Russian Navy’s new buoys will “hide” Russian submarines. The new jammer buoys will interrupt or hinder all sonobuoy communication channels. The new equipment is primarily intended for Borei-class, Dolphin-class SSBN’s and diesel-electric submarines.
Now the buoys, the Burak-M, are being tested on submarines of the Russian Navy, according to Russian Izvestia.
“Burak-M” is referred to as electronic warfare systems (EW). They operate according to a simple algorithm: first, they are shot from a submarine onto the surface of the water, where they are activated and begin to work in jamming mode. This suppresses all communication channels of sonobuoys, which are used for submarine detection by ASW helicopters and aircraft.
A sonobuoy (a portmanteau of sonar and buoy) is a relatively small buoy (typically 13 cm or 5 in, in diameter and 91 cm or 3 ft long) expendable sonar system that is dropped/ejected from aircraft or ships conducting anti-submarine warfare or underwater acoustic research.
Once the aircraft reaches the space above the target area, it does a quick radar search followed by a visual search (using sensors and onboard equipment) to ascertain whether the submarine is on the surface. If the submarine cannot be found on the surface, the aircraft crew will then drop sonobuoys from the bottom of the aircraft.
The moment a sonobuoy splashes on the water’s surface, it deploys. It can be pre-programmed to drop to any depth in the range of 90-1500 ft (27-457 meters). It consists of a radio frequency antenna at the top, which remains above the surface, a sail that remains just below the surface of the water to keep the sonobuoy stable, and a transducer at the end that collects acoustic energy from its surroundings and converts it into electrical energy, which is transmitted to the aircraft through the RF antenna.
The data that the deployed sonobuoy transmits will show up on the onboard computers of the aircraft. The operator then compares this data with their database, and if a match is found, it’s assumed that there is a submarine nearby.
There are a few other methods, such as Magnetic Anomaly Detection, which further corroborate the work done by sonobuoys. However, as far as the detection of enemy submarines is concerned, sonobuoys are the first and most popular choice for navies all over the world!
The approximate range of the the the new jammer isn’t clear but undoubtedly it will add an important capability for Russian Submarines.