The new STARKOM jammers are unique. The Army is taking advantage of the capabilities of the domestic defense industry

 11. 02. 2023      category: Army of the Czech Republic
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After three years, the army has received another modernisation in the form of STARKOM jammers, with a total of eight pieces of these unique sets to be acquired by the end of this year. The system on a Tatra 8x8 chassis with several masts with antenna systems can, for example, interfere with the adversary's radio communications, its command and control systems or air communications. "It also interferes with mobile phone communications or global positioning satellite signals," the Czech Army said of the system's capabilities. Currently, members of the 532nd Electronic Warfare Battalion are familiarising themselves with the first delivered STARKOM system.

"Our unit is being assigned to the Czech Army task force. Without this new equipment, we would not be able to provide these task force units with the necessary electronic warfare capabilities that the contemporary battlefield requires. STARKOM is a unique asset not only in the armies of European countries, but also in the entire NATO," said Colonel Lukáš Hoza, Commander of the 532nd Electronic Warfare Battalion.

A secret kit for the front line. It can jam mobile phones, drones and guided missiles

Electronic warfare systems and technology are among the most closely guarded secrets of virtually all militaries, and our army has waited years for rearmament. The new STARKOM (STAvebnicový Rušič KOMunikační) system will replace the outdated technology (old MORUŠ - MOdulová Rušičů kit jammers), mainly mounted on Praga V3S vehicles.

The modern jammers, which will take the electronic warfare capabilities of Czech soldiers to a different dimension, were ordered by the Ministry of Defence at the end of 2019. Originally, the system was supposed to cost less than CZK 1 billion, but it subsequently emerged that the army will pay CZK 1.45 billion for the jammers, mainly due to the time delay of the order, the higher price of materials and certain equipment, as well as new requirements of the Czech Armed Forces.

"We take the STARKOM training as a big challenge. We are working with equipment that is unparalleled in the Czech Army and the entire alliance, and this is what drives us forward," says David F.

starkomACR_TITPicture: Specialized vehicle STARKOM | Michal Pivoňka / CZ DEFENCE

During the entire period of practical training, less than a dozen operators will be trained. As new, increasingly complex technologies are introduced, the demands on their operators increase. Modern technology designed for electronic warfare requires an electrical engineering or IT background as well as a good deal of initiative and diligence. Soldiers only start practical training on the equipment after successfully completing several months of intensive theoretical training.

This new mobile jammer is capable of providing complex electronic warfare activities on the contemporary battlefield. It is capable of jamming the adversary's radio communications, command and control systems, airborne communications, mobile phone communications, global positioning satellite signals, and control and data transmission signals from unmanned aerial vehicles.

Czech product

This is a purely Czech-made technology supplied to the Army by the state-owned company Vojenský výzkumný ústav Brno. Technologies, hardware and software supplied by Czech companies URC Systems and JISR Institute are installed on the chassis manufactured by Tatra in Kopřivnice. The special equipment of this vehicle includes, for example, a protective jammer against radio-launched explosive devices, powerful communication technologies for communication and data processing, filter ventilation, mobile camouflage, and a 360° camera system. Currently, the 532nd Electronic Warfare Battalion has the first of the purchased jammers. By the end of this year, the number will gradually increase to the final eight as deliveries are made.

The asset is mounted on the Army's proven Tatra Force (815-7) 8x8 chassis platform with an extended wheelbase and all steerable axles. To protect the crew and technology, the cab and superstructure are equipped with mine and ballistic protection. In the event of an imminent threat, STARKOM is armed with an FN Minimi machine gun.

It also works in motion

The jammer serves mainly as a mobile vehicle for the performance of tactical electronic attack and electronic defence activities. It is capable of conducting operations on the move or from a stop with the possibility of fully automatic construction of antenna systems. The technology integrates its own power supply, therefore it does not need an external power system for operation.

 Author: Martin Šiška

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