Twenty years ago, on March 27, 1999, Lt.colonel Zoltàan Dani, commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 250 th Air Defense Missile Brigade of the Yugoslav Army, gave the order to his weapons commander, Lt.colonel. Đorđe Aničić to launch a volley of missiles from a well-hidden SA-3 Pechora air defense system.
It is 20:15, and the P-18 radar of the 3rd battalion captures the weak of a fighter aircraft signature at 27 Km distance. The radar has been active only 17 seconds, to avoid being found and destroyed by the NATO wild weasel units that tracked Yugoslav AAD.
The target is an F-117, callsign “Vega 31” it is piloted by Lt.colonel Dale Zelko of the US Airforce. The myth of invincibility due to stealth has ended.
On December 4, 2011, in eastern Iran, it was time for another stealth aircraft, the “Kandahar Beast”, an RQ-170 Sentinel, to face a fatal fate. The discreet drone was hacked and forced to crash-land by an Iranian electronic warfare system that detected it.
In parallel and in 20 years, many stealth aircraft have been put into service and adopted by many air forces around the world. After the appearance of the F-35 in Israel and Italy from 2016, and bombing of a terrorist camp in Libya by a B2 in 2017, the “Stealth” threat became a serious concern for the armies of the MENA region.
Some countries have already been preparing for this kind of threat, such as Egypt and Algeria. Egypt having taken a full Russian option and Algeria a Russo-Chinese mix.
The two countries have also prepared adapted offers for a decade, as we have seen, Algeria has chosen Chinese radars YLC-8B and DWL 002.
As for the Russian offer, it includes the Resonans-NE advanced warning radar which has entered service in Egypt and Algeria.
The Rezonans-NE is an early warning high-frequency radar able to detect stealth aircrafts. It can cover up to 1100 km of airspace. Its size and computing power allows it to operate in environments saturated with electronic countermeasures. It can also detect hypersonic ballistic missiles.
The P-18-2 Prima 2, is a modernized version of the P-18, it has a range of 270 km and detects stealth planes or UAVs.
The Nebo-2 is a mobile AESA 3D radar, it is already operational in Algeria and Egypt, and has a range of 380 km and can be coupled with the S-300 and S-400 and guide their missiles against stealth targets.
The Sopka-2 tracking Radar is an automatic radar that operates continuously without the need for personnel. The radar can search for stealth targets or control air traffic over a distance of up to 450 Km.
The Avtobaza is not a radar, but a mobile ELINT equipment, which is used to detect radio-electronic and radar emissions from aerial objectives with great precision. It is able to track up to 60 radar sources simultaneously over 150 km distance. It is used in Algeria and Egypt and has been used to detect and take control of the RQ-170 in Iran.