Created: 3/1/1969

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Intelligence Report

New Interceptors Increase Effectiveness of Soviet Air Defense

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of intelligence9


New interceptors Increase Effectiveness of Soviet Air Defense

The introduction of new fighters is addingto the Soviet air defense posture. Three new high-performance interceptors--theirebar, thoiddler, and the Sukhoy-designed Flagonhave entered service4 and more thanre in operationa] units. All three are all-weatherequipped with air-to-air missiles-

The Firebar is thought to be based on the periphery of the USSR along the seaward and lowland approaches to strategic targets for defense against low-altitude penetration. The long-range Fiddler has been deployed to cover areas that were only lightly defended and to intercept enemy stand-off missile carriers before they arrive within the limits of their launch range. The Flagon has been placed around strategic targets for high-altitude point defense. ecrease in the total numberinterceptors, this new deployment has increased the overall capabilities of the force.

The most serious problem facing the Soviet airsystem continues to be its ineffectiveness against low-level attack. Although deployment of the Firebar has strengthened low-altitude defenses, additional

Notg: This report vas produced solely by CIA, It was prepared by the Office of Strategic Research and coordinated vith the Offices of National Estimates and Scientific Intelligence.



improvements are needed. Because Soviet interceptors are not equipped with look-down radar capable of tracking targets through ground clutter, they must attack from an altitude equal to or below that of the target.

To correct this deficiency the Soviets areto produce and deploy another new fighter, the Foxbat, which probably will be equipped with look-down radar and air-to-air missiles that can bo fired at low-altitude targets from higher altitudes.


Development of New-Generation Interceptors

4 four-fifths of the aircraft in tho Soviet Fighter Aviation of Air Defense (IAPVO) were subsonic or low supersonic interceptors equipped with guns, rockets, or short-rangelkali air-to-air missiles (AAMs). The most advanced interceptor in the force was thell-weatherishpot, which accounted for aboutercent of4 force. This interceptor is armed with four Alkali missiles andood capability against suchas72 flying at medium and high alti tudes.

4 force had several shortcomings. Only about one-third of the interceptorsrue all-weather capability, and their air intercept radar was ineffective against low-flying targets. Against high-altitude, high-performance targets, chancesuccessful interception decreased as the target speed approached Mach 2. Moreovor, the forceong-range interceptor that could engage st^nd-off missile carriers boforo they could approach to within missile launch range of Soviet territory.

Those deficiencies were clearly unacceptable to Soviet military planners. In thehey began developmentew generation ofaircraft as part of an overall program of air defense improvement, which has also included new surface-to-air missile systems, better radarand tracking facilities, and morecommand and control systems. The first of the new interceptorstheirebar--began to be deployednd7 two additional models theiddler andareto have entered the operational inventory.

Each of the new fightersarticular need of the air defense system. The Firebar appears to have been designed with the low-altitude oroblen in mind. Thuiqh-parformance interceptor that appears destined to replace Lhe Fish-pot as the Soviets' primary high-performance point.


interceptor. The Fiddlerarge two-place,interceptor which, when used with an airborne warning and control system, will improve their capability against stand-off missile carriers approaching to within launch range of Soviet

es Agai ns t the tio Thrcit

4 thelashlight, armed only with guns, was considered the Soviets' primary all-weather low-altitude interceptor, although theresco was also capable of performing low-level The Flashlight is believed capable of performing intercepts down to altitudeseet. Because the Flashlight is gun armed andhort radar lock-on range at low altitudes, about two to three miles, ground control must vector the aircraft to within very close range of the target before it can begin an attack. The subsonic speed of tho Flashlight further contributes to its difficulties.

To improve their low-altitude defense, the Soviets developed theirebar interceptoreplacement for the Flashlight. f these aircraft wore produced46 at Airframet Novosibirsk. Of those,re thought to be in operational units, mostly on the periphery of the USSR along theand lowland approaches to strategic targets

arrier against low-altitude penetration. (Sec Figurepposite page.)

Firebar is capable of performngintercepts at altitudes down to about Although it is believed that severalof the Firobur radar could be used toground clutter, it probably does not havedownward-looking radar, and must thereforeita low-altitude intercepts from alevel with or below the targets. low targets, the Firebar couldan attack position only over level land or water.

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The Firebar is equipped with longer range radar and weapons than the Flashlight. The range of the Anab AAM is several times that of the Flashlight's guns, while the search and irack range of the Firebar radar is about twice that of the older type radars.

While the Firebar improves the Soviets' for low-altitude interception, this remains their weakest area of air defense. The geographic locations where the Firebar can be effectively deployed are limited, since the aircraftow-altitude mode is most effective over flat terrain or water. continuous tracking and communication between interceptor and ground control are degraded at low altitudes, making it more difficult for theto be directed to its target.

problems will probably be solvedthe deployment of airborne radar systems which

can search for and track targetsosition above the target. The development of this downward-looking radar, togetherownward-firing air-to-air missile, would give thereat advantage in attacking low-flying aircraft, enabling it to search, track, and fire while maintaining an efficient flying altitude. While the Firebar and Fiddler probably will be fittedook-down radar when available, the first application of this type of radar is expected to be on tho now interceptor, the Foxbat, which is expected to be deployed in IAPVO in the.

The Foxbat (see photograph, next page)arge Mikoyan-designed fighter which has been under development Scries production couldat any time at Gor'kiy Airframe. When it was displayed for the first time at the Moscow air show in the Soviets said that One of its roles would be that of an interceptor. Technical assessments indicate that it is capable of sustained high-speed flight, near Macht high altitudes.

Deployment of the Foxbat as an interceptor would not appear to be justified if it wore equipped primarilyigh-altitude role. Its superior performance would add somewhat to lAPVO's capabili-




ties for this mission, but the Soviets alreadyood capability for high-altitude air defense with advanced systems such as the newissile and the Flagon and Fiddler interceptors. Furthermore, the Foxbat is constructed mainly of titanium ande more expensive to produce than earlier fighters. It is expected, therefore, that the Foxbat will be equipped for low-altitude defense as well.

13. ong-range look-down radar andable to homearget while shooting toward the ground, the Foxbat would add significant newagainst the low-altitude threat. Flying at altitudes0 feet, it could search an area oiles wide along its flight path and detect aircraft flying at lower altitudes. It would need only rough positional information on the target from the air surveillance network, as opposed to the rather exact information now needed by other Once the target is acquired by the aircraft radar, the Foxbat could fire its missiles whileits cruise altitude.

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stand-Off Missile Threat

In the earlyhe long-range bomber threat to the Soviets began to include stand-off or air-to-surface missiles (ASMs). Missiles such as the US Hound Dog carried by2 can flyow-altitude subsonicigh-altitude supersonic profile at ranges ofiles respectively. Stand-off ASMs can thus be launched at Soviet targets from outside the present radar-early-warning range.

Because of the difficulty of intercepting stand-off missiles after they are launched, the best Soviet defense against them would appear to be to intercept the bombers before they approach to within launch range of Soviet territory. This requiresof long-range interceptors and improved means of detecting approaching aircraft. These

are the roles of the Fiddler interceptor and of

the Moss early warning and fighter control aircraft.

After an extended period of testing, the Fiddler entered series production about5 at Voronezh The production of the Fiddler since has proceeded slowly and now is estimated to be about three aircraft per month. It is not known whether the slow rate is deliberate or the result of problems experienced in the production of the aircraft and its electronic systems, since the Fiddler will probably be used with the Moss, it may be that the Soviets have scheduled the production of the Fiddler to keep pace with that of the Moss.

At present aboutiddlers are believed to be operational at three bases. (See Figurepposite page) The first deployment probablysometime6 at Arkhangelsk TalagiDeployments to the other airfields7 and are continuing. Sinceowever, the Soviets are not believed to haveFiddlers permanently to any other airfield.



IB. The slow race ot introduction to operational units indicates that the rate of production hasto about three aircraft per month since about Production is believed to haveate of about four per month in

It is believed that thesh missileby the Fiddler can be fired from any angleto the target. The Ash is estimated toaximum range ofoiles and can be firedto intercept targets flying as high0 feet.

ile combat radius of the Fiddler (with four missiles and no external fuel) enables it to cover large areas in the USSR which were only lightly defended previously and to interceptmissile carriers before they reach launch range. Improvements in the Soviet warning and controlwill be required, however, to utilize therange effectively. The present early warning system based on mainland radar sites--with arange of no moreiles against high-altitude targets and substantially leas against tarqets at low altitude--cannot detect approaching aircraft before they reach missile-launch range.

The Soviets' solution to this problem has been to develop an aerial radar platform equipped for early warning and for direction of fighter At present, the Soviets have about ten Hoss aircraft, which are modified Cleattransports fittedarge rotodome-typo radar ond the electronic systems needed for early warning and control (see photograph, oppositet is believed that the Soviets will eventually da-ploy aboutf these Moss aircraft along major attack approaches, thereby about doubling theirearly warning and control ranges in those areas. The Koss probablyimited look-down capability over water and will thereby extend the low-altitude warning capability as well.


Developments during the past year indicates that tho Moss, which may have been undersince, isimitedstatus. oss aircraft demonstrated its early warning capability during exercises in8 when it flew missions off the coast of Norway in close proximityATO exercise.

The Foxbat, which is calculated to haveile combat radius (subsonic without externallso may be used against stand-off weapons. Like the Fiddler, the Foxbat could operate inwith early warning and fighter control aircraft.

High-Altitude Threat

it was first deployedFishpot has been the primary Sovietpoint interceptor. Jt has been widelythe Soviet Union for protection ofstrategic targets and for borderhigh-altitude penetration. Although itofpeed, the effectiveness ofagainst high-speed, maneuvering targets

is limited by the short range of its intercept radar and the performance of itslkali missile.


Recognizing these deficiencies, the Sovietsimited number of Piohpots into anvariant. This model was equipped with an improved radar and thenab missile. ew Fishpots are believed to have been converted, however, before the higher performancenterceptor began to be deployed with air defense units.

Thesee Figurepposite pago) is expected to become the primary Soviet pointreplacing theishpot in this role. The Fishpots are expected to remain in the force but probably will be assigned to protect secondaryand to provide protection in depth. Two of the airfieldsquadron has been assigned were previously equipped with Fishpots,

ecline in the number of Fishpots at these facilities is expected.

in contrast to the Fiddler, production of theas increased rapidly since series production was initiated about Theare estimated to have produced,to date, currently at about IS per month. This rate of production probably will be maintained Ultimate production is expected to totalircraft.

Introduction of thentoservice probably began about Of the twelve bases that are believed to have received Flagon A, five are in the Moscow air defensetwo each are in the Southwestern, Western,

and Tashkent air defense districts, and one in the Baku air defense district.

Flagon A is expected to be deployedsame manner as the Fishpot, to protect allstrategic centers in the interior ofas well as loarrierpenetration at the periphery. and projected areas of deployment- aretho map aximum operationaloflagons is expected.




30. The Flagon is believed to be equippedonger range radar than the Fishpot and is armed with thenab missile. This, together with its better speed, gives the Flagon the ability to intercept high-performance targets with greater accuracy than the Fishpot and employ the head-on tactic.

31. The Anab is available in both heat-seeking and semiactive-radar-controlled versions, thus allowing the Flagon more versatility of tactics. Thelkali missile carried by the Fishpotadar-beam-riding missile, and hence requires the interceptor toelatively stable pursuit path and keep the radar beam on target until impact. The Flagon also has better maximum speed and high-altitude performance than the Fishpot.

32. The importance of the Flagon is indicated by the rapidity with which it was deployed around Moscow. As oft least five bases in the MOSCOW area were probably equipped with Flagons, more than any other air defense district.

33. The Foxbat, with its higher performance and improved weaponry, will also contribute to the improvement of high-altitude defense. Because the downward-looking radar which the Foxbat is expected to have will be effective over land as well as wate it will probably be deployed in the interior as wel as on the periphery of the USSR. Deployment sites will probably be in the attack approaches at aof several hundred miles from the targets the Foxbat is to defend.


Present Force

34. Although the total number of interceptors deployed8 as compared with4 has declined byircraft, the capabilities of the force have increased. The number of all-weather interceptors, for example, has risen from4 to During the period the number ofnterceptors has risen fromircraft to. omparison of the numbers (rounded to twodigits) and types of fighters assigned to 1APV048 is presented in the following



(some Alkali AAM)

(some Alkali AAM)






and Anab AAM





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