Interlinked System for Recognizing Enemies [SOUD] / Sisteme Objedinennovo Utschotya Dannych o Protivniki

The intelligence agencies of the Warsaw Pact countries formed a single system which operated under the name Interlinked System for Recognizing Enemies [SOUD]. SOUD was an organization that provided databases which were accessible by member agencies, and operated radio communications channels to support this access. The members of SOUD were the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Mongolia, Poland and Vietnam. Founded in 1977, SOUD became fully operational in 1979. The initial rationale for the foundation of SOUD was the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. The initial task for SOUD was to gather and store information about potential foreign hostile forces that might create problems for the USSR during the Olympics. SOUD gathered information on everyone and everything - including their own and foreign embassy personnel. SOUD databanks included files on agents, hostile organizations, journalists, diplomats, cultural and commercial attaches, representatives of airlines, and just about anyone or anything else that potentially qualified as a threat to the Soviet system.

The SOUD headquarters was in Moscow, with a master radio transmission station just outside Moscow. SOUD units were based either on the premises of Russian embassies and/or in separate installations. The organization's central computer was located in Moscow, and queries from members were said to be handled in less than 4 hours time. Another main computer center was in East Germany, and a major radio transmission facility was located in Cuba. Part of the message traffic carried on SOUD transmission channels consisted of intelligence and military related material, but most of the traffic was and is standard Russian embassy traffic. After East and West Germany reunited, the SOUD node and the Stasi archives were soon in the hands of the BND, the West German intelligence agency. SOUD remained operational for a few years as a Russian enterprise, possibly with the participation of a few states such as Vietnam and Cuba. As of 1996 the SOUD liaison network was certainly a thing of the past, although the communications infrastructure continued to be utilized by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the SVR, transmitted by FAPSI. The Federal Security Service (FSB) is organizing the creation of a joint CIS data bank on organized crime. The system comprises two units. One is open information accessible to all interested CIS special services. The second unit contains is operational information, where the CIS special service that provides the data can impose restrictions on its dissemination to third parties. The joint data bank is being constructed using imported information system. The information includes that related to combating organized crime, drug trafficking, arms smuggling, and nonproliferation of nuclear components. In certain situations the FSB will make such data available to all interested agencies, including special services in the West and NATO countries

Human Intelligence Programs and Activities

Both the GRU, and the SVR as the successor to the KGB, conduct HUMINT operations that target the United States. The most recent example of a HUMINT operation conducted by Russia is the case of Aldrich Ames. Ames was a Central Intelligence Agency employee in the Directorate of Operations. In his work with the Directorate of Operations, Ames was able to obtain information pertaining to ongoing operations targeting the former Soviet Union and later Russia. Ames volunteered to work for the KGB in April 1985 as a walk-in to the Soviet Embassy in Washington and continued to work for the SVR after the fall of the Soviet Union. His espionage activities continued until his arrest on the morning of February 21, 1994. Upon his arrest, it was determined that Ames had been paid at least $2.5 million for his services and that he had compromised, by his own admission, "virtually all Soviet agents of the CIA and other American and foreign services known to me." In addition, he stated that he provided the former Soviet Union and Russia with a huge quantity of information on U.S. foreign, defence, and security policies. It is very likely that the Russians will continue to place a significant emphasis on the development of HUMINT sources because of the quality of information they have received in the past. Since the August 1991 coup, the number of HUMINT operations conducted by the SVR and KGB that target the United States and the West have risen rather than fallen. In March 1993, the FBI and German counterintelligence authorities reported that SVR/GRU activities in their respective countries had grown by over 12 percent from pre-coup levels. This is due to a number of factors. First, as a result of arms control treaties, joint business opportunities, and numerous cultural and economic exchanges, the Russian intelligence services now have greater access to American society, government, and industry. Second, there has been a significant influx of Russian émigrés into the United States. The FBI estimates that over 105,000 Russians emigrated to the United States in the late 1980s. The Russians have traditionally used émigrés as a means to gather intelligence. Third, there has been a substantial influx of Russian students into the United States; many of these students are studying technical disciplines that are required by the Russians to improve both military and civil industries. Fourth, travel restrictions on Russian diplomatic and consular personnel in the United States have been lifted, making it easier to collect information on U.S. activities.

Defectors from the former Soviet and the Russian intelligence services have stated that industrial espionage activities will escalate in the years ahead. Russia requires advanced technology to bolster its economy and foster increased technological progress. Defectors have stated that the SVR will target the increasing number of joint U.S./Russian business ventures in an effort to legally obtain or steal desirable Western technologies. The Russians do not in many cases have the ability to pay for those items they need to improve economic growth so they are willing to steal them or obtain them through other illegitimate means. Additionally, the Russians still must contend with restrictions on certain technologies that they desire. Most of these technologies are dual use technologies that would play a significant role in the development of advanced weapons systems or improved Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) systems. In 1994, the United States denied a request by the Russian government to purchase advanced telecommunications systems from AT&T. The request was denied based on an assessment by the National Security Agency that the technology would be used in C3I systems. Based on past collection patterns, it should be assumed that the Russians are still targeting these technologies.Another likely trend is that, because of the reported reduction in the number of SVR intelligence officers, the Russians will place increasing emphasis on gaining information through technical intelligence disciplines, and open source analysis. Although the opportunity to collect HUMINT has expanded as a result of the relaxation of security standards in focused on Russia; the reduction in the number of SVR intelligence officers, the closing of diplomatic facilities throughout the world, and the loss of access to former Warsaw Pact intelligence services will lead to a overall reduction in intelligence acquired through HUMINT. HUMINT is likely to be more carefully targeted to gain information not readily available through technical intelligence collection or through open source exploitation. The Russians have always relied on open source information and will continue to obtain intelligence by analyzing public data in comparison with intelligence derived through classified sources. The Soviets used a variety of research and political institutes for the analysis of open source data. The majority of these institutes have been retained by the Russians and are likely performing the same roles as they did under the Soviet Union. The Russians will continue to use information gained through these research institutes and from the collection opportunities provided by joint trade, research, and educational activities.

Satellite Recon

The first Soviet reconnaissance satellite was launched in 1962. Over the next 30 years, the Soviets launched over 850 photoreconnaissance satellites. On average, the Soviets, and now the Russians, have been able to maintain 2 photoreconnaissance satellites in orbit each year with an average of 780 mission days per year. Russian imagery systems are assessed to be able to obtain resolutions of better than one-third of a meter. The Russians currently use three types of imagery satellites depending on the imagery requirement. The third-generation photoreconnaissance satellite is a medium resolution system (1.5 to 3 meters) that is used for wide area surveillance missions. The satellite flies in low earth orbits at altitudes ranging from 235 to 245 kilometres. It is designed for mission durations of 2 to 3 weeks, and requires that the satellite be deorbited for return of film canisters. During Operation Desert Storm, the former Soviet Union launched three of these spacecraft to fly repetitive ground tracks over the Persian Gulf region. The capability to quickly launch and recover these satellites allowed the Soviets to double their coverage of the area in response to the intelligence requirements of Soviet political and military leaders. The Russians appear to be phasing the third-generation satellite out of operation in favour of follow-on systems.

The fourth-generation photoreconnaissance satellite provides the Russians with increased operational capabilities. The spacecraft flies elliptical orbits at altitudes of 170 kilometres, which improves resolution. The principal improvements in the systems are the ability to return film canisters without deorbiting the spacecraft, and the extension of orbital lifetime. The productive lifetime of the fourth generation satellite now averages 60 days per mission. During the last 5 years, the Russians have launched 6 high resolution satellites, and 1 topographic mapper annually. During the Persian Gulf War the former Soviets launched 4 fourth-generation satellites in a period of less than 90 days, illustrating the ability of the Russians to surge reconnaissance systems in times of crisis or international tension. The ground track of these satellites was aligned with the Persian Gulf region to provide additional coverage during daylight hours. The fifth-generation satellite is an electrooptic imaging system that provides the Russians with near real-time imagery. The fifth-generation imagery satellite greatly improves the reconnaissance capabilities of the Russian Federation. It provides quicker return of intelligence data and ends the restrictions posed by the limited amount of film that can be carried by a photoreconnaissance satellite. In general, the fifth-generation satellite is used for global reconnaissance, and the third and fourth generation satellites are used for coverage of particularly sensitive areas.

Overall, the Russians have continued to maintain a robust space reconnaissance program, despite predictions that the program would wane after the demise of the Soviet Union. The Russians have been able to maintain a constellation of 160 satellites in orbit simultaneously, the same level as under the Soviet Union, despite a 35 percent reduction in launches. The one major problem faced by the Russians is the lack of an all weather/day/night imaging system. Both electro-optic and photographic systems require daylight and clear weather to be able to image an area. In the 1980s, the Soviet attempted to develop a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) system to provide all weather and night coverage. This program failed to develop a militarily acceptable product, and the resulting Almaz spacecraft was converted into a commercial mapping system. No comparable SAR system is currently known to be under development. The Russians have a number of programs that can provide MASINT data. The Russian Prognoz satellite has infrared detection capabilities similar to those provided by the U.S. Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite system. The Prognoz can be used to conduct a variety of missions in support of infrared intelligence (IRINT). Other MASINT-related systems include a wide variety of sophisticated radar systems that can be used for radar intelligence (RADINT), a well-developed acoustic intelligence (ACOUSTINT) program for antisubmarine warfare, and a highly developed nuclear intelligence (NUCINT) program that collects samples from nuclear testing. Russia continues to maintain one of the most sophisticated SIGINT programs in the world. The GRU's Sixth Directorate uses over 20 different types of aircraft, a fleet of 60 SIGINT collection vessels, satellites, and ground stations to collect signals intelligence. Together with FAPSI, the GRU operates SIG1NT collection facilities in over 60 diplomatically protected facilities throughout the world. These agencies also operate large ground collection facilities within the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States, at Cam Rank Bay, Vietnam, and at Lourdes, Cuba. These activities provide the Russians with worldwide SIGINT collection capabilities.

The SIGINT facility at Lourdes is among the most significant intelligence collection capabilities targeting the United States. This facility, less than 100 miles from Key West, is one of the largest and most sophisticated SIGINT collection facilities in the world. It is jointly operated by the GRU, FAPSI, and Cuba's intelligence services. The complex is manned by over 1,000 Russian personnel and is capable of monitoring a wide array of commercial and government communications throughout the southeastern United States, and between the United States and Europe. Lourdes intercepts transmissions from microwave towers in the United States, communication satellite downlinks, and a wide range of shortwave and high-frequency radio transmissions. It also serves as a mission ground station and analytical facility supporting Russian SIGINT satellites. The facility at Lourdes, together with a sister facility in Russia, allows the Russians to monitor all U. S. military and civilian geosynchronous communications satellites.[17] It has been alleged that the Lourdes facility monitors all White House communications activities, launch control communications and telemetry from NASA and Air Force facilities at Cape Canaveral, financial and commodity wire services, and military communications links. According to one source, Lourdes has a special collection and analysis facility that is responsible for targeting financial and political information. This activity is manned by specially selected personnel and appears to be highly successful in providing Russian leaders with political and economic intelligence.

The former Soviet Union also used a variety of other means to collect signals intelligence. The Soviets operated SIGINT collection sites in over 60 countries from diplomatically protected embassies, consulates, trade legations, and residences. It is possible that these activities are continuing in the United States. The location of a number of Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States would provide Russian SIGINT collectors with access to sensitive information. Russian collection activities could derive sensitive information on Government policies from monitoring Government activities in the Washington, DC area, and sensitive financial and trade information using Russian facilities located in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. The location of microwave towers and cellular communication repeaters in the vicinity of Russian diplomatic facilities in these cities increases the potential damage from collection activities. In the past, vans from the Soviet Mission to the United Nations were observed in the vicinity of the GE Americom satellite ground station in Vernon Valley, NJ, and vans from the San Francisco consulate were observed in the vicinity of AT&T microwave towers in Northern California. In both cases, the vans appeared to be conducting SIG1NT monitoring at these facilities.

The Russians have probably also continued the Soviet practice of using covert mobile collection platforms. During the Cold War, the Russians frequently used tractor-trailers, and other vehicles with concealed SIGINT collection equipment to gather intelligence in Western Europe. Western intelligence officials estimate that the Soviets conducted over 7,000 covert vehicular SIGINT operations in NATO countries annually. During these operations, the Soviets gathered electronic order of battle (EOB) data, monitored exercise communications, conducted direction finding operations, and calibrated Soviet SIGINT satellites to determine geolocation accuracies. The Soviets also allegedly used clandestine collection vans located in Mexico to monitor activities at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Vans operating from Tijuana, Mexico reportedly were able to monitor all of Southern California and Western Arizona. There have also been reports that Aeroflot aircraft and clandestine collection vehicles have been used to collect SIGINT data inside the continental United States.

The Russians also use satellites for collecting SIGINT. The first Soviet SIGINT satellite was the Cosmos 189 ELINT satellite, which was launched in 1967. Over the next 24 years, the Soviets placed over 200 SIGINT satellites into orbit. The Russians continue to maintain a robust presence in space. During 1994, the Russians conducted 48 spacecraft launches, 50 percent of which were military missions including advanced imagery systems, ocean reconnaissance, and electronic intelligence collection. In 1995, the Russians have programmed 45 space launches; again approximately 50 percent will be military missions. The GRU is tasked with operating Russian ELINT satellites. ELINT satellites use active and passive techniques to detect specific targets. They complement the data provided by imaging satellites and assist in developing a more complete picture of an adversary's forces or intentions. These satellites are designed to track and geolocate radio and radar emanations of ships at sea, mobile air defence radars, fixed strategic early warning radars, and other military emitters for the purpose of identification, location, and signals analysis. The data can then be used for targeting, offensive and defensive engagement planning, and countermeasure development. Collection activities are managed by the Cosmic Intelligence Directorate, and data analysis is performed by the Decrypting Service of the Sixth Directorate. Currently, there is no evidence of the existence of a Russian COMINT satellite, however, it is likely that the Russians could develop such a system if they wished. Between 1962 and 1994 the USSR/Russian Federation placed more than 800 photo reconnaissance spacecraft into Earth orbit on dedicated military missions (another 25 spacecraft were lost in launch failures). These missions have ranged in length from only a few days to more than 400 days, a record set by Kosmos 2267 in 1994. Only seven dedicated military photo recons were launched during each of 1993 and 1994. However, on average more than two spacecraft were operational during the entire period, and no observation gaps appeared (Figure 6.2). Declassified photographs with resolutions of 2-30 m can now be purchased commercially, while resolutions on the order of one-third meter have been acknowledged.

Since the first Soviet photo spacecraft was successfully orbited (Kosmos 4 in 1962), a variety of specialized spacecraft have been developed. Today, four basic classes of the 6-7 metric-ton photo recons are operational, and a possible new generation spacecraft began flight testing in the second half of 1994 (Figure 6.3). All such spacecraft are now launched by the Soyuz-U/U2 launch vehicle from either the Baikonur or Plesetsk Cosmodromes. Whereas most spacecraft physically return film to Earth for development and processing, some, longer duration spacecraft possess either digital transmission or dual transmission/capsule capabilities. Unlike many satellites designed to photograph the Earth, Russian photo recons fly in posigrade (normally 63 degree-83 degree) orbits rather than sun-synchronous trajectories. Consequently, when altitude restoration manoeuvres are made every 7-10 days, the satellite's argument of perigee is normally adjusted to keep perigee phased with acceptable lighting conditions. For example, during a typical 2-month mission, the argument of perigee will be rotated progressively from ascending passes (first month) to descending passes (second month). Fifth-generation satellites are an exception with arguments of perigee normally maintained between 80 degrees and 110 degrees. In 1963-1964 the Soviet Troops of Defence (PVO) established two new commands: PRO and PKO. PRO, meaning antimissile defence, was charged with detecting, intercepting, and destroying enemy ballistic rockets, while the PKO, meaning anti-space defence, was responsible for "destroying the enemy's cosmic means of fighting". In 1992 the USSR Space Units which include PRO and PKO were essentially transferred to the CIS United Armed Forces. However, on 7 May 1992 the armed forces of the Russian Federation were established with specific air and space defence missions.

To implement a space control regime and to fulfil its space defence obligation, the PKO began developing ASAT capabilities. Today, the Russian Federation is commonly believed to have acquired four basic ASAT systems with varying degrees of effectiveness. However the operational status of these systems is a topic of considerable debate. The Russian Federation is the only member of the European space community known to operate ELINT satellite systems. Since 1967 approximately 200 spacecraft have been orbited by the former Soviet Union/Russian Federation for dedicated ELINT missions. Additional spacecraft may have carried ELINT packages as secondary payloads. During 1993-1994, a total of 11 Russian ELINT spacecraft, representing three classes of vehicles, were launched, although one satellite failed to reach orbit due to a booster malfunction. At the beginning of 1995 the integrated Russian ELINT constellation consisted of 11 primary spacecraft. Two of the three ELINT networks established and maintained by the USSR/CIS are believed to be global in nature, i.e., they are designed to detect land-based as well as sea. based electronic signals. The principal mode of operations is for each satellite to record the type of signal received and to determine the direction of the transmitter from the satellite's position. These data are then stored and forwarded to special receiving stations or are relayed in near realtime via data relay satellites. Analysts on the ground can then combine the data from seven satellites to pinpoint the location of the receiver and to determine the type of the emitter. For mobile targets, the frequency of ELINT overflights is crucial to maintaining an accurate knowledge of the target's position. Historically, ELINT systems have played a major role in Soviet military doctrine. With the dramatic increase of radio and radar emitters on the battlefield during the past 30 years, the value of ELINT satellites has also risen. In the former Soviet Union, the Chief Intelligence Directorate of the Soviet General Staff (GRU) was tasked with the primary responsibility for global ELINT satellite systems. Collection activities were managed by the Satellite Intelligence Directorate, while the data analysis function was performed by the Decrypting Service.

At the end of 1994 the Russian global ELINT satellite capability was distributed between a second-generation, store/dump system nearing the end of a long (15 year) service record and a more advanced model which will probably remain the principal intelligence gathering system for the remainder of this decade. The former has apparently been reduced to a constellation of three or less spacecraft, known as Tselina D, placed in orbital planes 30 degrees apart at altitudes of 635-665 km, while the latter is now represented by four spacecraft, known as Tslenia 2, in orbital planes 40 degrees apart at altitudes of 850 kms. For more than 30 years (1962-1994) the USSR/CIS orbited on average five spacecraft per year believed to be associated with the support of national security systems. However, since 1991 these activities have markedly decreased with only one such mission in each of 1993 and 1994. Moreover, unique orbital operations associated with some of these spacecraft have essentially ceased. Through the years a wide variety of passive and active spacecraft have been launched in this program by Kosmos-2, Kosmos-3M, Tsyklon-3, and Zenit-2 launch vehicles. In general, satellites are inserted into low, nearly circular orbits (350-550 km) or into moderately eccentric orbits between 200 km and 2,600 km. The primary inclinations used have been 50.7 degrees, 65.8 degrees, 74 degrees and 82.9 degrees. The first inclination has not been used since 1987 when the last space mission was flown from the Kapustin Yar Cosmodrome. Specific techniques and orbital profiles have evolved, but minor military satellites have fallen into two basic categories: those which release multiple objects during their missions and those which do not. The former class of satellites have been linked to the calibration and testing of USSR/CIS radars, in particular ABM radars, while the latter group probably perform a variety of functions, including atmospheric density investigations.

The two missions launched in 1993-1994 for the Russian Military Space Forces were simple, 2-m-diameter spheres inserted into moderately elliptical orbits by Kosmos-3M boosters from Plesetsk. Kosmos 2265, launched in October, 1993, into an orbit of 291 km by 1573 km, was reportedly a Yug spacecraft with no exterior coverings or appendages, ideal for uniform optical and radar reflections. Kosmos 2292, launched in September, 1994, into an orbit of 400 km by 1,954 km, appears to have been a Vektor-class spacecraft. Although similar in size and shape to the Yug, Vektor satellites are covered with solar cells and carry four deployable antennas. Seven spacecraft launched since 1974 (beginning with Kosmos 660) belong to the Kosmos 2292 class, and all are still in orbit. A total of 20 spacecraft with sub-satellite release capabilities, designated Romb, were orbited during 1980-1990 with demonstrated capacities of 8-37 sub-satellites. These spacecraft normally begin life in nearly circular orbits of approximately 500 km altitude. The ejection events may occur at anytime and may involve only a few or many objects, although almost always in even numbers. For example, Kosmos 2053 was launched on 27 December 1989 and by the end of 1992 had released a total of 37 objects during nine operations spanning 18 months. The smallest number released at one time was two and the largest number was eight. In contrast, Kosmos 1494 waited five months before ejecting its full complement of 25 subsatellites in a week's time. Many of the sub-satellites appear to be ejected in opposite pairs from the parent satellite. In many cases the release of a batch of new sub-satellites with diameter of 30 cm is closely tied to the decay of an earlier set While a link between the sub-satellites and testing ABM radars dates back to at least 1981, an analysis by G. E. Perry of the Kettering Group strongly suggests that this is still a principal objective. His work showed a close correlation between ejection events and immediate passes over the Moscow area. During 1993-1994 only one ejection event involving a single sub-satellite from Kosmos 2106 (launched in 1990) was detected, occurring in early February 1993.

SSV-33 Project 1941

The SSV-33 was the sole Project 1941 "Titan" 'KAPUSTA' class command ship. This 36,000 ton nuclear-powered command ship, built on the hull of a Kirov class cruiser, served the combined roles of fleet flagship, space tracking ship, missile tracking ship, electronic intelligence ship, and communications relay ship. Designated a Sudno Suyazyy ["communications vessel"], the NATO designator 'KAPUSTA' means 'cabbage', in reference to the large dome on the forward superstructure. The vessel is laid up in the Pacific fleet because of high operating costs.

SSV Bal'zam

The 4,900 ton Project 1826 'BAL'ZAM' (Aziya) class SSV [Sudno Svyazyy = Communications Vessel] were the first custom-designed electronic surveillance ships. Previous ships used for this mission were converted large "factory" trawlers. During the Cold War a variety of small types of trawlers were converted to SSV [Sudno Svyazyy = Communications Vessel] electronic surveillance ships

Surveillance Planes


Country of Origin. CIS (formerly USSR).
Similar Aircraft. C-130 Hercules, C-160 Transall, G.222.
Crew. Six.
Role. Medium-cargo/transport (100 equipped troops, vehicles, and weapons), ECM, ELINT.
Armament. Twin 23-mm cannons in tail.
Dimensions. Length: 121 ft, 4 in (37 m). Span: 124 ft, 8 in (38 m). Wings. High-mounted with drooping outer wing panels, back-tapered leading edges, straight trailing edges, and blunt tips.
Engine(s). Four turboprop engines mounted under the wings’ leading edges.
Fuselage. Round, slender body with stepped cockpit and glassed-in nose. Landing gear pods bulge at lower body midsection. Upswept rear section.
Tail. Flats are unequally tapered with blunt tips and mounted high on the fuselage. Fin is tapered with a blunt tip and a step in the leading edge. Two 23-mm guns in tail turret. 

USER COUNTRIES: Angola, Afghanistan, Bulgaria, CIS, Czech Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, People’s Republic of China (Y-12), Poland, Slovakia, South Yemen, Sri Lanka, Syria (Y-12), Yugoslavia



The Il-20 is a military version of the Il-18 passenger airplane, with electronic equipment and an array of external antennae. It is still used by the Russian Air Force as flying command post. This version is sometimes unofficially referred to as Il-20 or Coot-A in NATO code. A maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft, the Il-38, was also developed from the Il-18.

Country of Origin. CIS (formerly USSR).
Similar Aircraft. P-3C Orion, An-24 Coke, An-12 Cub.
Crew. Five.
Role. Electronics surveillance.
Armament. None.
Dimensions. Length: 117 ft, 9 in (35.9 m). Span: 122 ft, 7 in (37.4 m).

Wings. Low-mounted and unequally tapered with blunt tips and positive slant.
Engine(s). Four turboprops mounted in the wings and extending forward of the wings.
Fuselage. Round, cigar-shaped tapered at the rear and a rounded nose. Stepped-up cockpit. Bulges on sides of fuselage aft of the cockpit. Pod carried on the fuselage bottom is a SLAR.
Tail. Back-tapered fin with square tip. Equally tapered flats, mid-mounted on the fuselage.

USER COUNTRIES: Afghanistan (Il-18), CIS.



The FOXBAT A aircraft, originally designed to counter high-altitude threats, has been deployed in a high-altitude reconnaissance variant. This MiG-25RB variant can be fitted with reconnaissance/elint packs or airborne side-looking radar. In October of 1971 two MiG-25s made reconnaissance flights over Sinai and Israel. On both occasions Israeli F-4E Phantoms failed in attempted intercepts

Country of Origin. CIS (formerly USSR).
Similar Aircraft. F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, MiG-31 Foxhound.
Crew. One.
Role. Intercepter, reconnaissance.
Armament. Air-to-air missiles.
Dimensions. Length: 70 ft (21.34 m). Span: 41 ft (12.6 m).

Wings. High-mounted, swept-back, and tapered with square tips.
Engine(s). Two turbojets. Large rectangular air intakes below the canopy and forward of the wing roots. Dual exhaust.
Fuselage. Long and slender with solid, pointed nose. Box-like from the air intakes to rear section. Bubble canopy.
Tail. Twin, sweptback, and tapered fins with angular tips. Flats mid- to low-mounted on fuselage, swept-back, and tapered with angular tips.

USER COUNTRIES: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, CIS, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine


M-17 "Mystic"

The Myasishchev M-17 "Mystic" (Ram-M) high-altitude aircraft is the Soviet equivalent of the U-2. This twin-boomed aircraft with a high aspect ratio wing was initially developed to shoot down US reconnaissance balloons drifting over the USSR in the mid-1950s. Subsequently it was modified as single-seat reconnaissance and research aircraft. The first two prototypes (Mystic-A) had a single turbojet engine, and were used for aerodynamic and atmospheric research. The subsequent M-55 (Mystic-B), also designated M-17R, was a twin-jet version built by the Molniya Scientific and Industrial Enterprise (which absorbed the Myasishchev Bureau). Cameras and other sensors are housed in a large compartment in the lower fuselage

Country of Origin Russia 

Builder Myasishchev / Molniya 

span 122 ft 11 in length 75 ft height 15 ft 5 in. 

engine RKBM Rybinsk RD-36-51V turbojet, 15,430 lb thrust 

max speed 435-466 mph at height 

ceiling 65,600 ft 

landing run 5,745 ft 

endurance 4 hours at 65,500 ft. 5 hours at 55,775 ft. 6 hours 30 min - maximum


Yak-25RV Mandrake

Yak-25RV Mandrake is aingle-seat high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft generally comparable to the American RB-57D. This derivative of the basic Yak-25 design replaces the swept wing with a high aspect ratio straight wing. A total of 165 were built, including two unmanned versions

Country of Origin Russia 

Builder Yakovlev 

First Flight 1959 

crew 1 

span 23.4 meters length height 

weight 9,000 kg 

engine Two R-11B-300 

max speed 870 km/h 

ceiling 21,000 meters 

landing run range 3,900km


Yak-27R Mangrove

The Yak-27V Flashlight was an high-altitude fighter, equipped with an additional rocket engine, which did not enter operational service. The 'Mangrove' Yak-27R reconnaissance aircraft was more successful, with about 180 built.

Country of Origin Russia

Builder Yakovlev

First Flight 1958

crew 2

weight 11,700 kg

engine Two RD-9F

max speed 1,285 km/h

ceiling 16,500 meters



The Reys (voyage) was developed by the Tupolev design bureau in the 1970s. The DR-3 is very similar to the DR-5.

Country of Origin. CIS.
Similar Aerial Platform. DR-5, Banshee, Crecerelle.
Role. Tactical reconnaissance UAV.
Armament. None.
Dimensions. Length: 23 ft (7.3 m). Span: 9 ft 10 in (3 m).

Wings. Low-mounted and delta-shaped with square tips. Small, swept-back canards.
Engine(s). Large, jet on top rear of fuselage. Large air intake.
Fuselage. Long, slender, tapers to the front, blunt rear. Pitot tube.
Tail. Short, swept-back fin on top of engine. Tail cone.




Shmel-1 was designed for day and night surveillance and monitoring operations. This system has been exported to other countries under the name of Malakhit.

Country of Origin. CIS.
Similar Aerial Platform. None.
Role. Remote terrain observation.
Armament. None.
Dimensions. Length: 9 ft, 1 in (2.78 m). Span: 10 ft, 6 in (3.25 m).

Wings. High-mounted and straight with blunt, negative slanted tips.
Engine(s). Prop-engine and has a round enclosure at the rear in the opposing position.
Fuselage. Rounded, bullet nose. Pads on feet of four curved legs for landing.
Tail. Three swept-back stabilizers on rear of craft forming the engine housing.



In Russia, in Khabarovsk Kray, the Defence Ministry HF/DF CDA facility code-named "Krug" has an antenna one whole kilometre in diameter.

Early Warning Systems

The Soviet early warning satellite program did not officially begin until the early 1970's under the leadership of Academician Anatoli Savin (now the General Designer and General Director of the Kometa Central Scientific Production Association). The Scientific Supervisor of the project was M. M. Miroshnikov of the Vavilov State Optics Institute, which led to the program sometimes being referred to as Project M (for Miroshnikov). Without extensive Earth observational data in the portions of the electromagnetic spectrum of interest, Soviet designers selected for evaluation three basic types of sensors which might be capable of detecting and tracking a ballistic missile during powered flight. Vidicon tubes sensitive to the near infrared and the ultraviolet were tested for the first-generation system, and infrared solid-state detectors with a mechanical scanner were viewed as a logical improvement for a second-generation spacecraft. An inability to detect missile engine plumes against the natural background of the Earth led to a decision which directly affected the design of the satellite and the orbital characteristics of the subsequent constellation. Sensors would be positioned to concentrate surveillance on a region just above the Earth's limb in the vicinity of anticipated ballistic missile launches, i.e., American and Chinese ICBM silos. This requirement in turn made highly elliptical, inclined orbits (of the Molniya class) more attractive than geostationary orbits, which the USSR had yet to exploit.