"Kometa": Russian Antenna Grid Bypassing Ukrainian EW and International Sanctions

"Kometa" is a powerful electronic warfare tool. This device has become a key element in the arsenal of Russian military technologies. A small but extremely effective antenna, produced by the Russian company "VNIIR-Progress," demonstrates the ability to jam modern electronic warfare systems used by Ukraine. The "Kometa" antenna is just one of the technologies. "VNIIR-Progress" produces a wide range of equipment, including systems for tanks, armored personnel carriers, naval and underwater equipment. Also, navigation systems necessary for effective electronic warfare.

Bypassing all sanctions and employing advanced technologies from abroad through intermediary companies, Russia successfully circumvents international sanctions. They optimize and increase the production of military technologies since the invasion of Ukraine. Molfar analysts have identified a complex network of connections, schemes to circumvent sanctions, and private data of employees. You will find the details of these discoveries in this article.

This is what the Russian "Kometa"looks like

"Kometa" and other products of "VNIIIR-Progress"

"Kometa" is an antenna array that is installed in devices to jam interference. In fact, it is an antenna that suppresses Ukrainian EW systems when our defenders want to jam, say, Russian UAVs.


It is likely that the development of "Kometa" in Russia began in 2008 to protect sensitive equipment from radio interference. "Kometa" is designed to protect navigation systems from intentional and unintentional interference. It stabilizes satellite communication signals and there are several versions of this receiver.

  • "Comet-A" - developed for manned aviation;
  • "Comet-B" - for motor transport;
  • "Comet-N" - in ground stationary objects;
  • "Comet-M" - for drones.

The production of "Kometa" is carried out by the company "VNIIIR-Progress" ("ВНИИР Прогресс")


A series of Russian digital antenna arrays "Kometa" Source mil.in.ua

In 2012, "Kometa" during testing received satellite signals even in conditions of strong interference.


What else is produced at VNIIR-Progress?


"VNIIIR-Progress" (All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Radio Engineering) is a company that specializes in the production of three main types of equipment. Firstly, it is specialized electrical equipment that is installed in tanks, armored personnel carriers, and other military vehicles. Secondly, marine equipment designed for submarines and warships. Thirdly, navigation equipment used for protection against EW.


In July 2023, it became known that the "Comet-M" antenna is being transferred from "Orlan" drones to cruise missiles. In addition to "Comet," "VNIIIR-Progress" also produces the "Blesna" system, which is used to assess the resilience of navigation equipment to simulated interference.


Production capabilities. Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the share of production of navigation and satellite systems has increased. Over the past year, "VNIIIR-Progress" has increased the production of some equipment by more than 100 times. As of May 2022, the company changed its status from a public to a non-public joint-stock company. This change means that the company has decided to limit public access to its shares. In a non-public joint-stock company, shares are not traded on the open market. Access to them is limited to a certain group of people. Until July 2023, the founder and owner of the company was indicated as JSC "VNIIIR" (JSC "VNIIIR"). After that, in September 2023, another founder was mentioned - the company JSC "Sokol Asset."


Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the share of production of navigation and satellite systems has increased, as well as the production capabilities of some products.


As of 2020, the company employed 206 employees. According to the company's CEO Vladislav Kostin, in 2023, another 100 employees were hired, and the same number is planned to be hired in the future. 31 employees were identified. List of identified employees.



Drone "Orlan-30". The "Comet-M" antenna can be installed on such a UAV.

In July 2023, it became known that the "Comet-M" antenna can be transferred from "Orlan" drones to "cruise" missiles. In addition to "Comet," "VNIIIR-Progress" produces the "Blesna" system for assessing the resilience of navigation equipment to simulated interference.


According to research by Chatham House, the Russian defense industry is developing new systems and capabilities in military robotics. That is, despite sanctions, Russians continue to improve their EW and other similar military technologies. For example, the study notes that the Russians are currently improving space and satellite systems from Soviet times.


The Connection between "VNIIIR-Progress" and the Political Elite of Serbia


"VNIIIR-Progress" manufactures special electrical equipment that is installed in tanks, armored and other vehicles, marine equipment used for submarines and warships, and navigation equipment.


Formally, the CEO of "VNIIIR Progress" is a person named Vladislav Kostin (we will provide his personal data in detail later). He is associated with two other enterprises - JSC "Krokus Asset" and JSC "Sokol Asset." Despite Kostin's formal leadership, real control over "VNIIIR" is likely still retained by Serbian businessman Nenad Popovic, who is also the leader of the political party in Serbia "Serbian People's Party." This may indicate an opaque connection between Nenad Popovic's party with Russian business and even, indirectly, with the Russian Ministry of Defense, as shown in the diagram below.

"Sokol Asset" is likely a nominee company. The legal entity was registered in April 2023 and is located in Moscow, at Serebryanicheskaya Naberezhnaya, 29, where also are located JSC "VNIIIR Hydroelectroautomation"LLC "OV Consulting"JSC "ICBC Bank"JSC "Cordiant"JSC "Auto Finance Bank".


The "ABS Electro" holding, directly related to "VNIIIR Progress," works in the interests of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. Its enterprises develop electronic controllers, control panels, technical equipment control systems for ships, relay automation, and, accordingly, anti-jamming navigation antennas "Comet," which we wrote about above.


Until July 2023, the founder and owner of the company was indicated as JSC "VNIIIR" (JSC "VNIIIR"). After that, in September 2023, another founder was mentioned - the company JSC "Sokol Asset"


The ultimate owner, obviously, is the Serbian-Russian businessman Nenad Popovic - the owner of the company "ABS Electro," which as of 2022 owns the companies "VNIIIR". Nenad is also the leader of the pro-Russian Serbian People's Party, Minister without portfolio, responsible for innovation in the Government of Serbia, Minister without portfolio, responsible for innovation. As a politician, he promotes the ideas of rapprochement with Russia. Popovic supports Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine, and in 2017 he visited the Crimea occupied by the Russians.


The company "ABS Electro" was founded in 1994 by Nenad Popovic as "ABS Holdings". In February 2010, the company changed its name to "ABS Electro". The company unites several enterprises.

Circumvention of Sanctions and Components from the USA, Japan, India

U-Blox is a Swiss company that specializes in developing and selling microchips and modules for global positioning systems (GPS) and wireless communications – GSM (2G), UMTS (3G), LTE (4G). The company's products are widely used in the automotive industry, mobile devices, as well as in industrial and commercial applications, including navigation systems, transport monitoring, telecommunications, and others.


The largest importer of U-BLOX products to Russia is LLC "Ultran EK" (under sanctions in Ukraine). In 2022, U-BLOX and Cirocomm modules imported to Russia by LLC "Ultran EK" in 2019-2022 were found in Russian reconnaissance UAVs "Orlan-10".


In October 2022, components of the Taiwanese manufacturer Cirocomm were found in the "Comet-M" antenna, which was discovered by Ukrainian military in the reconnaissance drone "Orlan-10". According to the marking, some parts were manufactured from May 2-8, 2022.


So, as we can see, Russian companies are actively circumventing international sanctions. Some of them take advantage of the fact that the international community seems not to notice them. This way, they provide the Russian military-industrial complex with modern components.


The St. Petersburg branch of JSC "VNIIIR-Progress" imported elements for satellite navigation worth $128,000 through the Indian company "Si2 Microsystems Pvt Ltd". These components, made in Ireland, the USA, and Japan, could be used in reconnaissance UAVs "Orlan-10" used against Ukraine.

The role of companies under international sanctions, which circumvent restrictions to supply military technologies, also attracts significant attention. For example, LLC "ET-Komplex" imported Taoglas products worth $20,000 from Hong Kong, demonstrating the complexity and secrecy of such operations.


In 2023, the St. Petersburg branch of JSC "VNIIIR-Progress" imported products (spare parts for satellite navigation receivers) from India, manufactured by companies "Taoglas Ltd" (Ireland), "Samtec" (USA), and "Hirose Electric" (Japan) for a total of $128,000. The supplier of the products is the Indian company "Si2 Microsystems Pvt Ltd" and, as of the publication of this article, it is not under sanctions. In 2019, this company showed interest in the products of "VNIIIR-Progress", including the "Kometa" antenna.


The second-largest supplier of Taoglas products to the Russian Federation is LLC "Spark TT". Overall, from May 2022 to April 2023, the company imported foreign electronic components worth about $3 million. "Spark TT" is located in the Russian city of Cheboksary, 4 kilometers from the headquarters of "VNIIIR-Progress".


The supply chains for even the most modern equipment for Russians remain virtually unbroken. Therefore, the terrorist state can continue to use Western technologies in war crimes against Ukraine.


Deanon of the owners and employees of the Russian military electronics production

Popovich Nenad Nemanevich (russian — Попович Ненад Неманьевич)


Date of birth: 30.09.1966

Social media FBTW

Personal website


In his LinkedIn profile, he writes that as of 2022, he is no longer the owner of the company "ABS Electro." However, it is likely that he still controls "ABS Electro," which in turn owns "VNIIIR."


He was listed as the owner until January 2022, when the company closed information about its shareholders and listed this information on its LinkedIn. He is also the leader of the pro-Russian Serbian People's Party and a "minister without portfolio" (i.e., a government member who does not head a specific ministry), responsible for innovation in the Serbian government. As a politician, he advocates for closer ties with Russia. Popovic supports Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine, and in 2017 he visited occupied Crimea.


According to information on the website occrp.org, from 1995-1996, Popovic worked for Marc Rich, the founder of the company "Glencore," who was involved in business with apartheid Africa, traded Iraqi oil bypassing UN sanctions, and also traded with Iran during the American hostage crisis. According to the article, Nenad Popovic opened Rich's office in Russia and was president of "Koalko International," which was a partner of "Glencore."


In 2003, he was a lecturer at the Department of Economics of Lomonosov Moscow State University; since 2000, he has been a professor at the Department of Economics and Planning of Mining Production at the Moscow State Mining University.


According to media reports, the company "Harwinter," which Popovic named as part of his holding, was involved in the construction of Medvedev's residence in the Utrish nature reserve and is also associated with the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation.


In 2006, Putin awarded the General Director of "Harwinter" Slobodan Obradovic. It is likely that the "palace" for Putin was also built by the company "Harwinter."


In 2008, Nenad Popovic supported the sale of the Serbian oil company "NIS" to "Gazprom." According to the "Paradise Papers," since 2008 he has been a legal resident and taxpayer in Switzerland, controls offshore companies registered in Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands, companies in Russia, and also owns property in at least three countries. According to rough estimates, his fortune is $75 million. His name is present on the "Peacemaker" website.


Vladislav V'yacheslavovich Kostin (Russian — Владислав Вячеславович Костин)

Date of birth:: 28.10.1983

Social media: VKInst

Phones: +79160366380, +79165868963

Mail: [email protected], [email protected][email protected]

TIN: 772410397702


General Director of "VNIIIR-Progress." He is also listed as the head of JSC "Crocus Esset," which specializes in providing financial services, and JSC "Sokil Esset," which owns the legal entity "VNIIIR-Progress." In 2017, he held the position of Director of the Project Management Department of JSC "VNIIIR Hydroelectroautomation." In 2021, he met with the head of Chuvashia. In June 2022, he spoke at the Cheboksary Economic Forum.


In January 2023, he signed an agreement with the rector of Chuvash State University to create a fund to support innovation based at the university. In August 2023, he received an award from the organizers of the "Army" forum for his contribution to strengthening the external forces of Russia.


Strengthening of the Russian electronic defense system: a threat to Ukraine


The Russian company "VNIIIR-Progress" is finding ways to circumvent sanctions. This allows Russians to expand the capabilities of their EW (Electronic Warfare). In addition, they are conducting new developments in this area. This is a direct threat to the security of Ukraine. Especially considering how important drones are on the front line now.


The company has licenses for a wide range of activities, including space activities until 2099. The company also has permits for the production of equipment for nuclear facilities and other military equipment. These licenses indicate how important "VNIIIR-Progress" is to the Russian military sector.


"Cometa" is a key element in the technological component of the war. This device has proven capable of countering Western samples of technology. That is why it is so important to find a way to deprive Russia of this technology.


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