F-22A Raptor, FB-22, F-22E, F-22N and Variants Index Page [Click for more ...] People's Liberation Army Air Power Index Page  [Click for more ...]
Military Ethics, Culture, Education and Training Index Page [Click for more ...]
Russian / Soviet Weapon Systems Index Page [Click for more ...]

Last Updated: Mon Jan 27 11:18:09 UTC 2014

NNIIRT 1L119 Nebo SVU / RLM-M Nebo M
Assessing Russia's First Mobile VHF AESAs

Technical Report APA-TR-2008-0402A
Annex A 55Zh6ME Nebo M Self Propelled Radar System Components

by Dr Carlo Kopp, AFAIAA, SMIEEE, PEng
Imagery Vitaliy V. Kuzmin; Enhancement C. Kopp
  3rd October, 2012

Text © 2008 - 2012 Carlo Kopp

Rendering of Almaz-Antey/NNIIRT 55Zh6ME Nebo ME deployed. The VHF-band component is at the right of the image, the S/C-band component is at the left of the image, the L-band component in the foreground, and the data fusion system, in the background. All components are carried on high mobility BZKT BAZ-6909 series vehicles. At least one hundred of these advanced systems will be acquired for the Russian Federation Air Defence Forces (NNIIRT image).

Technical Notes

The Almaz-Antey/NNIIRT 55Zh6ME Nebo ME was displayed publicly for the first time at the  Ramenskoye Air Base centenary open day and air show at Zhukovskiy, near Moscow, August 10 to 12th, 2012. Of the four components comprising the Nebo M multiband radar system, only the S/C-Band RLM-S component was not displayed. Russia media reports suggest that the development of the RLM-S has been delayed, although the system was listed on the placard at the Ramenskoye display as a Nebo M component.

Captured high resolution imagery of the remaining components did not reveal any significant departures from the previously disclosed Powerpoint briefing slides, prototype imagery, or the most recent Almaz-Antey promotional illustration. The imagery was shot by Vitaliy V. Kuzmin using a Canon EOS 5D Mark II 21 Megapixel DSLR with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS zoom lens, and is employed in this report with permission.

All radar components are carried on variants of the 8 x 8 all terrain BZKT BAZ-6909-015 24-tonne chassis.

What the display did validate was the inclusion of the NK Orientir precision positioning system on all radar components. Unlike the  NK Orientir installations employed on  S-300PMU2 TELs, the Nebo M installation has the characteristic L-Band antenna package at the top of the Nebo M component antennas. Rather than determining the position and angular orientation of the vehicle, the Nebo M arrangement determines same for the antenna phase centre, which is offset a fixed distance below the NK Orientir antenna package.

The NK Orientir precision navigation system was developed by a consortium comprising NVP Protek, NII Radiotekhniki KGTU, NPP Radiosvyaz and FGUP TsNII Elektropribor. This design employs a FOG inertial reference with corrections provided by a GPS and Glonass satnav receivers, LORAN-C and Chaika  radio navaids,  and an odometer. The system is also equipped with a moving map display and is claimed to provide a geolocation accuracy of 15 metres, and angular positioning accuracy of 6 minutes of arc, for “hide, shoot and scoot” operations. Given the likelihood of carrier phase measurements being used, the actual relative positioning and angular accuracy could be considerably better.

The untidy ad hoc cabling for the NK Orientir system suggests the displayed systems were prototypes or preproduction systems employed for integration testing of NK Orientir. A production installation would have cables properly protected by conduits, and robust weather protected enclosures for the electronics modules.

Another interesting observation is that 100 kiloWatt diesel generator powerplants are employed rather than the traditional gas turbine generator plant favoured in earlier Russian designs. This will improve on station persistence and reduce the thermal signature of the system.

All antenna components employ hydraulic stow/deploy and chassis levelling mechanisms for rapid “hide, shoot and scoot” operations. Cited stow and deploy times are 15 minutes, which is highly competitive, and consistent with a number of other recent designs.

An S-400 55K6E Command Post with deployed antenna mast, and installed Luch-M48 millimetre wave band narrow beam datalink. The latter is installed on a small bracket at the upper left of the equipment cabin, with a prominent white dielectric radome (image © Miroslav Gyűrösi).

What remains unstated at this time is the manner in which high speed data transfers will be performed between the four components of the Nebo M/ME system. Past Russian practice in Surface to Air Missile batteries has been to provide cabled connections between radars, TELs and command posts, for fixed site operations, and radio frequency datalinks for dispersed “hide, shoot and scoot” operations. A recent evolution has been the use of pencil beam microwave or millimetric wave datalinks to provide both covert high data rate operation, and very high jam resistance, good examples being the Luch-M48 millimetre wave band narrow beam datalinks employed in the 54K6E2 Command Post for the S-300PMU2 Favorit / SA-20B and 55K6E Command Post for the S-400 Triumf / SA-21.

Pencil beam datalink transceiver enclosures on the KU-RLK Command Post vehicle. Each of these provides a secure link to a radar head vehicle, both of which are equipped with a single example of the same device. The most likely candidate is the Luch M48 MMW link, common to the 54K6E2/55K6E SAM battery command posts.

The displayed systems are equipped with box shaped enclosures mounted on the cabin roofs of the BAZ-6909-015 host vehicles, these appear almost identical to the Luch-M48 transceiver enclosure on the Almaz-Antey 54K6E2/55K6E CP vehicles. All of these enclosures lack the circular antenna radome seen with the Luch-M48, a slot shaped hole observable in that location, but all are mounted on turntables with yokes, permitting the enclosure to be physically pointed in elevation and azimuth. The knobs on the mounting suggest manual aiming in elevation and azimuth. Not unlike the NK Orientir installation, the cabling and support frame appear to be an ad hoc installation, consistent with a prototype.

Until definitive disclosures are made by the Russian MoD or manufacturers, the specific datalink will remain uncertain. At this time it is a reasonable speculation that the Luch M48 or a closely related MMW design will be used, providing a secure and highly jam resistant interconnection with high data rate between the Nebo M components.

The extant installation may only be intended for validation and integration purposes. It is not optimally placed for range or terrain clearance. An optimal installation for a “hide, shoot and scoot” operational regime would see the KU-RLK Command Post datalink antennas placed on an elevating mast, with a servo driven mounting to permit automated aiming and link capture, using geolocation data transmitted over an omnidirectional radio channel for coarse antenna aiming. Optimal placement for the radar components would be at the top of the radar antennas, on a space stabilised platform. Until a production datalink installation is observed, uncertainty will remain in this area.

NK Orientir antenna package on the Nebo M / RLM-D component.

55Zh6ME Nebo M KU-RLK Command Post

Recent Russian disclosures suggest that the steerable antenna on the KU-RLK command post is a planar array IFF interrogator antenna. The design employed is similar to extant IFF antennas employed on a range of radars. The turntable mounting the antenna is offset to the right hand side of the vehicle, with the antenna mast folding face down, and a sheetmetal cover is then stowed to cover the antenna. Why the IFF function was not embedded in the RLM-D radar component is not stated.

The cabin on this vehicle houses the operator consoles, and the computer equipment employed for track fusion in a manner similar to the US Navy USG-3 CEC (Cooperative Engagement Capability) system.

55Zh6ME Nebo M RLM-ME VHF-Band Radar System

The RLM-ME system component appears largely identical to prototype hardware shown in poor quality imagery released some years ago, with 24 x 7 3/8 λ dipole short Yagi elements, common also to the earlier 1L119 Nebo SVU demonstrators. The box shaped enclosures for the TR-modules seen on the Nebo SVU are absent, these appear to now be embedded within the vertical support beams.

The backlobe nulling elements mounted on the rear face of the Nebo SVU and 55Zh6E Nebo series are absent on the displayed vehicles, as is any evidence of mounting points for same.

The compact cabin at the base of the folding antenna mast houses the phase or delay control hardware for beamsteering, exciters, and receiver IF stages and demodulators - this is a departure from the Nebo SVU where many of these components were located in enclosures embedded in the mast. Coaxial cables from the elements to the central enclosure are discernable on the horizontal antenna beams.

55Zh6ME Nebo M RLM-DE L-Band Radar System

The Nebo M RLM-DE L-Band component is also largely consistent with earlier disclosures, although this is the first image showing the antenna frame fully populated with TR-modules and radiating elements. The general arrangement is similar to the Thales Groundmaster GM-400 series and Gamma S1E AESA designs, with TR-module enclosures mounted on the rear face of the antenna frame.

Radiating elements are arranged in quad blocks, with four dipoles per block. There are 38 columns and 48 rows of elements, for a total of 1824 elements, with a 4:5 aspect ratio slightly favouring heightfinding performance. This number of elements would allow for very low sidelobe performance should a suitable taper function be employed.

The antenna folds in a manner similar to the 64N6E PESA, with outer segments hinged along vertical lines, the whole assembly stowing horizontally under a pair of clamshell doors.

Technical Report APA-TR-2008-0402

People's Liberation Army Air Power Index Page [Click for more ...]
Military Ethics, Culture, Education and Training Index Page [Click for more ...]
Russian / Soviet Weapon Systems Index Page [Click for more ...]

Artwork, graphic design, layout and text © 2004 - 2014 Carlo Kopp; Text © 2004 - 2014 Peter Goon; All rights reserved. Recommended browsers. Contact webmaster. Site navigation hints. Current hot topics.

Site Update Status: $Revision: 1.753 $ Site History: Notices and Updates / NLA Pandora Archive