NATO’s Multinational Battlegroup Slovakia recently deployed the cutting-edge STARKOM system, an advanced mobile communication jammer, to its training center in Pliesovce, Slovakia on November 9, 2023. This deployment marks a significant step in the evolution of electronic countermeasures and signal intelligence within the alliance. Originally introduced to the Czech Armed Forces in 2022, the STARKOM (STAvebnicovy Rusic KOMunikacni – Modular Communication Jammer) system stands as a multifaceted tool, not only excelling in electronic jamming but also doubling as a mobile platform for electronic support measures and signal intelligence (SIGINT). Designed and manufactured entirely within the Czech Republic, the STARKOM has garnered attention for its robust capabilities in disrupting enemy communications across various frequency bands.
The unveiling of the STARKOM system in December 2022 marked a pivotal moment for the Czech Army. The nation is set to acquire a total of eight sets of these advanced systems by the end of 2023, underscoring their commitment to elevating electronic warfare capabilities. The 532nd Electronic Warfare Battalion is deeply engaged in extensive training to acquaint themselves with the nuances of the STARKOM system, ensuring proficient utilization. The development and realization of the STARKOM system were orchestrated by a consortium of key players. The state-owned VVU Brno military research institute served as the main contractor, overseeing the project. Specialized Czech jamming systems manufacturer URC Systems provided essential hardware components and software, bolstered by support from the systems engineering company JISR Institute.
Mounted on a Tatra Force T-815-7T3RC1 8×8 chassis with an extended wheelbase, the STARKOM exhibits prowess in countering modern frequency-agile systems, including the disruption of analog and digital communications across VHF, UHF, and SHF bands, encompassing even GSM bands utilized in mobile networks. Equipped with multiple masts and antenna systems, the STARKOM boasts extensive interference capabilities across a broad spectrum of communication channels. Its disruptive potential extends beyond traditional radio communications, covering command and control systems, air communications, mobile phone communications, and global positioning satellite signals. Its versatility spans from powerful jamming capabilities for electronic countermeasures to functioning as a surveillance sensor for radio reconnaissance and detailed signal analysis.
The deployment of the STARKOM system underlines the growing collaboration within NATO, showcasing the integration and sharing of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) data along with Electronic Warfare (EW) information, aligning with NATO standards. This system’s capabilities extend to countering threats from radio-controlled improvised explosive devices (RCIEDs) across an array of frequency spectrums, covering commercial radios, mobile phones, WiFi, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This deployment signifies a progressive stride within the electronic warfare domain, fortifying NATO’s preparedness and capabilities in countering modern threats across various operational landscapes. The STARKOM’s arrival in Slovakia not only elevates the capabilities of the Czech Armed Forces but also reinforces NATO’s stance in the evolving landscape of electronic warfare, standing as a testament to collaborative innovation and defense preparedness within the alliance.