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Object 2505 Terra-3

4551'10"N 7331'5"E

The beginning of the Soviet laser program can be considered the day when a group of eminent scientists - it was NG. Basov, Yu.B. Khariton, G.V. Kisunko and E.N. Tsarevsky - sent a note to the Central Committee of the CPSU on the principle possibility of using an optical quantum generator (the name of the laser, used in Soviet science at the time) in missile defense. The note stated that, with the appropriate development of laser and some other technologies, it is possible to create a combat installation that will hit the combat blocks of enemy ballistic missiles with a directed beam.

Since the Caribbean crisis, which almost led to a nuclear war, and the missile of the probable adversary became more and more perfect from year to year, it was proposed to conduct a certain amount of work on laser ABM. The proposal was considered in the Central Committee and approved. In 1966, the USSR Government issued a decree on the start of work on the Terra-3 program.

It was required to create a laser with radiation energy of not less than 1 MJ, as well as a detection and targeting system for it. The whole experimental setup was called NEC (full-scale experimental complex); on the presence of a laser in the complex, for reasons of secrecy, the title did not say.

The work was assigned to the OKB "Vympel", later they were joined by the Central Design Bureau "Luch" (the future of the NGO "Astrophysics"). Leading institutes were also involved in the work on Terra-3, including VNIIEF and FIAN. It was planned to test NEC at the test site No. 10, it is Sary-Shagan, in Kazakhstan (the Lake Balkhash area).

The remaining years of the decade in all involved organizations were hard work on the topic, and already in 1970, the construction of the NEC started at the testing range. At this stage, the best minds of the national defense industry were engaged in the project, it is enough to look only at the management of the program: this is the academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences, B.V.Bunkin, and academician Ye.P.Velikhov, and corresponding member of the Academy, N.D.Ustinov. The construction of the complex lasted until the end of 197, and afterwards tests of various systems began.

In November 1973, the first tests of the installation in combat mode were carried out - then the stationary target was struck at a relatively short distance. Nevertheless, it was necessary to start with something, and even such a "trifle" went on for future use. In 1974, the NEC was shown by delegations from the Ministry of Defense, headed by Minister A.A. Grechko. During the demonstration shooting, the laser destroyed the educational target, the size of which was comparable to the size of a coin with a face value of five cents. At first glance, it looks more like a pure "show-off", but with a closer look at those firing, one can come to a conclusion about the perfection of the guidance system of the complex.

Work on the Terra-3 program developed in two main areas: laser ranging (including the problem of selection of targets) and laser damage warhead ballistic missiles. Work on the program there was preceded by the following achievements: in 1961 there was actually the idea of creation photodissociation lasers (Rautian and Sobelman, FIAN), and in 1962 began the study of laser location in OKB "Vympel", together with the LPI, as well as the proposed use of the shock radiation wavelength for optical pumping laser (Krokhin, FIAN, 1962). In 1963, the OKB "Vympel" Development of a laser radar project LE-1. After the start of the program there "Terra-3" for a couple of years passed following steps:

  • 1965 started experiments with high-energy photodissociation laser (VFDL), reached capacity of 20 J (FIAN and VNIIEF);
  • 1966 with VFDL received pulse energy of 100 J;
  • 1967 selected pilot scheme fundamentally laser radar LE-1 (OKB "Vympel", LPI, SOI);
  • 1967 with VFDL received pulse energy 20 kJ;
  • 1968 with VFDL received pulse energy 300 kJ;
  • 1968 began work on the study program there laser radiation exposure to the objects and the vulnerability of the materials, the program completed in 1976;
  • 1968 initiated the study and creation of HF, CO2, CO lasers highest energy (Lebedev Physical Institute, "Ray" "Astrophysics", VNIIEF, GOI, etc.), work completed in 1976
  • 1969 with VFDL received pulse energy of about 1 MJ;
  • 1969 completed the development of the LE-1 radar and released documentation;
  • 1969 started the development of a photodissociation laser (PDL) pumped by an electronic discharge;
  • 1972 for experimental work on lasers (outside applets "Terra-3 ') decided to develop the Interdepartmental Research Center OKB" Rainbow "with a laser polygon (later CDB" astrophysics ").
  • 1973 started commercial production VFDL FD-21, F-1200, FD-32;
  • 1973 at the Sary-Shagan started installing experimental laser system with locator LE-1, started working out and test the LE-1;
  • 1974 made by WRC-adders series AF (Lebedev Physical Institute, "Ray" "Astrophysics");
  • 1975 created a powerful PDL e-pumping, power 90 kJ;
  • 1976 created 500 kW electric ionization CO2 laser ("Ray" "Astrophysics", FIAN);
  • 1978 successfully tested locator LE-1, tests were carried out on the aircraft, warhead ballistic missiles and satellites;
  • 1978 based on the CDB "Ray" and IRC OKB "Rainbow" was founded NGO "Astrophysics" (outside of applets "Terra-3 '), CEO I.V.Ptitsyn, Chief Designer N.D.Ustinov (offspring Ustinov).

The complex consisted of the construction 41/42V (South Building, from time to time named "the 41th floor"), which was located in the command-point computation on the basis of 3 calculators M-600, a clear laser radar 5N27 analogue of the laser radar LE-1 / 5N26, the system data, the system equipment, communication alarms. Test work on this building held the 5th Division 3rd test facility (Head of Colonel I.V.Nikulin). But, on the complex 5N76 narrow place was the lag in the development of a massive spetsgeneratora to implement technical features of the complex. It was decided to establish an experimental module generator (simulator with a CO2 laser?) Achieved with features to test combat method.

The high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Defense evaluated the results of the Terra-3 project and ordered the creation of a new complex, more power and greater efficiency. Soon a new system was built, called 5N76. The main equipment and command post of the combat laser station was in the same building, encrypted as "41/42V", next to it was built an additional structure for placing the generators in it. By the time the construction was started, scientists did not have such equipment of sufficient capacity - it was necessary to install less powerful generators, but they were available.

There was a plan to build facilities 41/42V for this module structure 6A (at times referred to as "Terra-2"). Special generator problems were not solved. The structure of military laser was built to the north of "site 41", led to the tunnel with communications and data transmission system, but the installation of military laser was implemented.

Testing ground laser system consisted of virtually lasers (ruby an array of 19 ruby lasers and CO2 laser), the guidance system and retaining beam information center established for the operation of the guidance system, and high-precision laser radar 5N27 created to clearly define the target coordinates. The capability of the 5N27 allowed not only to find the range to the target, and get clear on the properties of its line of motion, shape of the object, its size (noncoordinate information.) Using the 5N27 conducted surveillance gallakticheskimi objects. In complex tests were conducted on the effects of radiation on the target pointing laser beam onto the target. Through a complex of research carried on putting low-power laser beam on the target and aerodynamic research of the propagation of the laser beam in the atmosphere.

Tests of the guidance system began in 1976-1977, but work on the main firing lasers and do not come out of the design stage, and after a series of meetings with the Minister of Defence Industry of the USSR Zverev was decided to close the programs from "Terra 3 ". In 1978, with the consent of the USSR Defense Ministy program creation of complex 5N76 "Terra-3" was officially closed.

The installation was not put into operation and in full did not work, did not solve the problems of war. Construction of the complex was not one hundred percent completed was installed in full guidance system were mounted auxiliary laser radar guidance system and the power of the beam simulator.

For example, there is information (there are no confirmations to it) that in October 1984 the Challenger shuttle flying over Kazakhstan fell under a laser beam, after which the crew felt unwell, and a number of shuttle systems became ill. The experiment took place when operating the laser system in discovery mode and low power radiation. The height of the spacecraft orbit at that time was 365 miles, the slant range detection and tracking 400-800 km. A clear target designation laser facility has been issued a radar measuring complex "Argun." How much this is true is also unknown, but the whole things sounds like an urban legend.

In 1994, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Nikolai Basov, the head of the Soviet-era Terra-3 program, charged with developing a high-powered laser for missile defense, commented on the possibility for developing high-powered lasers as follows: "We have firmly established that no one will be able to bring down a ballistic rocket via a laser beam, and we for our part had advanced laser technology in a major way."

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Page last modified: 08-03-2018 18:02:14 ZULU