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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Don-2NP Pill Box
56°10'30"N 37°45'54"E
56.175°N 37.770°E

According to NATO classification, Don-2N radar systems are designated as PILL BOX, and its proving ground prototype is designated as HORSE LEG. The space monitoring radar Don-2N is today one of the main elements of the Russian missile defense system. This circular scan radar provides continuous control of outer space, at an altitude of up to 40,000 km and is able to provide in the area of installation, detection of ballistic targets, their support, positioning and guidance of interceptors. The station is able to simultaneously browse the entire upper hemisphere in its area of responsibility.

This stationary multifunctional radar station of a circular view of the centimeter range with a phased array antenna. It can detect an object in the size of 5 cm at a distance of up to 2 thousand km. The station "Don-2N" is the central and most complex element of the missile defense system in Moscow. Its tasks include the detection of ballistic targets and their accompaniment, the measurement of coordinates and the deployment of anti-missiles on them. The radar is integrated into a single system of additional information support for missile attack warning systems (RNS) and space control. The radar is a tetrahedral truncated pyramid with a height of up to 35 m. The only operating station of this type is located in the Moscow region Sofrin.

The developed multifunctional radar is a tetrametric truncated pyramid 33 m high and 130 m long at the base and 90 m along the roof with fixed large aperture active phased array antennas 18 m in diameter (receiving and transmitting) on each of the four faces with a viewing zone in the entire upper hemisphere. The number of controlled vibrators is more than 250,000. The range of the station is centimeter. The radar implements fully digital signal processing (DSP). The initiator and organizer of the implementation of DSP in the radar missile defense "Don-2N" was its chief designer.

The volume of the hardware complex developed by the radar station - more than a thousand units of cabinet equipment, hundreds of thousands of phased array radiators and many other equipment - was determined by high requirements for energy characteristics, coverage, multifunctional use and the need to use large-aperture phased arrays.

The functioning of the radar is provided by its ultra-high-performance (up to a billion operations per second) multiprocessor computer complex, consisting of four Elbrus-2 MVK processors developed at the Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Engineering (ITM & VT) named after S.A. Lebedev Academy of Sciences of the USSR (chief designer - Burtsev VS).

The functional software (FPO) of the Don-2N radar - combat programs, as well as general, technological and special software of the product - is very complex and huge in scope. After the preliminary and joint tests, the unique multipurpose radar "Don-2N" of the missile complex of the Moscow missile defense system (the A-135 system) was put on alert duty in 1996, unparalleled in the world.

MPLS "Don-2N" is designed to detect ballistic targets, to track them, to measure coordinates, to analyze the composition of complex targets and to deploy anti-missiles. It is capable of simultaneously accompanying in automatic mode up to 100 elements of complex ballistic targets (SBC) and simultaneously aiming at them several dozen anti-missiles.

The main characteristics of the MPLS "Don-2N" are:

  1. Multifunctionality (work in the interests of long-range and short-range interception of ballistic missiles and warheads, capture and support of interceptor missiles (PR) for long-range and short-range interception, reception and transmission of coded information on anti-missile).
  2. High noise immunity (wide frequency range, narrow radiation patterns, the presence of interference in the auto-compensators, the possibility of reducing sensitivity in the direction of interference sources, the use of special sounding signal structures).
  3. Great opportunities for adaptation to tactical situation by changing the modes, rates and boundaries of service of ballistic targets due to the presence of a large set of probing signals with different energies, carrier frequency, repetition period, spectrum width and duration, the ability to instantaneously change the width of the FAD transmission, coding of sounding signals.
  4. High information content of signals.
  5. Modular construction.
  6. High degree of automation and control.

In its space tracking capability, the radar Don-2N was tested in February 1994 in joint experiments with the United States for detecting small objects in space. In an experiment with the American space shuttle Discovery in open space have been withdrawn special micro-satellites. The radar found all areas involved in the experiment, and the sphere of diameter 10 cm saw only three radars: two Russian and American Cobra Dane radars in Alaska. Read more about Russian army Radar Don-2N was the only one that found and built the small space object trajectory at ranges of about 1,500 to 2,000 kilometers.

However, Don-2N performs tasks not only in the interests of the defense system. The station is integrated into a single system of additional information management systems, preventing missile attack and control of outer space. With this aim, it regularly draws to detect missile launches and space launches of ballistic missiles from launch sites Plesetsk and Baikonur, as well as launches of ballistic missiles from submarines in the equatorial Barents and the Okhotsk seas.

In September 1967, Yu.V. Votintsev was appointed chairman of an inter-departmental commission for examining new ABM system and equipment designs. The commission rejected the designs by A.L. Mints for the Don-2N multifunctional radar, since it did not resolve the main problems of antiballistic-missile defense with the required effectiveness -- the discrimination of ballistic missile warheads in the presence of countermeasures.

By June 1975 it possible to define the purpose and time periods of development and creation of the new Moscow ABM system. The Mints Radiotechnical Institute (RTI) was assigned the task of developing and constructing facilities for the upgraded Moscow ABM defense system, and V.K. Sloka was the chief designer. The Don-2NP multifunctional radar [known in the West as PILL BOX] is located not far from Pushkino (Moscow region).

The multifunctional Don radar had a shape of a truncated pyramid with equal length and width (100 meters), and height of 45 meters. On all four lateral surfaces of the structure, there are round phased antenna arrays for tracking targets and anti-missiles (antenna diameter 16 m) and square (10.4 x 10.4 m) phased antenna arrays for transmitting commands to direct anti-missile guidance. Along with the digital processing of incoming signals and information, this radar features an antimissile missile control channel and a wide range of probing signals, making its operation possible in various modes. The resolution characteristics of the radar are excellent, and it can see space objects a few centimeters in size.

Building of the radar began in 1978, and it reached full operational capability around 1989. The modified Don 2NP large multifunction phased-array radar at Pushkino is an integral part of the A-135 Moscow ABM system. The radar, which has 360-degree coverage, provides support for GAZELLE and GORGON interceptor systems.

According to one published Russian report, the main radar station and computer complex are "in the region of the town of Fryazino" near Moscow. Fryazino is small scientific town, located in the north-east area of Moscow region, 25 km from Moscow [Fryazino PPL 55°38'00"N 38°30'00"E, and Fryazino PPL 55°57'38"N 38°02'44"E]. Fryazino is located on Metshersk lowland on the river Luboseevka running into the river Vorya (the left inflow of the river Klyaz'ma). It had a population of 54,000 as of 1992. Large enterprises at the location of the modern city appeared in the middle of the 19th century (factory Kondrashovykh-Kaptchovykh). In 1900 a factory for mechanical engines was built, and about 450 persons worked in the factory by 1916. In 1934 a mechanical plant was built, and at the end of 1930s a branch-line from Ivanteyevka (located on the railway line Moscow - Yaroslavl) to Fryazino was constructed. Since 1938 it is a worker's settlement Fryazino, and since 1951 it became a city. Later the city developed as a center of microelectronics.

The Fryazino part of the Institute of Radio Engineering and Electronics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (FIRE RAS) together with Special Design Bureau was founded in 1955. The total staff of the FIRE RAS is about 1000. About 700 researchers and engineers, including 58 doctors and 230 candidates of sciences work in 60 laboratoriesof the FIRE RAS. The laboratories of the FIRE RAS are located in 6 separate buildings and take the area of 13000 square metres. The total area of the FIRE RAS territory is 68 hectares. Work at the institute includes fundamental researches in radio engineering, radio physics, electronics and informatics, as well as applied researches, development of high technologies and design of new scientific instruments.

Other scientific institutions and organizations include Research-and-production enterprise "Cyclone - Test", Production enterprise "Electron-device" and State research-and-production enterprise "Istok".

ISTOK is the State Research and Production Corporation (SRPC) of the former USSR, and one of the largest producers of microwave components inthe world. Founded in 1943, ISTOK's capabilities encompass almost every equivalent of US and European technology. ISTOK is the leading microwave tube company in Russia and has research,development, and manufacturing facilities located in the Moscow area. Founded in 1943, ISTOK designs and manufactures klystrons, TWTs, BWOs, IOTs, CFAs, magnetrons, solid state devices, and complete microwave and millimeter subsystems. ISTOK had a broad product line of rugged magnetron and klystron powertubes at 5800, 2450, 915, and 460 MHz with CW power levels from 100 W to 100 kW for industrial processing. ISTOK has an extraordinary array of industrial products. ISTOK magnetrons are manufactured in Russia in the Fryazino Region of Moscow. The strict manufacturing and quality control procedures for Russian military products are enforced throughout the Fryazino plant for all products. ISTOK's plant, with 8,500 employees and 270,000 square meters of space, has manufactured thousands of high quality microwave and millimeter tubes for military and industrial applications.

The unique capabilities of Don-2N radar systems were clearly demonstrated by the results of work in one of the joint experiments with the United States to detect small-sized space objects carried out according to the ODERACS 1 program (Orbital DEbris RAdar Calibration Spheres) in order to verify the possibility of tracking the so-called “space debris”, during which, in February 1994, with the Space Shuttle-type Discovery space shuttle that completed the STS-60 mission, Special microsatellites with names from ODERACS A to ODERACS F - 6 metal spheres with a diameter of 5, 10 and 15 centimeters (2 spheres with a diameter of 2, 4 and 6 inches, respectively). Fifteen centimeter spheres found all the radars involved in the experiment. Spheres with a diameter of 10 centimeters were seen only by three radars: two Russian and the American radar COBRA DANE in Alaska. MRS Don-2N, the only radar system in the world to be used at ranges of 1,500–2,000 km, was able to detect and build the trajectory of the smallest space object-ball with a diameter of 2 inches (5 cm).

By 2020 radars upgrades ere part of the overall A-135 missile defense system improvement program. For example, new ground aggregates for rocket transport and silo equipment have been created. The antennas of the most powerful multifunctional radar Don-2N remained the same, but the entire computer complex and its combat programs were replaced with new ones. All this significantly increased the speed and accuracy of the missile defense system.

Radar rangecentimeter
Dimensions of the Don-2N structure130 x 130 x 45 m
Radar antenna diameter16 m
Radiated radar power250 MW
detection range of ballistic targets1200-1500 km
detection range of space targets600-1000 km
radar viewing angles in azimuth360 degrees
Coordinate accuracy
range200 (100) m
elevation0.02-0.04 (0.06) degrees
number of simultaneously accompanied ballistic targets up to 120 elements of SBC (complex ballistic targets) The
number of simultaneously guided missiles at least 36 pieces (16 51T6 and 20 53T6)

Western Views

Zaloga reported that this facility was located at Krasnoarmeisk, but provided coordinates that are substantially different from those provided by NIMA [Krasnoarmeisk, aka Krasnoarmeysk, PPLX 48°31'48"N 44°37'59"E].

A map that appeared in Soviet Military Power incorrectly labeled the radar site as a [non-existent] Moscow ABM launcher complex under construction, and placed the radar location several kilometers to the east of the actual location.

Although the general location of the PILL BOX radar is well established, evidently the exact location was a matter of some confusion. In fact the radar site is 48 kilometers North of Moscow, about 2 kilometers from the town of Balabanovo [which is located at 56°11'00"N 037°44'00"E - 56.183°N 37.733°"E]. This is established through SPOT imagery, which reveals a large circular exclusion zone around the radar complex, centered at 56°10'30"N 37°45'54"E. Previous analysis of LANDSAT imagery which provided coordinates at 56°12'24"N 37°45'35"E would appear to have been in error.

SPOT Imagery
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Page last modified: 20-06-2021 11:44:48 ZULU