It appears that stealth aircraft, one of the most potent tools in the NATO countries’ arsenal, may become not-so-potent in the near future as a new radar system developed by Russia’s Almaz-Antey JSC – the same company that manufactures Tor-M1 and S-400 air defence systems – could turn out to be quite good at detecting these planes.
According to National Interest, the system in question, Struna-1, is a bistatic radar, i.e. its transmitter and receiver are positioned in different locations, unlike those of a conventional radar, which helps it to counter the methods used by stealth aircraft to mitigate radar returns, “effectively acting as a radar tripwire”.
The system’s setup also helps increase the target’s effective radar cross section and ignores anti-radar coatings, being able to detect not just stealth aircraft but objects like hand gliders and cruise missiles.
The new radar’s setup can incorporate up to 10 mobile receiver/transmitter tower pairs that emit less energy than conventional radars, thus making them “less vulnerable to anti-radiation weapons”, that can create a “maximum theoretical perimeter of 500km”.
The radar system, however, has a number of drawbacks as well, such as a relatively low detection altitude (about 7 kilometres), along with a limited transverse size of its detection zone and inability to provide “constant radar illumination tracking a target”.
Nevertheless, if used in conjunction with other “stealth-defeating” radar systems, Struna-1 “could provide critical information to an adversary on the position and movement of stealth aircraft”, the article’s author warns.