Domestic means of early missile warning. Part 2

Domestic means of early missile warning. Part 2
Domestic means of early missile warning. Part 2
Domestic means of early missile warning. Part 2

In addition to over-the-horizon and over-the-horizon radars, the Soviet early warning system used a space component based on artificial earth satellites (AES). This made it possible to significantly increase the reliability of information and detect ballistic missiles almost immediately after launch. In 1980, an early detection system for an ICBM launch (the "Oko" system) began operating, consisting of four US-K satellites (Unified Control System) in highly elliptical orbits and the Central Ground Command Post (CKP) in Serpukhov-15 near Moscow (garrison " Kurilovo "), also known as" Western KP ". Information from satellites came to parabolic antennas covered with large radio-transparent domes, multi-ton antennas continuously tracked a grouping of SPRN satellites in highly elliptical and geostationary orbits.


The apogee of the US-K high-elliptical orbit was located over the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This made it possible to observe the basing areas of American ICBMs on both daily circuits and at the same time maintain direct communication with the command post near Moscow, or in the Far East. To reduce the illumination by radiation reflected from the Earth and clouds, the satellites were observing not vertically down, but at an angle. One satellite could monitor for 6 hours, for round-the-clock operation in orbit there had to be at least four spacecraft. To ensure reliable and reliable observation, the satellite constellation had to include nine devices - this achieved the necessary duplication in case of premature satellite failure, and also made it possible to simultaneously observe two or three satellites, which reduced the likelihood of a false alarm. And there have been such cases: it is known that on September 26, 1983, the system issued a false alarm about a missile attack, this happened as a result of the reflection of sunlight from the clouds. Fortunately, the duty shift of the command post acted professionally, and the signal, after analyzing all the circumstances, was recognized as false. A satellite constellation of nine satellites, providing simultaneous observation by several satellites and, as a result, high reliability of information, began to function in 1987.


Antenna complex "Western KP"

The Oko system was officially put into service in 1982, and since 1984 one more satellite in geostationary orbit began to operate as part of it. The US-KS (Oko-S) spacecraft was a modified US-K satellite designed to operate in geostationary orbit. The satellites of this modification were placed at a standing point at 24 ° West longitude, providing observation of the central part of the United States at the edge of the visible disk of the earth's surface. Satellites in geostationary orbit have a significant advantage - they do not change their position relative to the earth's surface and are able to provide duplication of data received from a constellation of satellites in highly elliptical orbits. In addition to control over the continental part of the United States, the Soviet space-based satellite control system provided surveillance of the areas of combat patrols of American SSBNs in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.


In addition to the "Western KP" in the Moscow region, 40 km south of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, on the shores of Lake Hummi, the "Eastern KP" ("Gaiter-1") was built. At the CP of the early warning system in the central part of the country and in the Far East, information received from spacecraft was continuously processed, with its subsequent transfer to the Main Center for Missile Attack Warning (GC PRN), located not far from the village of Timonovo, Solnechnogorsk District of the Moscow Region (Solnechnogorsk- 7 ").


Google earth snapshot: "Eastern KP"

In contrast to the "Western KP", which is more dispersed in the terrain, the facility in the Far East is located much more compactly, seven parabolic antennas under white radio-transparent domes lined up in two rows. It is interesting that the receiving antennas of the Duga over-the-horizon radar station, which is also part of the early warning system, were located nearby. In general, in the 1980s, an unprecedented concentration of military units and formations was observed in the vicinity of Komsomolsk-on-Amur. A large Far Eastern defense-industrial center and units and formations stationed in this area were protected from air strikes by the 8th Air Defense Corps.

After the Oko system was put on alert, work began to create an improved version of it. This was due to the need to detect launching missiles not only from the continental United States, but also from the rest of the world. The deployment of the new US-KMO system (Unified Seas and Oceans Control System) "Oko-1" with satellites in geostationary orbit began in the Soviet Union in February 1991 with the launch of a second generation spacecraft, and it was already adopted by the Russian armed forces in 1996 year. A distinctive feature of the Oko-1 system was the use of vertical observation of the missile launch against the background of the earth's surface, which makes it possible not only to register the fact of missile launch, but also to determine the direction of their flight. For this purpose, satellites 71X6 (US-KMO) are equipped with an infrared telescope with a mirror with a diameter of 1 m and a solar protective screen measuring 4.5 m.


The full constellation was to include seven satellites in geostationary orbits and four satellites in high elliptical orbits. All of them, regardless of orbit, are capable of detecting launches of ICBMs and SLBMs against the background of the earth's surface and cloud cover. The launching of satellites into orbit was carried out by the Proton-K launch vehicle from the Baikonur cosmodrome.

It was not possible to implement all plans to build an orbital grouping of an early warning missile system; in total, from 1991 to 2012, 8 US-KMO vehicles were launched. By mid-2014, the system had two 73D6 devices, which could only work a few hours a day. But in January 2015, they also went out of order. The reason for this situation was the low reliability of the onboard equipment, instead of the planned 5-7 years of active operation, the service life of the satellites was 2-3 years. The most offensive thing is that the liquidation of the Russian satellite constellation of missile attack warning occurred not during Gorbachev's "perestroika" or Yeltsin's "time of troubles", but in the well-fed years of "revival" and "rise from the knees", when huge funds were spent on holding "image events ". Since the beginning of 2015, our missile attack warning system has relied only on over-the-horizon radars, which, of course, reduces the time it takes to make a decision on a retaliatory strike.

Unfortunately, not everything went smoothly with the ground-based part of the satellite warning system. On May 10, 2001, a fire broke out at the central control center in the Moscow region, while the building and ground communication and control equipment were seriously damaged. According to some reports, direct damage from the fire amounted to 2 billion rubles. Due to the fire, communication with Russian SPRN satellites was lost for 12 hours.

In the second half of the 90s, a group of “foreign inspectors” was admitted to a top secret Soviet-era facility near Komsomolsk-on-Amur as a demonstration of “openness” and a “gesture of goodwill”. At the same time, specially for the arrival of the "guests" at the entrance to the "Vostochny KP" they hung a sign "Center for tracking space objects", which still hangs.

At the moment, the future of the satellite constellation of the Russian early warning system has not been determined. Thus, at Vostochny KP, most of the equipment was taken out of service and mothballed. About half of the military and civilian specialists involved in the operation and maintenance of Vostochny KP, data processing and relaying, were laid off, and the infrastructure of the Far Eastern control center began to deteriorate.


Structures of "Vostochny KP", photo by the author

According to information published in the media, the Oko-1 system should be replaced by the satellite of the United Space System (EKS). Created in Russia, the EKS satellite system is functionally in many ways analogous to the American SBIRS. The EKS, in addition to the 14F142 "Tundra" satellites, which track missile launches and calculate trajectories, should also include satellites of the Liana naval space reconnaissance and target designation system, optical-electronic and radar reconnaissance devices and a geodetic satellite system.

The launch of the Tundra satellite into a high elliptical orbit was originally planned for mid-2015, but later the launch was postponed to November 2015. The spacecraft, designated Kosmos-2510, was launched from the Russian Plesetsk cosmodrome using the Soyuz-2.1b launch vehicle. The only satellite in orbit, of course, is not capable of providing a full-fledged early warning of a missile attack, and is mainly used to prepare and configure ground equipment, train and teach calculations.

In the early 70s in the USSR, work began on the creation of an effective missile defense system for the city of Moscow, which was supposed to ensure the defense of the city from single warheads. Among other technical innovations was the introduction of radar stations with fixed multi-element phased antenna arrays into the anti-missile system. This made it possible to view (scan) space in the wide-angle sector in the azimuthal and vertical planes. Before the start of construction in the Moscow region, a truncated prototype of the Don-2NP station was built and tested at the Sary-Shagan test site.

The central and most complex element of the A-135 missile defense system is the Don-2N all-round radar operating in the centimeter range. This radar is a truncated pyramid with a height of about 35 meters with a side length of about 140 meters at the base and approximately 100 meters on the roof. In each of the four faces there are fixed large-aperture active phased antenna arrays (receiving and transmitting), providing all-round visibility. The transmitting antenna emits a signal in a pulse with a power of up to 250 MW.


Radar "Don-2N"

The uniqueness of this station lies in its versatility and versatility. Radar "Don-2N" solves the problem of detecting ballistic targets, selection, tracking, measuring coordinates and pointing at them interceptor missiles with a nuclear warhead. The station is controlled by a computing complex with a capacity of up to a billion operations per second, built on the basis of four Elbrus-2 supercomputers.

Construction of the station and anti-missile silos began in 1978 in the Pushkin District, 50 km north of Moscow. During the construction of the station, more than 30,000 tons of metal, 50,000 tons of concrete were used, 20,000 kilometers of various cables were laid. It took hundreds of kilometers of water pipes to cool the equipment. Installation, assembly and commissioning of equipment was carried out from 1980 to 1987. In 1989, the station was put into trial operation.The very same missile defense system A-135 was officially adopted on February 17, 1995.

Initially, the Moscow missile defense system provided for the use of two echelons of interception of targets: long-range anti-missile 51Т6 at high altitudes outside the atmosphere and shorter-range anti-missile 53Т6 in the atmosphere. According to information released by the Russian Defense Ministry, 51T6 interceptor missiles were removed from combat duty in 2006 due to the expiration of the warranty period. At the moment, the A-135 system contains only 53T6 near-zone anti-missiles with a maximum range of 60 km and a height of 45 km. In order to extend the resource of the 53T6 interceptor missiles since 2011, they are being equipped with new engines and guidance equipment on a new element base with improved software in the course of planned modernization. Tests of anti-missile missiles in service since 1999 have been carried out regularly. The last test at the Sary-Shagan training ground took place on June 21, 2016.

Despite the fact that the A-135 anti-missile system was quite advanced by the standards of the mid-80s, its capabilities made it possible to guarantee to repel only a limited nuclear strike with single warheads. Until the early 2000s, Moscow's missile defense system could successfully withstand Chinese monoblock ballistic missiles equipped with fairly primitive means of overcoming missile defense. By the time it was put into service, the A-135 system could no longer intercept all American thermonuclear warheads aimed at Moscow, deployed on LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBMs and UGM-133A Trident II SLBMs.


Google earth snapshot: Don-2N radar and missile silos 53T6 interceptor missiles

According to data published in open sources, as of January 2016, 68 53T6 interceptor missiles were deployed in silo launchers in five positional areas in the vicinity of Moscow. Twelve mines are located in close proximity to the Don-2N radar station.

In addition to detecting ballistic missile attacks, escorting them and guiding anti-missiles at them, the Don-2N station is used as part of a missile attack warning system. With a viewing angle of 360 degrees, it is possible to detect warheads of ICBMs at a distance of up to 3700 km. It is possible to control outer space at a distance (altitude) of up to 40,000 km. For a number of parameters, the Don-2N radar still remains unsurpassed. In February 1994, during the ODERACS program from the American Shuttle in February 1994, 6 metal balls, two with a diameter of 5, 10 and 15 centimeters, were thrown into open space. They were in earth's orbit from 6 to 13 months, after which they burned up in the dense layers of the atmosphere. The purpose of this program was to find out the possibilities for detecting small space objects, calibrating radar and optical means in order to track "space debris". Only the Russian station "Don-2N" was able to detect and build the trajectories of the smallest objects with a diameter of 5 cm at a distance of 500-800 km at a target height of 352 km. After detection, their escort was carried out at a distance of up to 1500 km.

In the second half of the 70s, after the appearance in the United States of SSBNs armed with UGM-96 Trident I SLBMs with MIRVs, and the announcement of plans to deploy MGM-31C Pershing II MRBMs in Europe, the Soviet leadership decided to create a network of over-the-horizon mid-potential UHF stations in the west of the USSR. New radars, due to their high resolution, in addition to detecting missile launch, could provide accurate target designation to missile defense systems. It was planned to build four radars with digital information processing, created using the technology of solid-state modules and having the ability to tune the frequency in two bands. The basic principles of building the new 70M6 Volga station were worked out at the Dunai-3UP range radar in Sary-Shagan.The construction of a new radar early warning system began in 1986 in Belarus, 8 km northeast of the city of Gantsevichi.

During construction, for the first time in the USSR, the method of accelerated erection of a multi-storey technological building from large-sized structural modules with the necessary embedded elements for installing equipment with connecting power supply and cooling systems was applied. The new technology for the construction of objects of this kind from modules manufactured at Moscow factories and delivered to the construction site made it possible to approximately halve the construction time and significantly reduce the cost. This was the first experience of creating a high-availability early warning radar station, which was later developed during the creation of the Voronezh radar station. Receiving and transmitting antennas are similar in design and are based on AFAR. The size of the transmitting part is 36 × 20 meters, of the receiving part - 36 × 36 meters. The positions of the receiving and transmitting parts are spaced 3 km from each other. The modular design of the station allows for a phased upgrade without being removed from combat duty.


Receiving part of the radar "Volga"

In connection with the conclusion of an agreement on the elimination of the INF Treaty, the construction of the station was frozen in 1988. After Russia lost the early warning system in Latvia, construction of the Volga radar station in Belarus resumed. In 1995, a Russian-Belarusian agreement was concluded, according to which the naval communications center "Vileika" and the ORTU "Gantsevichi", together with the land plots, were transferred to Russia for 25 years without levying all types of taxes and fees. As compensation, the Belarusian side was written off part of the debts for energy resources, the Belarusian servicemen are partially servicing the nodes, and the Belarusian side is also provided with information about the rocket and space situation and admission to the Ashuluk air defense range.

Due to the loss of economic ties, which was associated with the collapse of the USSR and insufficient funding, construction and installation work dragged on until the end of 1999. Only in December 2001, the station took over on experimental combat duty, and on October 1, 2003, the Volga radar station was put into service. This is the only station of this type built.


Google earth snapshot: receiving part of the "Volga" radar station

An early warning radar station in Belarus primarily controls the patrol areas of American, British and French SSBNs in the North Atlantic and the Norwegian Sea. The Volga radar is capable of detecting and identifying space objects and ballistic missiles, as well as tracking their trajectories, calculating launch and fall points, the detection range of SLBMs reaches 4800 km in the azimuth sector of 120 degrees. Radar information from the Volga radar is transmitted in real time to the Main Missile Attack Warning Center. It is currently the only operational facility of the Russian missile attack warning system located abroad.

The most up-to-date and promising in terms of tracking missile-hazardous areas are the Russian radar early warning systems of the 77Ya6 Voronezh-M / DM type of the meter and decimeter range. In terms of their capabilities in terms of detecting and tracking ballistic missile warheads, the Voronezh station surpasses the previous generation radars, but the cost of their construction and operation is several times less. Unlike the stations "Dnepr", "Don-2N", "Daryal" and "Volga", the construction and debugging of which sometimes took 10 years, the early warning radars of the Voronezh series have a high factory degree of readiness, and from the start of construction to putting on combat duty usually takes 2-3 years, the installation period of the radar does not exceed 1.5-2 years. The station is of block-container type, includes 23 elements of equipment in containers of factory production.


Radar SPRN "Voronezh-M" in Lekhtusi

The station consists of a transceiver unit with AFAR, a pre-fabricated building for personnel and containers with electronic equipment. The modular design principle makes it possible to quickly and cost-effectively upgrade the radar during operation. As part of the radar, control and data processing equipment, modules and nodes are used, which make it possible to form a station with the necessary performance characteristics from a unified set of structural elements, in accordance with operational and tactical requirements at the location. Thanks to the use of a new element base, advanced design solutions and the use of an optimal operating mode, compared to the stations of old types, power consumption is significantly reduced. Programmed control of potential in the sector of responsibility in terms of range, angles and time allows the rational use of radar power. Depending on the situation, it is possible to efficiently distribute energy resources in the working area of ​​the radar during peaceful and threatened periods. Built-in diagnostics and highly informative control system also reduce radar maintenance costs. Thanks to the use of high-performance computing facilities, it is possible to simultaneously track up to 500 objects.


Antenna elements for the Voronezh-M meter radar

To date, it is known about three real-life modifications of the Voronezh radar. Voronezh-M (77Ya6) stations operate in the meter range, target detection range up to 6000 km. Radar "Voronezh-DM" (77Ya6-DM) operate in the decimeter range, range - up to 4500 km on the horizon and up to 8000 km on the vertical. Decimeter stations with a shorter detection range are better suited for anti-missile defense tasks, since the accuracy of determining the coordinates of targets is higher than that of a meter-range radar. In the near future, the detection range of the Voronezh-DM radar should be increased to 6,000 km. The last known modification is "Voronezh-VP" (77Ya6-VP) - development of 77Ya6 "Voronezh-M". This is a high-potential VHF radar with a power consumption of up to 10 MW. Due to the increase in the power of the emitted signal and the introduction of new operating modes, the possibilities of detecting inconspicuous targets in conditions of organized interference have increased. According to the published information, the Voronezh-VP of the meter range, in addition to the tasks of the early warning system, is capable of detecting aerodynamic targets at a considerable distance at medium and high altitudes. This makes it possible to record the massive take-off of long-range bombers and tanker aircraft of “potential partners”. But the statements of some "hurray-patriotic" visitors to the Voennoye Obozreniye website about the possibility of using these stations to effectively control the entire airspace of the continental part of the United States, of course, does not correspond to reality.


Google earth snapshot: Voronezh-M radar station in Lekhtusi

Currently, it is known about eight Voronezh-M / DM stations under construction or operating. The first Voronezh-M station was built in 2006 in the Leningrad Region near the village of Lekhtusi. The radar station in Lekhtusi took up combat duty on February 11, 2012, covering the north-western missile-hazardous direction, instead of the destroyed Daryal radar station in Skrunda. In Lekhtusi, there is a base for the educational process of the A.F. Mozhaisky, where training and preparation of personnel for other Voronezh radars is conducted. It was reported about plans to modernize the head station to the level of "Voronezh-VP".


Google earth snapshot: Voronezh-DM radar near Armavir

The next was the Voronezh-DM station in the Krasnodar Territory near Armavir, built on the site of the runway of the former airfield. It consists of two segments. One closes the gap formed after the loss of the Dnepr radar station on the Crimean peninsula, the other replaced the Daryal Gabala radar station in Azerbaijan.A radar station built near Armavir controls the southern and southwestern directions.

Another station of the decimeter range has been erected in the Kaliningrad region at the abandoned Dunaevka airfield. This radar covers the area of ​​responsibility of the "Volga" radar in Belarus and "Dnepr" in the Ukraine. The Voronezh-DM station in the Kaliningrad region is the westernmost Russian early warning radar and is capable of monitoring space over most of Europe, including the British Isles.


Google earth snapshot: Voronezh-M radar station in Mishelevka

The second Voronezh-M VHF radar was built in Mishelevka near Irkutsk on the site of the dismantled Daryal radar transmitting position. Its antenna field is twice the size of Lehtusinsky - 6 sections instead of three, and controls the territory from the west coast of the United States to India. As a result, it was possible to expand the field of view to 240 degrees in azimuth. This station replaced the decommissioned Dnepr radar station located in the same place in Mishelevka.


Google earth snapshot: Voronezh-M radar near Orsk

The Voronezh-M station was also built near Orsk, in the Orenburg region. It has been working in test mode since 2015. Arming is scheduled for 2016. After that, it will be possible to control the launches of ballistic missiles from Iran and Pakistan.


Decimeter radar Voronezh-DM "are being prepared for commissioning in the village of Ust-Kem in the Krasnoyarsk Territory and the village of Konyukhi in the Altai Territory. These stations are planned to cover the northeastern and southeastern directions. Both radars should start on alert in the near future. In addition, Voronezh-M in the Komi Republic near Vorkuta, Voronezh-DM in the Amur Region and Voronezh-DM in the Murmansk Region are at various stages of construction. The last station is to replace the Dnepr / Daugava complex.

The adoption of Voronezh-type stations not only significantly expanded the capabilities of missile and space defense, but also makes it possible to deploy all ground-based early warning systems on Russian territory, which should minimize military-political risks and exclude the possibility of economic and political blackmail on the part of CIS partners … In the future, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation intends to completely replace all Soviet missile attack warning radars with them. It can be said with full confidence that the Voronezh series radars are the best in the world in terms of their complex of characteristics. As of the end of 2015, the Main Missile Attack Warning Center of the Space Command of the Aerospace Forces received information from ten ORTUs. Such radar coverage by over-the-horizon radars did not exist even during the Soviet era, but the Russian missile attack warning system is currently unbalanced due to the lack of the necessary satellite constellation in its composition.

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