During a press conference last month, President Donald Trump ordered the Pentagon to “immediately” establish a “space force” as an independent service branch. As we have highlighted before, the Pentagon is preparing for decades of hybrid wars across multiple domains – space, cyberspace, air, land, maritime – against Russia and China in the 2025-2040 timeframe.
According to an unnamed Russian defense industry source, as quoted by Sputnik News, Russia is developing a new electronic warfare aircraft, which can degrade the effectiveness of American spy satellites or render them entirely useless by using advanced radar jamming technology mounted on the exterior of the plane.
“The work is currently underway to develop an aircraft equipped with jamming systems that will replace Il-22PP Porubshchik [electronic warfare aircraft], which are currently being delivered to the Russian Aerospace Forces. This machine will receive a fundamentally new onboard equipment, which will allow to conduct electronic suppression of any targets — ground, air, sea — and disable enemy satellites that provide navigation and radio communication on the ground,” the defense source said.
The source said the conceptual phase of this new aircraft was recently completed and the design and development phase is expected to start shortly.
The source reminded Sputnik News that the Russian Aerospace Forces are currently operating three electronic warfare aircraft based on the Ilyushin Il-22 (USAF/DOD designation Type 10). The Il-22PP versions are variants of the Il-22, is derived from the Il-18 airliner, which first flew in the 1950s.
The Ilyushin Il-22PP Porubshchik special mission aircraft was revealed in public for the first time in August 2017. It was photographed over Russia. (Source: Jane’s Information Group)
The Il-22PP made its public debut on the 105th anniversary of the Russian air force over Kubinka August 2017. Jane’s Information Group describes the aircraft as an “escort jammer” to support other aircraft, was intended to disrupt “radars, guidance channels of surface-to-air missile systems, mid-course flight path correction channels of cruise missiles, as well as tactical data exchange networks such as Link 16.”
“The problem of Porubshchik 1 is in the aircraft platform itself, as Russia has about 10 Il-22 planes and this machine cannot be reproduced,” the defense industry source told Sputnik News.
“The new aircraft was named Porubshchik 2, but most likely, this machine will join the Aerospace Forces under a different name. There definitely will be a new air-frame. There is a possibility of developing such an aircraft on the basis of Tu-214 or Il-76 plane,” the source added.
If Russia can, in fact, disable the electronics on American spy satellites, then, this could be detrimental to the Pentagon’s nuclear command, control, and constellations of communication satellites. Such systems include the Pentagon’s legacy NC3 constellation of satellites, the Military Strategic and Tactical Relay (MILSTAR) satellites, and the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites.
The Trump’s administration Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), released in January, suggests that Washington could respond with nuclear weapons to a kinetic or cyber attack on space-based communication networks. The President will have the power to “deter Russian nuclear or non-nuclear strategic attacks—which could now include attacks against U.S. NC3 — the President must have a range of limited and graduated options, including a variety of delivery systems and explosive yields,” the NPR states.
It is becoming increasingly obvious that a space war with Russia is on the horizon. At least now we understand how the next round of wars could start…