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Russia Claims It Has a Radar That Can Track 300 Air or Surface Targets

Russian Podsolnukh-E
A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II takes off during Exercise Agile Lightning at the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, Southwest Asia, Aug. 6, 2019. The F-35A flew in from Al Dhafra Air Base, United Arab Emirates. The exercise demonstrated the adaptive basing methodology where personnel and aircraft can operate in austere environments to complete essential missions vital to the defense of U.S. assets and personnel and to project air power. (U.S. Air Force photo by AFCENT PA/Courtesy Photo)

The Russian Podsolnukh-E over-the-horizon surface wave radar was designed for all-weather detecting of surface crafts and air targets. It is able to provide continuous round-the-clock observation of ocean areas as well as the air space above via over-the-horizon and in a direct visibility mode.

What is unique about this platform is that it combines over-the-horizon (OTHR), which utilizes the ionosphere to reflect a radiated signal, with Surface Wave Radar (SW) that relies on ground wave or surface wave propagation of the radio signal.

This week Russia announced that the upgrade Podsolnukh-E station could possess even more unique properties compared and is capable of simultaneously tracking more than 300 surface and air targets on an area of about 150,000 sq. km.

“The Podsolnukh can simultaneously identify over 200 surface targets,” Mikhail Skolotnev, the Podsolnukh-E chief designer at the Research Institute of Long-Range Radio Communications, told Tass on Friday.

“It can concurrently identify more than 100 air targets. Moreover, it provides complete data on each target from the time of its detection to the time of its exit from the sector,” the chief designer explained to the Russian media outlet while attending the International Maritime Defense Show in St. Petersburg.

Skolotnev also stated that the Russian Podsolnukh-E radar offers major advantages compared to foreign surface wave radar stations. In particular, he said, the Stradivarius radar developed by France and Israel is currently unable to simultaneously detect aircraft and a large number of surface targets. Moreover, the Podsolnukh features combined receiver and transmitter positions while the Stradivarius has its receiver and transmitter sites located at a distance of 200 km.

The Russian built system is further able to detect sea surface and air objects at distances as great as 450 kilometers at different altitudes in the line of sight, and even over the horizon. The Podsolnukh-E can further detect surface and aerial targets that are not within line-of-sight range by means of beyond-the-horizon surveillance.

It also doesn’t require that human operators continually monitor a radar screen. The station can simultaneously detect, track and classify up top 300 sea and 100 aerial targets in an automatic mode. It can determine the position of those targets and then provide target indications directly to weapon systems located on ships and air defense means.

“Today there is no other radar, except for the Podsolnukh, that can simultaneously detect surface and air targets on an area of 150,00 sq. km of the 200-mile exclusive economic zone round the clock and in any climatic conditions,” Skolotnev stressed.

Over the past decade, Russia has made it clear that it has intended to build six of the Podsolnukh (Sunflower) systems for deployment in the Arctic. It is likely that this would include the deployment of the radar platform to its Nagurskoye airbase, which is located on the Franz Josef Land archipelago about 600 miles south of the geographic North Pole.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.