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Kolchuga passive sensor
The Kolchuga passive sensor is an ESM system developed in Ukraine. Its detection range is limited by line-of-sight but may be up to 800 km (500 miles) for very high altitude, very powerful emitters. Frequently referred to as Kolchuga Radar, the system is not really a radar, but an ESM system comprising three or four receivers, deployed tens of kilometres apart, which detect and track aircraft by triangulation and multilateration of their RF emissions.
Additional recommended knowledge
This was developed by the Special Radio Device Design Bureau public holding, the Topaz holding, the Donetsk National Technical University, the Ukrspetsexport state company, and the Investment and Technologies Company. It took them eight years (1993 - 2000) to conduct research, develop algorithms, test solutions on experimental specimens, and launch serial production. The new product dramatically changed the balance in the constant competition between offensive and defensive means. The relatively cheap Ukrainian Kolchuga radar station is able to detect and identify practically all known active radio devices mounted on ground, airborne, or marine objects.
Mode of operation
Kolchuga is an electronic support measures system that employs two or more sites to locate emitters by triangulation. The system is vehicle mounted and comprises a large vertical meshed reflector, with two smaller circular parabolic dishes beneath and a pair of VHF-to-microwave log periodic antennas above. The dishes may exploit amplitude monopulse techniques for improved direction finding, whilst the angled spacing of the log-periodic antenna suggests that they may use phase interferometry to improve angle measurements. Various smaller antennas, presumably for inter-site communications are to the side and rear of the dish.
The detection range is one of the best in its class, but it is highly dependent on the emitted power of the transmitter being tracked, and requires satisfaction of the line of sight condition to at least two receiving sites for triangulation (compared with three sites for a multilateration system such as the VERA passive sensor). A Kolchuga complex can detect and locate air and surface targets and trace their movement to a range generally limited only by the common line-of-sight of the stations. Assuming no terrain masking, the line-of-sight range of a single Kolchuga station (in km) is approximately (Skolnik 1981):
where hr(km) is the height of the radar in km, and ht(km) is the height of the target in kilometres, and assuming standard atmospheric radio refraction. Thus, for a Kolchuga at 100 m altitude (above local terrain) and a target at 10 km (30 kft), the range of the system would be approximately 450 km. For targets at altitudes of 20 km (60 kft) the line of sight limitation would be 620 km—but few targets fly at such altitudes. However, being line-of-sight limited, the system is an effective early warning air defense system.
According to the manufacturer's brochure (from AIDEX 1997), the upgraded Kolchuga-M is equipped [corrected for English grammatical mistakes]:
The brochure also claims that the system provides [corrected for English grammatical mistakes]:
Special inhibitory sorters omit up to 24 interfering signals, and tracking sorters make it possible to synchronously sort out and track signals from 32 targets;
Kolchuga is able to detect and identify many types of radio devices mounted on ground, airborne, or marine objects. Target detection relies only on an emitter having sufficient power and being within Kolchuga's frequency range. Target identification, however, is more complex and is based on the measurement of different parameters of the transmitted signal—such as its frequency, bandwidth, pulse width, pulse repetition interval, etc. Kolchuga has been reported to use around forty different parameters when identifying a target. These parameters are compared to a database in order to identify both the type of emitter and, in some cases, even the specific piece of equipment (by identifying the unique signature or "fingerprint" that most transmitters have, due to the variations and tolerances in individual components). The database within Kolchuga is said to have the capacity to store around three hundred different types of emitter and up to five hundred specific signatures for each type.
In 2002 the U.S. State Department accused Ukraine of selling Kolchuga to Iraq, based on recordings of the then Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma supposedly made by Mykola Mel'nychenko. This was followed by political steps from United Kingdom and the United States. No material confirmation has been found in Iraq. See Cassette Scandal for further information.
It has been exported to Russia where additional development has been performed and the system is marketed in conjunction with the new S-400 surface to air missile (SAM) system. 
Unconfirmed reports in September 2006 suggested a sale was made to Iran  although this was denied by the Ukrainian government .
Rumours and speculation of performance
Since becoming publicly known following the Cassette Scandal, the capabilities of Kolchuga have been the source of many rumours and uninformed speculation in forums such as . Many observers have a tendency to credit it with magical powers of detection. Many of these do not stand up to detailed engineering analysis, or have not been confirmed, but are recorded in this section for completeness, together with reasons for doubting the claim. Note that the material in this section should not be regarded as accurate. Claims include:
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Kolchuga_passive_sensor". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|