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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

5N32 Duga [Arc] Steel Yard OTH

The Soviet Union began work on over-the-horizon [OTH] radar in the late 1950s, given the potential of this techology to surpasss the range of conventional early warning radars. The focus was on backscatter radars that would provide warning of missile launches by detecting alterations in ionosphere propogation caused by the depletion of ions by missile exhaust plumes. These radars had to reliably detect group and mass launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles from the territory of the US. The radars are reportedly known as STEEL YARD or STEEL WORKS by the Western intelligence community, the code name derived from their large intricate girder construction.

The discovery by the Soviet scientist Nikolai Kabanov of the effect of scattering of the short radio waves reflected by the ionosphere by the earth's surface made it possible in 1947 to significantly expand the boundaries of radar application. He was the first in the world to show the potential for conducting an over-the-horizon radar, which makes it possible to detect targets at ranges of up to several thousand kilometers. Kabanov did not succeed. And he concluded that it is impossible to build an over-the-horizon locator.

In 1962, the Americans, in response to the threats of Soviet leaders to smash the United States, deployed in Greenland, England, and Alaska three powerful radars that practically covered half of the territory of the Soviet Union with their radar field. Any Soviet missile launches would be detected a few minutes after launch. The Americans could thus to take all necessary measures for a retaliatory strike during this time.

For many years the realization of Kabanov's scientific discovery remained an unsolvable technical task. The first scientists dared to solve it in the early 1960s of the last century by Soviet scientists Efim Shtyren, Vasily Shamshin, Ether Shustov and other designers. To create the real combat system of an over-the-horizon radar, which was able to detect launches of ballistic missiles with nuclear weapons from the territory of the United States, was possible only in the 1970s for a team of scientists led by chief designer Franz Alexandrovich Kuzminsky. However, due to intrigues in the Ministry of Radio Industry, he was undeservedly dismissed from his job. He failed to complete the combat system of the ZGRPS.

Once, one of the most secret objects of the Soviet Union - ZAGRLS "Duga-1" or so-called. product "5N32", was created to enter the anti-missile and nuclear shield of a powerful superpower. In total, during the arms race, the USSR built three such antennas, including two operational radar nodes (RLS) were built: No. 1 (near Chernobyl), No. 2 (near Komsomolsk-on-Amur).

  1. Experimental installation "Duga-N" near Nikolaev 4702'28"N 3211'57" E (chief designer F.A.Kuzminsky), demolished in the early 2000s. [some sources report that this over-the-horizon radar became operational on 07 November 1971]. This prototype shortened sample was constructed to carry out research and tests for combat ZGRLS 5N32 "Duga". The radio transmitting center of an experimental RLL with a 5N77 DGRA "Duga-2"- Luch. The radio receiving center of the experimental RLL with an OHLR 5N77 "Duga-2" was at Kalinovka, the city of Nikolaev.
  2. The RLU No. 1, Chernobyl-2, radio transmitting center RLU No. 1 with ZHRLS 5N32 "Duga" - Lubech-1, and the Radiocommunication center RLU No. 1 with ZHRLS 5N32 "Duga" near Kloniv - Chernobyl-2. In the area of Chernobyl, "Arc No. 1" (object Chernobyl-2) 5118'19"N 3003'57"E and 5138'15"N 3042'10"E combat ZGRLS 5N32. After modernization in 1985-1986 it did not pass State tests. It was stopped on April 26, 1986 in connection with the Chernobyl accident. Part of the equipment was dismantled and transported to Komsomolsk-on-Amur.
  3. RLU No. 2, Bolshaya Kartel, Komsomolsk-on-Amur consisted of Radio transmission center of RLS No. 2 with ZHRLS 5N32 "Duga" - Lian, and Radio receiving center RLU No. 2 with ZHRLS 5N32 "Duga" - Bolshaya Kartely settlement. In the village Bol'shaya Kartely, next to Komsomolsk-na-Amur and 5023'07"N and 13719'41"E - was intended only for receiving a signal. The transmitting center was located at 5053'34"N 13650'12"E next to ZATO Lian-2 in the Sunny district of the Khabarovsk Territory. Deactivated from alert November 14, 1989 due to the changing international situation, it is currently dismantled.

The military over-the-horizon radar system, even at the development stage, was assigned to the air defense and ABM forces of the country, primarily an auxiliary role. Among everyone who participated in the creation of ZGRPS, it was well understood. After all, they knew the ionosphere rather badly, as well, at that time. And the propagation of radar signals in the over-horizon location goes just on the upper part of the ionosphere. They did not know if the response signal sent by the radar would come from there. Initially the first tests of the experimental Nicholaev ZGRS showed that the probability of detecting single ballistic missile launches from the US territory would be very low. Periodically, the radar had to be turned off and put on routine work to adjust the transmitters and receivers. As a panacea, the developers recommended the creation of a combat system of two ZGRLS. One radar, they say, is on alert and detects American ballistic missiles, while the other was undergoing routine maintenance.

The direct chiefs of the 4th GUMO - the chief of the General Staff, Marshal Zakharov, the commander-in-chief of the Air Defense Forces, Marshal Batitsky at that time, repeatedly said that, let the probability of finding single ballistic missiles in ZGRPS be low, but these radars see American missiles immediately after the launch. Give precious minutes to the top leadership of the state to decide on a counter-strike against the United States. The main thing in the history of the decision-making on the creation of the DGRFA was, Once, one of the most secret objects of the Soviet Union - ZAGRLS "Duga-1" or so-called product "5N32", was created to enter the anti-missile and nuclear shield of a powerful superpower. In total, during the arms race, the USSR built three such antennas, at least declared publicly. The experimental object Duga-N was located near Nikolaev (Ukraine); a military garrison for 1,500 personnel under Chernobyl with the name of the complex DGR-1 (Ukraine); receiving antenna complex in the village of Bolshaya Kartel, which is near Komsomolsk-on-Amur (Russia). At the moment, all the antennas are dismantled except for the Duga-1 ZGRS.

The construction of the station near Chernobyl (Chernigov) on the Duga-1 node was completed in 1985 and it became part of the country's air defense system. The ZGRLS in the city of Chernobyl-2 (officially called the Zagorizonny radar station Duga, otherwise ZGRLS "Duga-1") was intended only for receiving the signal, the transmitting center was located near the village of Rasudovo near the town of Lyubech (Chernihiv region), which is 60 km from Chernobyl-2. "Chernobyl-2" over-the-horizon radar for the early detection system of intercontinental ballistic missile launches. Until the mid-1980s it was a top secret facility. Allowed to track high-flying targets at a distance of 900 to 3000 km. The object included a low-frequency antenna (height of the masts from 135 to 150 meters, length - from 300 to 500 meters, and high-frequency (about 250 meters in length and up to 100 meters in height).

The technological configuration of the complex was divided into two antennas and an auxiliary system "Krug". The radar itself was built on the principle of a phased array antenna. In the heart of the military garrison was the command center for the management of the radar installation, as well as training and training centers designed to ensure proper training of officers. Colonel Vladimir Musiyets commanded the unit. In truth, the monumental antenna ZGRLS "Duga-1" had a total length of about 700 meters in length. The low-frequency large antenna was 150 meters high, and the high-frequency antenna was 90 meters high, respectively. The device was operating in the frequency range 5-28 MHz. Auxiliary system of backward-inclined sounding "Circle" was designed to detect strategic bombers.

Some speculated [dubiously] that the site of the construction of antennas has also been selected for good reason. Indeed, the presence of a powerful source of energy near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant under construction could provide the entire array of DGR-1 antennas with power. The information is doubtful, but nevertheless one can say that the cost of energy consumption was about 30 megawatts! And the estimated value of the facility exceeded 7 billion Soviet rubles, which almost twice cost the Soviet Union, rather than the construction of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The achievements of the USSR are often perceived ambiguously, because in fact the defense department consumed the lion's share of the budget of a huge superpower.

In this complex scientific and technical work, a negative role was played not only by the poor knowledge of the ionospheric physics, but also by the incorrect underlying ideas that formed the basis for the creation of combat ZGRLS. From a scientific point of view, the radar signal itself was incorrectly interpreted for detecting at a distance of 10,000 kilometers the plume ["torch"] from the ballistic missile launching. As a result, this led to the wrong principle of constructing all radar equipment. Kuzminsky and his adherents believed, that the plume from the rocket had a reflecting surface of one million square meters. Military scientists from the Rocket Academy. Dzerzhinsky allegedly experimentally confirmed this. But in fact, a strategic mistake was made. After all, according to the theory of gas dynamics, the plume from the rocket had zones with large and low densities. The radar signal reflected only the zone of high density, and its area was rather small. Therefore, under the conditions of the ionosphere, the ZHRLS had difficulty detecting missile launches at a great distance.

More than a billion Soviet rubles were spent on cyclopean locators. For those times, just an astronomical sum. President Mikhail Gorbachev instructed the USSR Prosecutor General, the chairman of the KGB, the defense minister to look into this "adventurism" in detail. When everything is not all right in the country and the defense industry, they are looking for "scapegoats" in order to arrange a national spanking. When the locators could not normally detect targets, they were not adopted, but put on some tricky experimental operation. The system ZHRLS was withdrawn from combat duty and was not adopted in the USSR into service and not included in the missile warning system.

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Page last modified: 19-04-2018 16:00:32 ZULU