Pions were supposed to be launched by January 2020. Given I’m writing this on January 28, it’s safe to say that’s probably not going to happen this month.

According to numerous public sources a Russian constellation of ELINT satellites designed to listen for cooperative targets does exist (possibly 3x Lotos-S1), but the two Pion-NKS radar satellites do not. Once the Pion-NKS are launched though, which could be this year, the Liana system will be working with satellites able to see ships on the ocean’s surface and transmit that data to Russian forces. This will make a difference in kind when it comes to the Russian forces’ ability to target ships via any land based or sea based platform.

Lotos-S1 model
Lotos-S1 model (from Russianspaceweb.com)

Wrapping up

There are limitations to Russian A2/AD capabilities, but they were never meant as a strategy. The strategy was and remains damage limitation, which in part is based on layered defense, but also preemptive destruction of long range strike platforms. Coastal defense is about covering the littorals and key maritime approaches. The challenge began to loom because missiles got better, radars got better, and NATO expanded – so now what was a layer of coastal defenses has become an A2/AD capability affecting sea denial in much of the Baltic and Black Sea.

This places the emphasis on the wrong capabilities. The focus should be on ISR, and the potential for land based strike aviation to make an impact. I also think offensive and defensive mining gets overlooked as one of the most effective means of denying an entire area to an adversary because its not as flashy as modern missiles. Limitations in ISR make ‘a2/ad’ rather dodgy beyond tactical-operational ranges, and there are legitimate questions about what Russian OTHR can actually deliver without additional sources of target identification. That sets up a somewhat bifurcated threat, as the Russian ability to see is pretty good at tactical-operational ranges, and not so good beyond them.

These complexities of course do not stop defense intellectuals from trotting out theories that Russia has an ‘A2/AD strategy’ and will terribly coerce NATO in a crisis with shiny missiles. A real interdiction strategy would involve sea lines of communication. During the first half of the Cold War it was long held that the USSR had a SLOC interdiction strategy before the navy eventually conceded that actually it was chiefly a withholding strategy for SSBN bastion defense. There is no evidence that anything has changed on the Russian side, besides having far fewer operational submarines available to pursue SLOC interdiction.

However, we should not tilt towards cavalier or overly dismissive assessments. Russian forces are getting more eyes, buying more aircraft, drones, missiles, and upgrading maritime patrol aviation – so the trend line is clear. I think the extent to which ships become cooperative targets as they maneuver will have a significant impact on the ability of these various systems to detect and classify targets at longer ranges. That’s probably not a revelation, but it is interesting how much passive detection plays a role in the efficacy of Russian anti-ship targeting systems.

Feedback and comments welcome –

 

16 thoughts on “Russian Maritime ‘A2/AD’: Strengths and weaknesses

  1. Good work. Some minor comments.

    Container radar site went operational and is set to recieve complete 360 degree coverage at some time in the future. 3 more sites were announced. Container is going to provide indirect information on key NATO ships – carriers by monitoring air operations and probably direct tracking information. Normal caveats about resolution etc apply.

    US-A and US-P were both part of Legenda network, which provided proprietary ELINT to the Navy in addition to the RORSAT capability. The new network (Liana) replaces both Legenda and Tselina as a single joint system. With the Liana’s numbers there is a question of coverage but then we can use the historic 1982 example as evidence towards them probably being sufficient.

    In addition to Liana (and it’s Pion-NKS) there is a Kondor-E spacecraft out there with a program for follow up Kondor-FKA spacecraft (sadly delayed). Kondor showed some decent results in finding and identifying ships in the past.

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  2. I noticed that sometimes warships, intelligence ships, submarines and sea-bed installations are left out of the equation in the article when it comes to providing data-link to other platforms of anti-ship missiles. Especially their aircraft carrier could be well suited for providing intelligence. Could these assets assure the maximum range of the missiles? I’m asking becaue reaching upper limit will probably become more important if Onyx missiles in the Bastion-P system get eventually replaced with 600 km-capable Kalibr or 1000-km capable Tsirkon.

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  3. I would of course indicate that targeting aerial assets like Il-38, Tu-142, Su-24, Su-34, etc. from Ships doesn’t give their position away. PESAs generate LPI pencil beams(just lack multiple ones, and are already frequency agile) and with the shift to AESAs on new build ships, simply relying on EMCON triangulation becomes harder and harder. CEC in Western ships adds to the complication, long range surveillance from either distributed drone platforms(like the MQ-25(rumored to have a surveillance secondary mission), small bizjet platforms(like IAIs CAEW), or just E-2Ds operating at 250nm away are able to provide accurate enough targeting for SM-6 and SM-2 Active which both have ranges exceeding 125km, and one of which has a range exceeding 250km.(The new block SM-6 with the 21″ motor will have an even longer range.)

    Russian targeting will almost have to exclusively rely on OTH assets due to the inability to protect and their low amounts of naval surveillance and targeting aircraft. Those OTH assets that enable extremely long range beyond the shorter range mobile ones with ranges less than 500km(realistically) are static, extremely vulnerably installations regardless of their accuracy. They are prime targets for conventional BGVs and cruise missiles at the very least.

    Realistically these chains all have to rely on targeting provided either by mobile warships already vulnerable to attack themselves, extremely vulnerable ISR aircraft to long range western SAMs, mobile OTH assets with short range or static OTH assets.

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    • I would push back on some of that because the Russian ability to target represents a very different picture depending on whether you’re looking at the near sea zone, far sea zone, or an open blue water engagement (Mirovoi Okean) far from the Russian coast.

      1. Maritime patrol aviation with surface search radars hardly need to intercept a ship’s radar in order to see it. You would need air assets screening sufficiently forward to engage before detected, and that’s best done in the far sea zone.
      2. The near sea zone is not a permissive environment for E-2Ds because of the standoff range of Russian air defense against low maneuverability targets. They can be useful in the far sea zone and of course out in blue water engagements where you have ample standoff.
      3. Russian targeting can be space based. You can work to hide from ELINT satellites, but you’re not going to hide from Pion-NKs once they’re online.
      4. There are also submarines, UUVs, and subsurface sensors which can be used to target in specific areas where you expect the adversary to approach.
      5. We don’t know the range of Russian ship-based OTH. Paired with anti-ship missiles that can execute complex maneuvers, and acquire ships at long range, it’s not all quite that simple.

      On the whole the current kill-chain has problems beyond the near sea zone, but there is no evidence that the Russian Navy intends to venture out sufficiently beyond the range of its ability to find/fix/finish targets, i.e. contest the far sea zone and leave the rest to submarines.

      Comment on the future. If they acquire a large UCAV LO system like Okhotnik-B, and employ it for maritime target identification, it will make life more interesting.

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      • I’ll push back a little on a few of these.

        Regarding MPA/Surface Search: My point is that with LPI radars, you can’t just triangulate their positions, your odds of detecting an LPI pencil beam that’s frequency agile is essentially 0, and you’d need to do it more than once and it have it pass your detection noise threshold. So an MPA to surface search from range needs to be high up, meaning it’s well within the radar horizon for LPI PESA/AESA detection and your problems abound. This doesn’t apply to older generation air search radars like SPS-48, but those are being replaced over time or will simply not be used in contested environments when you can rely on a picture generated by someone else with an LPI radar. So before we even get to CEC, you can rely on these LPI radars to do enough to detect and classify large lumbering targets with the surface search radars required for long range detection(Il-38, Tu-142) and fire SM-2 Active or SM-6, which don’t require the CWI illuminators of their semi-active counterparts, and can operate at extreme range against these types of lumbering aircraft. They also work well against helicopters operating at high altitudes(Ka-31).

        Regarding E-2D: This was merely an illustrative point of CEC, other platforms can perform CEC targeting for SM-6 or SM-2, the (for example) F-35 is capable of providing targeting information for SM-6, as tested repeatedly since 2018 or so. Additionally, an E-2D at high altitude can definitely detect and classify large MPAs at long range(200+nm) and the only missile capable of doing anything like that is the continually elusive 40N6. Additionally, with MQ-25 or other potential drone systems, expendable CEC is continually possible.

        Regarding space based targeting: Radar imaging satellites have short dwell times(you need a lot of them to provide continual coverage) and low altitudes(especially vulnerable to kinetic ASATs with limited orbital repercussions – RORSAT is/would be fair game at it’s original obscenely low altitudes),

        So the question remains to be seen at what exactly PION ends up/where it ends up.

        Regarding subsurface detection/etc: Totally, never totally discounted this portion, though deployment of UUVs for anybody remains extremely limited. It would likely be left to improved Kilos and whatever potential subsurface static detection networks they had, but these are likely to be limited in range/scope, so it’ll be left to kilos to do the heavy lifting, which is a tall order for slow diesel boats to avoid detection to enable monitoring against moving SAG/CSGs

        Regarding surface ship OTH: Yeah, though I would say that the problems for them lie on the fact that Russian surface ships have even more problems than current U.S. ships with dealing with missile threats, especially from sea skimming, LO ones that are being procured.

        I’m curious as to where Russian UCAV research goes, but they have a really nascent industry compared to the west with semi-autonomous/autonomous weapon solutions like that.

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      • 1. Well let’s explore why you assume that ELINT is just about radar intercept? It is one common way to find a cooperative target, but it is not the only thing ships emit.
        2. SM-2 range is not great. SM-6 I’m not sure about. In either case that works great for USN and not so great for other navies who don’t have an extended range standoff missile. So their experience in near sea and far sea zone is going to be more interesting. We will put aside the countries that bought ships without any air defense at all.
        3. F-35 can do CEC but it’s not exactly a E-2D. I’m going to wander outside my comfort zone and suggest that I suspect the difference is between a flood light and a flashlight, they are technically both lights, but there’s a difference. I see CEC as a blue water thing, far sea zone and beyond, but lots of complications if you try to exercise this in close.
        4. If you’re kinetically killing satellites then they are yours. Russia is bound to be more competitive in that game and if you’re looking at dependence on space domain, they might be more dependent on it for maritime targeting, but overall we’re going to find that that we are more dependent on space than they are. By the way, one might not be so keen to start killing satellites in low earth orbit, given the danger that action will pose for all satellites.
        5. They’re making good progress on UUV and have interesting work on subsurface sensor networks. If you expected even a single Yasen-class operating forward, it would certainly enter the calculus.
        6. I would not call the 40N6 elusive to dismiss it – we’ve not seen it or the container yet, but on the other hand nobody serious argues that its not a thing. In any case Russia has long ago deployed a 400km+ standoff missile for S-300V4 and these platforms are incidentally the ones being deployed to fleets. Probably when S-500 comes out it will have 40N6 as base, while the follow on variants will have considerably better performance.

        I’m curious what are the problems Russian ships have missile threats that we do not? Exactly what LO sea skimming missile do we expect to be fielded – LRASM? Naval Strike Missile strapped to the side of a LCS?

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      • I would like to add some points.

        The 2nd/4th power law makes long range LPI hard because passive sensor’s recieved signal scales as the function of the 2nd power while the radar’s recieved signal scales as a function of 4th power.
        Moreover while modern radars do use narrow beams and do supress sidelobes the sidelobes are still a thing and are the primary way radars are detected in the first place (including by things such as anti-radiation missiles).
        Then there is the whole stealth vs ECM resistance trade off.

        The problem with attack on the OTH radars such as Container is that those are deep in the Russian territory and are strategic EW assets as such if you want to keep the war limited and conventiona; those are not the targets you want to go after. Same goes for the spacecraft really, depending on the nuance of targetting.

        As to the UAVs I would suggesting looking at the ELINT mission Orlan-10s in the near seas zone and classical patrol UAVs such as Altius-M in the far seas zone.

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      • I like the Container comment. Striking deep into the Russian homeland against these types of targets is not consistent with the vision under NDS2018 direct defense strategy, which aims to keep the conflict localized to the conflict zone. Such a move would open up both sides to deep homeland strikes against strategic infrastructure.

        Keep the conversation going on LPI radar –

        In general I discourage everyone from couch wargaming, and focusing more on technology/possibilities not what each side would do – because there people begin to wander past their knowledge base very quickly, and it’s hard to participate in that conversation.

        Altius-M has been mentioned by some as a decent MPA replacement. Orlan is regularly tested by the Navy. Could just borrow the Leer-3 EW Orlan-10 and mod it for coastal units, will have to look at it some more.

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      • It is just the basic physics principles at work – when people discuss how pencil beams make detection impossible I ask them how ARMs work, because if we assume that the mainlobe is what we are looking for then ARMs would be hardly viable due to the mainlobe constantly moving and so on.

        But I agree – this is not the right place for technofetishism.

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  4. It won’t let me reply to the deep nested comment(thanks wordpress)

    1. Your alternative are essentially only visual or using OTHR. So simply managing EMCON places huge problems on locating targets precisely.
    OHTR resolution of mobile systems at even 100 kilometers are marginally poor(A few papers done using USNs ROTHR align themselves with this).
    Visual range confirmation(via EOIR or just looking for them) is inherently poor range within the atmosphere) and OTHR has it’s obvious set of issues.

    2. SM-2 IIIB(the new baseline standard variant now) has a range in the 140km or greater vs. maneuvering targets. SM-6 has something well north of the 300km or greater mark
    (based on tertiary analysis and comments from the 2015/2016 test sequences).

    3. F-35 is not an E-2D, I wasn’t positioning it as an AWACS replacement, but merely outlining that it exemplifies the use of CEC with alternatives to enable
    complex killchains against high value targets like MPAs/AWACS or ground targets by historically unconventional platforms. Investment in sensor netting to distributed
    expendable platforms for the U.S. sort of reinforces this as well.

    4. True, I guess we should have framed the original argument as whether we’re talking about a low-scale war or not. Though I would be remiss to say that
    exchange of fires between CSG/SAG or basically any American naval asset and some Russian system like this is far beyond the point where we can really scale
    these exchanges correctly. This is why this sort of wargaming is particularly problematic, I agree.

    From the particular standpoint yeah, we can probably exclude attacks on Container or PION/LOTOS/etc but we can probably say that systems like Podsulnukh-E are
    pretty attractive targets, though systems like Container will have poorer ability to enable reliable targeting compared to close range systems like Monolit-B
    or Podsulnukh-E.

    5. Agreed. Didn’t mean to discount this in any capacity, but scaled for today.

    6. Where is V4-associate systems being deployed on ships? I wasn’t aware of 9M82MD making it to ships specifically. I was aware of its existence but I do doubt the veracity of some
    of the range claims, for obvious reasons.

    7. I mean for now you’re seeing LRASM being procured for airborne usage(F/A-18E, B-52, B-1B), Block Va/Vb Tomahawks(MST) and NSM(LCS, FFG(x), F-35). There are unnamed procurements,
    the obvious being some mythical new subsurface AShM, and potentially some evolution of LRASM for VLS launch.

    But what I meant was the fact that the Russians surface fleet doesn’t have the type of tied-tied in capabilities that Aegis(and SSDS) has been given over the last 20 years with sensor netting,
    sensor fusion, data fusion and modelling, cots upgrades/software, new munitions and munition upgrades, all of the things basically to essentially every vessel.
    Additionaly I mean you yourself have talked specifically about the issues in coupling Russian APAR/Missiles on Gorshkov among other integration issues.

    Though given the position of the Russian Navy where they essentially don’t need to go far from shore and have coverage from Russian ground forces with S-300PMU3/S-300V3/V4.

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    • The idea with the V4 I think is that the S300V4 units are deployed in Navy’s basing regions meaning that they would provide coverage into the near-seas region from land, making it less than permissable for the ISR and other supporting aircraft to operate in.
      So while the S400’s 40N6 round is “ellisive” the capability to engage targets hundreds of km into sea already exists and should not be dismissed.

      For the OTH radar you can see the Russian literature (which is fairly close to the advertisement passports for export variants, ie here: http://bastion-opk.ru/zg-rls/ ) and while we do not yet have confirmation of it being used for OTH targetting like we have with Podsolnukh-E the numbers are good enough for providing target cues to Oniks and the like.

      For the distributed sensors – the same argument can be used for Russian maritime sensors, particularly in the near-seas region due to the UAV efforts amongst other things. Leer is a good example but up and comming Altius-M has the very same side looking AESAs you would expect on such aircraft.

      For RORSATs there are 3 current programs that I can think of – Pion-NKS, Kondor-FKA, Obsor-R. Kondor series spacecraft have been doing naval recon since their inception, this is why their designer/manufacturer shows USN ships on their web page.

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