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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

29B6 Konteyner Over The Horizon Radar (OTHR)

The Container radar [Konteyner RLS] is an over-the-horizon unit built to detect all types of aerodynamic targets. The radar "Container" allows detecting air targets in the sector of 240 degrees and at a distance of more than 2.5 thousand km. The over-the-horizon station will be monitoring the airspace and detection of all types of aerodynamic targets, including planes, helicopters, drones and cruise missiles. The Container antenna field is a huge blanket of 144 masts as high as a 10-story building. This new radar station of the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces is capable of detecting air targets at a distance of 3000 km and is one of the means of intelligence and warning of air-space attack by the enemy. The signal bounces off the ionosphere like from a mirror, to see everything that is going on beyond the horizon.

In the future, one such radar ZGO will "see" all aerodynamic targets, including small-size aircraft at a distance of up to 3,000 km, with an azimuth of 240 degrees. The radar apparently uses new mathematical models that allow to determine the type of target in real time, without needing to calculate the entire flight trajectory. The deployed Container radar radio-technical unit includes a command post, a transmission and reception antenna and a communications and data-management unit. Russia is planning to deploy a network of Container-type radars to provide early detection of airborne threats over its entire territory and beyond its borders. Specific dates, the number of radar stations, their location and other details have not been disclosed.

Sergei Saprykin is the general designer of the NPK NIIDAR long-range radio communications research and production center, which is part of the RTI high-technology industrial concern.

Analogs of such stations worked at Chernobyl and Nikolaev in Ukraine, as well as in Komsomolsk-in-Amur. Three operational over-the-horizon radars for ballistic missile detection could provide additional long-range warning of the approach of high-flying aircraft. An over-the-horizon radar under construction in the Far East in the mid-1980s would provide long-range detection of aircraft from the Pacific Ocean.

The Soviet Union used the Duga ["Arc / Range"] over the horizon radar which reached 10,000 km. They were designed to detect missile launches from the territory of the United States. However, such stations are not allowed to specify the coordinates of the launch because the emitted beam was broken in the ionosphere. Today, going back to those giant antennas is impractical. The space Echelon missile attack warning system performs the task of detecting launches of ICBMS. But no space Echelon will perform the task of defining the air target coordinates.

A classical radar utilizes ultra-short radio waves or microwaves and therefore cannot see beyond the horizon. Long-wave radars, which can, are impractical because of their huge antennas and immense power appetites. In the 1980s, the Soviet Union developed its Duga shortwave radars, which can see beyond the horizon due to the multiple reflection of short waves from the ground and the ionosphere. It positioned radars of this type near Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Far East and near Chernobyl and Nikolayev in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the Chernobyl nuclear accident and the break-up of the Soviet Union put paid to the Duga program.

In the 1990s and the 2000s, the NIIDAR institute developed its Teletz, Volna, Podsolnukh and Laguna radars, which utilize the ability of short radio waves to travel beyond the horizon due to diffraction amid surface relief elements. These radars have proved to be quite useful in controlling Russia's 200-mile coastal economic zone.

And now comes the Konteyner, capable of detecting aircraft and missiles, both ballistic and cruise, at 3,000 kilometers away at altitudes of up to 100 kilometers. Its angular coverage is close to 180 degrees, allowing Russia to make do with a mere handful of such radars. Importantly, the Konteyner features a modular set-up, making it easy to assemble and easy to service.

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Page last modified: 25-08-2021 17:17:39 ZULU