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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

5N32 Duga [Arc] - "Polar Program"

By 1970s, the discussion of the problem of over-horizon radiolocation through the polar ionosphere, there were contradictory, often mutually opposite, theoretical estimates: from extremely pessimistic to optimistic. No systematic experimental data were available. Separate experiments testified in favor of both.

Without waiting for the completion of the tests of the experimental shortened SSRS 5N77 "Duga-2" in Nikolaev, in 1969 it was decided to create a system of over-the-horizon detection of ballistic missiles (BR) consisting of two more advanced ZGRLS located in the vicinity of the towns of Chernobyl and Komsomolsk-on-Amur. When the technical requirements were agreed upon, the chief designer F. A. Kuzminsky, relying on the positive data obtained at the Nikolayev facility (which was oriented along the mid-latitude route to China), accepted for these ZGRLS excessive requirements for the probability of finding single and group targets at a range of 9,000 km (the new ZGRS should have been oriented through the North Pole to North America).

September 29, 1969 Resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR Research Institute of DAR was given the development of the head radar node (RLU) No. 1 with ZHRLS 5N32 Duga. NII DAR in 1971, the outline design of ZHRLS 5N32 and the preliminary design of the system based on ZHRLS 5N32 were developed.

The concept of IP was formalized on January 18, 1972 by the Resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR. The decision to create an integrated missile warning system was used to build an early detection unit No. 5 (RO-5) from the Dnepr radar in Mukachevo, the PO-30 node from the Darial radar in Pechora, the PO-7 node from the Darial radar in Mingechaur, two nodes of the over-the-horizon detection with DGRA in Chernobyl and Komsomolsk-on-Amur, the Daugava receiving position at the RO-1 site in Murmansk, and the establishment of the command post (CP) of the Missile Attack Warning System early detection (CPC RO) in Solnechnogorsk.

Thus, RL No. 1 ZGRLS 5N32 "Duga" in the vicinity of Chernobyl and RLL No. 2 ZGRLS 5N32 "Duga" near Komsomolsk-on-Amur (both targeting North America through the North Pole), as well as the adopted reception position of the Daugava near Murmansk, at the site of the RO-1 system of the missile warning system, were to ensure a reliable detection of the group and mass launch of ICBMs from the territory of the United States. Already in March 1972, near Chernobyl, the construction of the head RL No. 1 was begun with the DGRS 5N32 Duga.

In 1975 the Chernobyl facility was almost complete. In the same year factory tests began. All the equipment of the locator functioned normally. However, the probability of detecting single launches was lower than was recorded in the technical specification of the locator. Then the military offered to determine the effectiveness of the station not for single, but for combat (mass) missile launches. A whole series of combat raids was formulated.

Tests were conducted from 1976 to 1979. The complexity and duration of the tests is explained by the fact that at different times of the year and days the ionosphere behaves differently. And once the state trials were over it became obvious that it was not yet possible to detect single launches of ballistic missiles with high probability.

The "Polar Program", carried out from 1979 to 1984, was the first program of systematic experimental studies of the propagation of radio waves of the HF-range on polar paths. Its experimental data covered practically the whole variety of geophysical conditions and was based on direct measurements of propagation characteristics with the help of satellite, ship and missile measuring complexes with simultaneous control of ionospheric parameters by vertical, inclined and backward-inclined ionospheric sounding. The experimental measurement methodology was constructed in such a way as to provide a measurement of the propagation characteristics of the radio waves simultaneously in the entire sector of the Chornobyl DGRFA, starting from mid-latitude paths to the routes passing through the north magnetic pole.

The received data became a basis for specification of representations about laws of distribution of radio waves on polar lines. It turned out that the polar ionosphere is not as harmless for over-the-horizon radar as the optimists believed, but it is also not as hopeless as pessimists thought. It became clear how it was necessary to improve the ZHRS 5N32 to significantly improve its characteristics.

The positive results of the initial tests were achieved for a middle-latitude route and in a relatively quiet ionosphere. The development program faced a number of challenges, including the limitations of Soviet computer technology for signal processing. The operational requirement that the system detect American ICBM launches mandated backscatter propatation across north pole, where the Aurora Borealis induces substantial fluctuations in ionospheric properties.

The bulk of work on the installation and tuning of the equipment of the station in Komsomolsk-na-Amur fell on the shoulders of the GPTP and Nikolaev branch of the NIIDAR Scientific control of the adjustment of the facility and carrying out the design tests was carried out by E.I. Shustov. In 1981 the object was presented for state tests. The commission was headed by Yu.V. Votintsev. Tracks of observation of this station to a lesser extent passed through the polar regions, and the results were much better than at the Chernobyl facility. But in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, it was not possible to get the probabilities of detection of intercontinental ballistic missile launches set in the TTZ.

By June 1981, a draft Government Resolution on the approval of this concept was prepared. The Council of Defense of the USSR was held on June 22. The report was made by the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the USSR Marshal Nikolai Vasilievich Ogarkov. There was a debate. The Draft Decision was approved by the members of the Defense Council.

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