Thursday, September 17, 2009

Novella - Sea Dragon system. Short review.

The Novella anti-submarine and maritime reconnaissance system (export name 'Sea Dragon') was developed by 'Leninets' (San Petersburg) and intended for Tu-142, Ka-27 and Il-38 modernization. The Sea Dragons variants were named 1SD (for A-40 'Albatros' and Tu-204P), 2SD (for Il-38), SD(H) (Ka-27), 4SD (light planes and UAVs). The weight of SD(H) is only 220 kg. The system has magnetic, electro-optical, IR, acoustic, radar and ESM subsystems. 
The low-light-level TV and FLIR are installed in a stabilized turret. Two fields of view 2 x 2 and 9 x 12 deg with a tracking rate of up to 20 deg/sec. Other source reports about 5 optic windows. In addition the aircraft has an IR sensor for initial submarine detection based on water surface temperature – something very useful, if the enemy subs have conventional or MESMA propulsion. The TV-FLIR system can track targets detected by the radar too.

In a pod above the cockpit it has a new ELINT with a 2000-signature threat library, searching in 6.5 – 40 GHz diapason. DF accuracy is 0.5 – 3 deg, and frequency measurement accuracy is 1 MHz in 360 deg. Leninets offers 4 alternative coherent klystron radars with different power and range between 15 and 320 km for surface targets and 20 – 90 km for air targets. Il-38 2SD variant has capability for detecting naval targets up to range of radio-horizont, air targets – on 350 km. The helo's SD(H) variant – has 200 km detection range for a destroyer and 60 – for a fighter.
Magnetic sensor is placed in the tail and can detect the magnetic anomaly from the 900 km distance.
Radio-hydro-acoustic system uses passive buoys (RGB-41E, RGB-48E) active (GB-58E) and radio-tech (RTB-93E) buoys.
Each sensor has its own digital processing computer. A central mission control computer units maintain the system tactical picture and help for weapon use. The computer power is 3.3 GOPS. It can track up to 32 targets. It's open-architecture design around 1553B bus with 2 two-operator workstations (Il-38) using BARCO MPRD-132 displays. All displays have access to all sensor output. A third workstation is for a navigator. It has a single large display.  
In 2003 Russian Navy has 35 Il-38s with 10 of them in Northern Fleet, 15 – on the Pacific and 5 – in the training centre, Pskov.  All of the serving Il-38, Ka-27PL and Tu-142 will be upgraded with Novella's variants.

Il-38 can carry

Total weapon - 5000 kg:
2 Sea Eagle AShMs 
Anti-submarine torpedoes AT-1, AT-2 and more advanced
10 depth-charges PLAB-250
8 naval mine AMD-2
 Range – 9500 km

Only open sources both foreign and Russian were used for this review 


  1. to igorr

    can you the the URL of the company which produces this suite

    thanks for posting

  2. to anon September 18, 2009 12:05 AM :

    Yes, but they don't elaborate their military production there, only civilian :)

  3. SI the system really effective? Last I heard the IN had returned the upgraded Il-38s back to russia for unacceptable peroformance

  4. to September 19, 2009 12:46 PM:

    It was misinformation.

  5. If it was misinformation, why did India buy the P-8I. We cannot waste our money.We wanted Isreali systems that work. The Russians refused. So the IN asked them to prove the systems they built. That failed. hence, order for P-8I

    If the systems worked, please post link.

  6. to anon September 21, 2009 1:43 PM:

    India bought P-8I most probably as a gesture for 123-agreement with US. If Indian side really wanted Israeli equipement, as you say, it would buy it, but they bought US which never agree put Israeli radar there, do they. So, I think your reasons are wrong.

    About Il-38 failure it was a disinformation of so called DDM, which was disproved latter ofically by an Indian top. They're very satisfied with the system. I have read this on an Indian website.

  7. India bought the P8I as it was the only system that was viable at that point(Orders from USN for @ 100 nos). The A319MP was a paper concept. These were the only contenders for long range MP.

    IN wanted to incorporate Israeli system, which was cheaper and proven on the Tu-142 (Not Il-38, sorry for error) for upgrade; Russia did not allow the same. They promised their system will work. IN waited patiently but when it saw only failures, it went ahead with P-8I.

    Regarding IL-38 upgrade, if it was so wonderful, why is not participating the new requirement for Maritime patrol for IN. IN has another MP requirement which was has been floated. No Russian offering in this, till date.

  8. Please refer to this link for the news I found regarding IN upgrade for Sea Dragon :

  9. to anon September 22, 2009 9:47 AM:

    IL-38 could not participate in any new requirement abroad for a simple reason: this aircraft is not in serial production many years, and those serving Russian fleet are needed for domestic purposes.

  10. to anon September 22, 2009 11:40 AM:

    It's desinformation, Il-38's are coming back to India as written in contract. They refused nothing :)

    This story is DDM like about allegedly Sandhuvijay 'refuse', one can only laugh... Indeed nothing like this happen and Sandhuvijay came back to India in Aug 2008 as was expected.

  11. That comment sums up the condition of the Russian Industry. No money, no new airframes, not-so modern avionics, hence, no more orders.

    Russia has a huge coastline. How come there in concern for such aircraft for Russia itself? Using old airframes, makes it more costly to maintain, as US is finding out.

  12. to anon September 22, 2009 12:01 PM:

    There are enoigh Tu-142 and Il-38 in Russia for now, but it's not mean automatically about intention to sell they all abroad. they are actively modernized with Novella variants (Tu-142s too) . Next after Il-38 in this class will be one based on Il-114 or amphybious (Be-200, 'Albatros') platform, they yet decided.

  13. To whom it concerns

    Dear Sir
    Our university is interested to accomplish some short courses about the application of Sea sensors, which are mounted on the sea cruisers airplanes.
    One of the candidates is your system “sea dragon”.
    We would like to accomplish some short courses about the total system operation, its
    abilities and maintenance, and of course its price for mounting on aircrafts.
    We will wonder if you kindly mail us some information about such courses, the teaching schedule, duration and the total fee to accomplish them in our university, Malek Ashtar in Iran. In the case of interest please let us know.
    Please contact with:
    Mr. Ali Azizi
    Aerospace department
    Malek Ashtar university of technology
    Ferdosee street
    Shahin shaher

    Best regards,

    A Azizi