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640-5 Project - 110 Tracking Radar

The Ministry of Electronic Industry [MEI] 14th Institute, located in Nanjing, is China's leading organization for phased array radar and space tracking development. The Nanjing Research Institute of Electronics Technology (“NRIET”), also known as the 14th Institute, is involved in the development of state-of-the-art phased array radar systems for the military of the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”). NRIET is one of the PRC’s premier designers of aircraft radars and has designed most of the PRC’s strategic and early warning radars. NRIET also conducts business under the name Nanjing SunSea Industry Corp. and Nanjing Institute of Radio Technology.

The development of ballistic missiles weapons began in the 1950s. For an active defense, ultra-long-range early warning and tracking radars are required that can detect track and targets at ranges of thousands of miles away. In 1958 it was proposed to develope an ultra-long-range for ballistic missile early warning and space surveillance.

Radar technology expert Shen Zhongyi took up this very arduous task. He led the 14th Institute engineering and technical personnel from the pre-start of the study, in a number of breakthroughs in key technologies before entering the engineering design stage. In 1959 he organized a simulation test radar, which for the first time received the Moon's strong echoes from 380,000 km from Earth, observations that made the preliminary results of a target in outer space.

On February 28, 1965, Defense Science and Technology held a meeting to discuss anti-missile defense systems. Guo Yonghuai (applied mathematicians, aerodynamics home, Chinese Academy of Sciences, one of the founders of modern mechanics) submitted a "re-launched missiles study of physical phenomena" report. On October 5, 1965 the Chinese Academy of Sciences officially issued "640-5" tasks in Mechanics, Physics, Geophysics, electronics, and determined by the mechanics of the total program.

From 1965 to 1970 work was carried out on Cassegrain monopulse antenna, pulse compression, pulse Doppler velocimetry, parametric amplifier, advanced computer applications, a large antenna structure and the turntable research. The new technologies for the development of the 110 ultra-long-range tracking radar entered the project implementation phase with pre-construction preparation.

In the autumn 1967 the 110 radar project was officially launched at the 14th Institute. The design of the 110 radar is a dual-band radar, with two bands - the L-band and P-band - and a shared monopulse antenna. When they started doing the primary feed trials, because the radar antenna weighed 16 tons, the 14th Institute found the turntable was unable to withstand the weight. They went to a sister unit to find a large turntable, but the turntable wss still not able to turn. In desperation, the researchers additionally equipped the antenna with two small motors, and used this method to complete the primary test.

In 1971, the radar began to enter the installation, tracked a series of flying balloons, aircraft, satellites and missile, with a precision and distance that was more than design specifications. In October 1977, in the third missile test, the warhead for the first time measured scattering cross-section data. That same year, the 110 radar system was officially put into use, making China one of the world's three countries having such large radar.

At the time, the early warning radar units were in a highly confidential state. Local people know there is a PLA garrison, but never on the people and the local exchange, unlike other PLA troops that like to engage in "build military" type of activity, and even the force which military services have trouble clear, only to see the base of the tall enormous spherical radome, so the locals put this mysterious force called the "big ball troops."

Used in target characteristic measurement, the 110 tracking radar is a large precision monopulse radar used by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, electronics, and other units. The radar used Cassegrain antenna, and double band feed horn source. The parabolic antenna with a diameter of 25 meters, weighs 400 tons. A spherical radome antenna cover with a diameter 44 meters, and 36.5 meters high. It can track more than 2,000 kilometers away non-cooperative target in outer space, in launch intercontinental rockets, satellites and other projects carried out several times in outer space tracking and measuring target foreign missions. The peak power was 2.5 MW. It used multipolar pulse compression, and digital compression, and digital ranging, and Pulse Doppler Velocimetry, and multi-purpose high speed magnetic recording and playback technology.

According to the 14th Institute former deputy chief engineer, the 110 radar was technically: the first pulse compression, the first time with pulsed Doppler velocimetry, the first drop Senate klystron transmitter used for the first time with such a big antenna radome. At that time it was the largest in the world, including the United States, which had only 42 meters, and China was 44 meters (Note: This refers to the spherical radome diameter). The project 110 radar radome won the National Science Conference Award for national scientific and technological progress.

In January and July 1979, the 110 radar participated in two ballistic missile reentry flight tests for the measurement of target characteristics. A decoy device was released in the July test. The 110 radar gathered tracking data flight tests for 316 and 396 seconds respectively, at tracking distances up to 3,000 km.

The 110 radar is the core of the 640 ABM project, along with the 7010 missile warning system, China's first ultra-long-range land-generation strategic early warning radar. Originally the 110 radar was the largest of transmitting power, the large radar with the greatest range. The 7010 large phased array radar was once known as "Asia's largest phased array radar base".

In May 1980, it was in two full trials of the Dongfeng Five [DF-5] type ICBMs, making measurement data and tracking, tracing the farthest distance of 3000 km. In one anti-ballistic missile test it stabilized the target track, quickly forecast the impact point.

On January 12, 1983, the "big ball force" received instructiong from superiors to observe Cosmos 1402, a Soviet nuclear-powered satellite that was dangerously falling to Earth. However, due to the Soviet side not publishing the satellite orbit parameters, the radar antenna rotated continuously for four and a half hours, but like a needle in a haystack, saw nothing. For the first three days, the Kunming station tracked on the target, and gave timely notification Zhanyi station. Under the notification of the orbital parameters, on the 18th and the 19th consecutive start Zhanyi twice captured the targety and ascertained that there were three targets, designated as Cosmos 1402-A, 1402-B, 1402-C.

January 22, 1983, the chief of staff called the station asking time and plac the pieces of Soviet reconnaissance satellites would fall. The Zhanyi station, through the BX-10 microcomputer solver, obtained 1402A's fall time is at 4:00 on January 24 to 8 pm, and this prediction reported to the Commission of Science. At 5:00 on January 24, Zhanyi station reported that the precise re-entry time is at 6:30 on the 24th, place of longitude 67.9 degrees north latitude and 1.1 degrees, not into Chinese. Cosmos 1402 fell 9 minutes ahead of the time forecast by the Zhanyi satellite station, with a displacement error of 3400 km.

The US NORAD forecast a more accurate time, just under a minute of the actual time, but the displacement error was thousands of kilometers - China's forecast range was 3 times better. This showed that the Chinese radar warning capability at the time had reached the world advanced level. The monitoring network responsible for the return type of satellite, made 15 launches and successfully recovered 14 spacecraft.

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