The EUROHAWK UAS carriesspecialised EW fits to include SIGINTpayloads or defensive sensors,which can perform a SIGINT role.(Photo: Northrop Grumman)
provides comprehensive capabilities forCOMINT, ELINT, DF, emitter geo-location, and telecommunications inter-ception.However, ELINT operations undertak-en by airborne platforms also involveRadar Intelligence (RADINT), Measure-ment and Signature Intelligence(MASINT), and Telemetry Intelligence(TELINT). The latter includes quantitativeinformation, which is derived from theinterception and analysis of telemetrydata from foreign missile, space, andaerodynamic vehicles. For example, theUSAF's two RC-135S COBRA BALL air-craft were in use since Operation "DesertStorm"to provide MASINT, TELINT andSIGINT during missile firing events andas a theatre ballistic missile detection
The RC-135S monitors missile-associated signals and tracks missilesduring boost and re-entry phases to pro-vide reconnaissance for treaty verifica-tion and theatre ballistic missile prolifera-
China and Russiaare Listening
The US and a limited number of othernations are not alone in deploying SIG-INT-gathering assets. Although China'sprincipal ELINT capabilities are very lim-ited to undertake peacetime airborneELINT missions across the South ChinaSea in an attempt to assess transmis-sions from US warships and aircraft, itsprincipal airborne platform includes theY-8DZ SIGINT derivative of China's Y-8turboprop-powered transport aircraft.The concentration of US Navy andRoyal Navy carrier-borne combat aircraftover Iraq and Afghanistan highlighted theimportance of Russia's surveillance
ities on Socotra Island (South Yemen). Inaddition to the Tu-142M-Z BEAR
range ELINT aircraft and the Beriev A-50MAINSTAY surveillance aircraft operatedfrom various bases in Syria, SouthYemen, and Cuba, the Russian Navy operatesthe SRS-13 TANGAZH ELINT system installedaboard Su-24MP FENCER-F and Tu-22MRBACKFIRE aircraft, as well as the KVADRAT-2or ROMB ELINT equipment fitted to the II-20MCOOT-A (also known as the 11-18D36 BIZON).These platforms are employed to gain technicaland geo-location information from foreign radarstations, shipboard radars, IFF interrogators,cooperating ELINT units, and helicopter-basedradar surveillance and control systems.Additionally, the Russian VEGA 85V6-A ELINTsystem is being extensively used for the infor-mation support of major air defence, jamming.
Stefan Nitschi<:e is Corporate Editor of MönciiPubiishing Group.
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