Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pechora LPAR

In the early 1970s, the development of a new highly effective radar, the Daryal type, was commenced by the Mints Radiotechnical Institute (RTI) under the supervision of A. Mints and V. Ivantsov. The main distinguishing features of this radar are an extremely high radiated power, use of a phased array for both reception and transmission, and digital processing of signals. The transmitter antenna of the radar had dimensions of 30 x 40 meters. The antenna included many centrally controlled transmitters within it. The receiving antenna had dimensions of 80 x 80 meters. The radar worked in the meter bandwidth.

There were nine stations of this type in the former Soviet Union. The reduced version of the receiving station was successfully tested in the trans-polar area near Pechora. In 1984-1985, the nodes with the Daryal radars were placed on combat duty in the north (Olenegorsk) and in Azerbaijan (Mingechaur). In the mid-1980s, building of new Daryal-U and Volga radars began at the Dnepr radar positions in Latvia (Skrunda), Belarus (Baranovichi), Ukraine (Mukachevo), Kazakhstan (Balkhash), and Siberia (Irkutsk). Western press reports in December 1988 claiming that one of two new radars identified by Western intelligence was located in Sevastopol / Nikolaeyev were in error, confusing the new Pechora radars with the existing HEN HOUSE at Nikolaev.

The first station of this type was commissioned in the Komi Republic (near Pechora) in 1984. A year later Daryal station in Mingechaur (Azerbaijan) joined the system. Later an upgraded Daryal-U was built near Irkutsk. A similar system was being built near Balkhash Lake [some sources suggest that a prototype Pechora radar was constructed at Sary Shagan from 1977 to 1982]. The improved Daryal-UM in Mukachevo and Skrunda were not put into operation. Construction of the first station was suspended, and the unfinished building of the second was destroyed in accordance with the Russian-Latvian agreement.

The Daryal-UM station in Yeniseysk-15 could have filled the gap in the integrated radar field in the north-east. Construction of the new Yeniseysk-15 radar node started at Yeniseysk near Krasnoyarsk for the creation of an uninterrupted radar field on the external border of the USSR in the northeastern missile danger zones. The building of a new radar near Yeniseysk infringed on the ABM treaty, and was subsequently halted.

Building a structure such as this radar requires a stable subsoil that is unavailable east of Krasnoyarsk. The heat generated by the radar would melt the upper levels of permafrost, rendering the foundations unstable. The Krasnoyarsk site marks the eastern boundary of continuous [year-round] permafrost with a thickness greater than three hundred meters. The Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk coastal areas have discontinuous permafrost, while further inland a belt of continuous permafrost has a depth of less than three hundred meters. Former air force general Boris T. Surikov claimed that the radar at Krasnoyarsk was originally planned to be sited at Noril'sk, inland from the Arctic Ocean, but less further inland than the Pechora LPAR. The cost of building on the permafrost, however, was estimated to be around a billion rubles (1979). By moving outside the permafrost zone, costs were reduced to around 350 million rubles. A site further north would have been remote from the rail transport infrastructure that was associated with the construction of previous LPARs at Pechora, Lyaki, Olenogorsk, Sary Shagan, and Mishelevka.

In 1988, when the Reagan administration complained that a large, phased-array radar located near Krasnoyarsk (Siberia) violated the 1972 US-Soviet ABM Treaty, the Soviet military denied the US charge, falsely claiming that the radar's sole purpose was to track artificial Earth satellites and other space objects. Shevardnadze's 1989 decision to admit the truth made him an enemy of the military establishment, which considered the decision to dismantle the radar as capitulation to the United States and a threat to Soviet security.

In accordance with the intergovernmental agreement, the obsolete Dnestr-M radar in Skrunda worked until 1998, and then it had to be dismantled within 18 months. The new Daryal radar built nearby was blown up on 04 May 1995.

Russian authorities hoped to complete the unfinished radar in Belarus to compensate for the loss in Latvia, but the prospects were initially uncertain. Most sources agree that the radar at Baranovichi (Baranovicha) in Belarus is designated "Volga" -- with some sources claiming it is "a fundamentally new type over-the-horizon detection station" while other sources suggest it is a standard Daryal and that the Volga nomenclature is simply the code name for this particular project. In August 1999 it was announced that Russia would refurbish this radar and put it back in service in 2000. Although it was initially announced that the radar would become operational by the end of 2000, tests continued in fall 2001, when it was anticipated that the station would be put into operation by the end of the year.

In September 1999, the Clinton administration offered to help Russia complete a key radar site and to share American early warning data, if Russia agreed to renegotiate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty so the US could build a National Missile Defense. Under the proposal, the United States would provide tens of millions of dollars to complete the partially constructed radar at Mishelevka, 60 miles northwest of Irkutsk, which is oriented eastward, covering northern Asia, including North Korea and the Arctic. Another possibility involved helping Russia regain use of the radar in Lyaki, Azerbaijan. Under the American plan, the Lyaki station might be jointly manned with the Russians, though the proposal had not been negotiated with the Government of Azerbaijan.

In January 2001, Ukraine's Supreme Rada ratified the agreement between the Ukrainian and Russian governments of the systems of warning about missile attack and outer space control. This document underlies the general principles of using missile attack warning systems and means of exercising control in outer space in Ukraine and Russia. It also sets the order of operation of technological centers in Mukachevo and Sevastopol and of provision of funds for their development and modernization. Ukraine keeps its radar sets in permanent readiness and constantly sends information about missile and space situation from the Mukachevo [Pechora] and Sevastopol [Nikolaeyev HEN HOUSE] centers to the command post, the document said. Russia also transmits information to Ukraine from its own command post overseeing the operation of missile attack warning systems and means of outer space control in the territory of Russia. It also provides regular reports on space situation and space facilities. The ratification was supported by 262 to 4 votes of 357 deputies registered in the session hall.

Sources and Methods

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