"I am mine," the goal answered

"I am mine," the goal answered
"I am mine," the goal answered
"I am mine," the goal answered
"I am mine," the goal answered

P-35M ground-based radio range finder transceiver cabin

In 1978, after graduating from the Tambov Military Aviation Technical School with a degree in ground-based radar, I was sent to the training ground of the V. P. Chkalov Air Force Research Institute. It was a classic "point" - one of many in the system of a route measuring complex, built to carry out trajectory measurements during tests of new aircraft equipment and weapon systems. Now almost all of this territory, once alienated by the Ministry of Defense, is the property of sovereign Kazakhstan.

I'm lucky. I ended up serving as a senior technician at a low-altitude post, having received at my disposal a reliable "old woman" - a P-35M2 "Saturn-U" radar of the "Drenage" class with the tail number B-50454U and a brand new PRV-11A "Cone-A" radio altimeter "Top", and at the same time a crew of five soldiers and sergeants. By the way, we almost never used the altimeter - the export version in the tropical version constantly and seriously broke down, and until the guarantee ended, the army men were forbidden to repair it on their own.

One of the spring days of 1979, the head of the department appeared in our position and warned that tomorrow there was a very responsible job - there would be three dozen cars in the air at the same time, and therefore any, even the most harmless emergency situation with our "old woman" is fraught with big troubles. In the evening, according to the daily routine, a movie was to be shown in the club of the central base, so I informed the crew that I would need two volunteers - an operator and an electrician, jokingly that I would provide them with a movie.

The only thing our radar could sin with was the low sensitivity of the receiving devices. True, we recently replaced all the klystrons with new ones, however, it did not interfere with adjusting them - the rapid onset of spring affected the fact that some parameters of the station periodically "scattered".

After dinner, when I went up to the receiving and transmitting booth, it was just beginning to get dark. While I measured the sensitivity of six receivers, I brought the generation zones back to normal - it got completely dark outside the threshold. Both sergeants sat in the operator's chairs, in the indicator car, and, as if in a race, filled the rather capacious lid from the selsyn-sensor with the cigarette butts of the Belomor (the chic of the locators - we did not recognize other ashtrays). The main, additional and auxiliary ventilation conscientiously drove the tobacco smoke gun into the street.


"Operator's" indicator of the circular view of the ground-based radio range finder P-35M. Photo by V. Vinogradov

“Well,” I said, “let's see why we missed the session in the club … If the receivers work flawlessly, we will see the planes take off and land in Volgograd.” Siren, rotation speed - three turns, six turns, transmitters are on, the angle of installation of the antenna mirrors is zero. On the screens of the indicators of the circular view, in the clockwise direction, the buds of the azimuth-rangefinder sweep began to unfold habitually. "Old woman" provided an overview of space in a "cylinder" with a radius of 375 km and a height of 85 km. And since the sand dunes were intensively giving off the moisture accumulated over the winter, then in the center of the screen within a radius of 58 km a rose of the "dead zone" bloomed violently, in which nothing could be overlooked.

So, the Volgograd airport (we paid attention to it only when it was necessary to assess the performance of the radar) was approximately at coordinates 330, 250 relative to us. A pair of planes really dangled there, but another target attracted attention - in the north-west, almost at the very edge of the screen - at a distance of 350 km. "Wow! Look, at what distance we "row" objects! " I exclaimed. The mark was clear, which means that the signal reflected by the target was strong, which indicated the high quality of the tuning of the receiving system and the large effective dispersion area of the target.

However, on the next revolution of the sweep, the target disappeared. In any case, a new one did not appear within a radius of 10 km from the previous mark. It doesn't matter, this sometimes happens when the plane turns and its position under a certain observation angle contributes to the reflection of the radar beam to the side, and not back. "Well, on the next turn, she will definitely emerge!" - the operator commented on the situation after another indicator.

Desperate to establish contact with the control target - large as a herd of elephants, I leaned back in my chair and out of the corner of my eye noticed that it did not disappear anywhere, but rushes at me with the same course at a breakneck speed and is very close - just over 100 km … The operator's voice immediately rang out: "Comrade Lieutenant, the target is in our area!" At school, we were constantly taught to prioritize the goal that moves to the center of the screen. One of our professors was a military adviser in Vietnam, where the Americans widely used air-to-radar homing missiles.

However, our own experience in flight operations also meant something. The rotational speed of the radar antenna system is 6 revolutions per minute, that is, it makes a full revolution in 10 seconds, which is very convenient for calculating the speed of airborne objects. Usually, during this time, the mark from the bomber was mixed by 2 km, and from the fighter in the afterburner flight mode - by 7 km. Our "elephant" flew 72 km in 10 seconds! In general, nothing unusual, quite man-made, almost the first space velocity. The target plunged into the "blind zone" of the radar. Frankly speaking, all this did not make a big impression on the sergeants.

"Nothing," I said, "now we'll see where she goes in the east." However, we did not wait for the "elephant" to come out of the "dead zone" funnel. But instead of him, another one appeared on the same course and range. With the same speed, he covered 350 km in 50 seconds and also hid somewhere over our heads. Behind him appeared the next one, and more, and more … With enviable regularity, the targets flew to the center of the screen, and all of them were clearly visible in the front hemisphere and were not observed at all in the rear.

Meager reports of aircraft capable of flying at hypersonic speeds have come to mind. When the number of super-high-speed "offenders" approached the second ten, I asked the sergeant: "Sasha, look out into the street, maybe you will hear a clap, like airplanes have when breaking the sound barrier?" A diesel generator roared ten meters nearby, but the bangs of the shock front usually shook even our indicator car, hung on the blocks. The sergeant drew back the blackout curtain to prevent myriads of moths from flying into the cockpit lights, and stuck his head through the doorway.

- Well, what can you hear there? Already three "elephants" have passed over us, the fourth is approaching!

- Yes, nothing to hear, Comrade Lieutenant, - came from behind the curtain, - only three stars fell.

“An interesting coincidence,” I thought, and added aloud: “Look, the fourth is about to collapse!

From behind the curtain, the sergeant's face, pale in the glare of the indicators, appeared. In a fallen voice, he said:

- That's right, and the fourth fell …

- Wow! And this is already interesting! Now I will see in which direction they are pouring? Operator, give me the last coordinates of the star!

- Somewhere 303, 122! Included in our zone!

A few seconds later, a meteorite crossed the sky, emerging from nowhere and going nowhere. Rather, it was a strip of light, like a trail from a tracer bullet, which appeared for a split second. From our position in the plane of the sky, it was observed traced about 30 kilometers to the side, but for some reason from the southwest to the northeast with a slight decrease.


Reconstruction of the image on the all-round view indicator (the corridor of objects passage is marked in red)

Lighting a cigarette, I find a slight tremor in my fingers. After some time, at the operator's target designation, I get the opportunity to contemplate the controlled starfall several times.

- Well, eagles! You have a great opportunity to make a bunch of demobilization wishes - the aliens still have a lot of shooting stars in their cage, - I say to the sergeants. - For now, I'll try to figure out how high they built a corridor above us …

Since our altimeter went sour a couple of months ago, I tried to roughly determine the altitude on the rangefinder. True, the error in this case is, as the locators say, "plus or minus two tram stops," but still it's better than nothing at all.

The fact is that the "shovel" of the radiation pattern on the P-35 type radar consists of five narrow and one wide lobes, located one above the other with a slight overlap. Therefore, by successively turning off the transmitters, but maintaining the visibility of the target, it is theoretically possible to judge the target's air level. The task turned out to be very difficult, since each star was marked on the screen only five times. But, having turned off all the lower channels, I noticed that at the maximum range the target was observed by the third channel. In my opinion, this corresponded to an altitude of 35,000-40,000 m.

Meanwhile, the sergeants, having made up their minds to their liking, in violation of all military regulations, brought in a sentry who was bored nearby. In response to my surprised look, they prayed: "Comrade lieutenant, well, when will a person see so many UFOs in his life!" A soldier from a neighboring squad also served on radar, and he did not need to explain what speeds are considered normal in the Air Force.

Having admired enough UFOs on the screen and in the sky, rather for the sake of jokes, I pressed the button of the system for identifying the nationality of air objects. Imagine my surprise when the mark "my" was imprinted next to the target line!

Our "old woman" was equipped with the "Silicon-2M" interrogator, now taken out of service. The system of state recognition at that time was organized according to a special schedule, according to which two of the twelve numbered quartz filters were issued per day in the special unit and the time of their change was named according to a sliding schedule. Thus, "meteorites" clearly responded to queries through the filter defined for the afternoon. But I also had a pre-dinner filter on hand. Putting it in a block quickly, I hit the request button again. The result was similar, with a very strong signal. Well, how can you call these flying objects unidentified after this ?!

If we talk about the strength of the received signals, it should be noted that in the normal mode the radar operates in the three-centimeter range of radio waves (passive mode). However, all P-35s also have an active response system. It is designed to increase the detection range of aircraft equipped with a SOD-67 transponder and operates in the decimeter range. They rarely flew at the range with active responders, but when this happened, they managed to escort the target to the edge of the screen. Meanwhile, our interrogator was always on. Thus, clear marks from our "elephants" at the maximum detection range, it seems, were provided thanks to the joint operation of the receivers at centimeter and decimeter waves.

Gathering in the indicator room, the sergeants and I began to argue: the object is visible simultaneously in three ranges of electromagnetic waves, in two radio and optical, which means it really exists. The speed of movement is not prohibitive, but quite accessible to mankind, although the hypothesis of hundreds of man-made vehicles in one night is too much! No economy of the country can handle this. If an object glows in the night sky, then either it ionizes layers of air around itself, or throws out a jet of gases, but why do we see it on the radar only head-on? And then, if through the channels of state recognition in both versions - "own", then the object thinks?

I suggested: “What if a certain cosmic body, entering the dense layers of the atmosphere, rotates with an angular frequency that coincides with the reference frequency of our interrogator or with a multiple of the harmonics of its spectrum? Then at least bring the whole box with code filters here, we'll get a positive answer to all 12 queries. " They say that the Americans in Vietnam had such stations for jamming the state identification system on some planes. True, ours also ate Vietnamese rice with no bast shoes and quickly modified the equipment with the "false codes" system, which in such situations behaved the other way around - our own did not answer, and the "stranger" continued to respond as "our own."

And here is the same "LK" button! After running the "false codes", I did not find any reaction on the screen. This could indicate one of two things: either the target deliberately defies provocation, or my LK system does not work. In peacetime conditions it was never used, during the maintenance of the equipment it was not subject to control, so I did not evaluate the functioning of the system in real conditions and I cannot judge its efficiency and reliability.


The transceiver cabin of the PRV-11 ground radio altimeter, which let us down that night

In short, the situation was developing in such a way that it was just right to report what was happening to the unit commander and ask him to collect trajectory measurements and uniform time services on alert. This could be done on command, notifying the unit duty officer for the beginning. Half an hour later, he climbed into our indicator car, looked at the indicator, shooed the sentry wandering near the position and flatly refused to report to the commander: "If you want, call him yourself." Since my personal relationship with the commander left much to be desired, I did not follow the advice of the officer on duty.

Realizing that I would never see anything like it again, I slightly doubted whether to turn on the recording camera (we had a stand with RFK-5 mounted on an operator's indicator of a circular view). And although in the depths of my heart I already decided that I would not do this, rather, for self-assurance, I made sure that the calendar was set for yesterday's date, the clock showed the first hour of the night, and the cassette was fully loaded - 60 meters of film would be enough for 8 hours of shooting.

Perhaps my decision was wrong, but knowing the official point of view of the command on UFO problems, I did not tempt fate. To be in the role of a character from "The Elusive Avengers", played by Savely Kramarov, and constantly telling how "the dead with scythes stand along the road …", I did not like much. I did not forbid the sergeants to share their impressions of what they saw with anyone, but no rumors spread around the central base. Some time later, I told some friends about the events of that night, but they seem to have quickly forgot the story, as this topic never came up in our conversations again.

The next morning the responsible work took place. The promised three dozen targets were "hanging" in the air, moving at their usual speeds. Both sergeants "with the eyes of a mad herring" from lack of sleep continuously muttered the coordinates of aircraft and helicopters for several hours. Our "old lady" has worked perfectly.

A year later, we received an order from the Chief of the Air Force General Staff, requiring us to register any anomalous phenomena. Following this, my fellow soldiers at the optical stations officially took up astronomical observations. To the question: "Whom are we looking at?" - they answered: "We take off the plates."A few years later, quite by accident, I happened to get acquainted with a copy of their report on this work. Frankly speaking, it is impossible even to compare what I saw with my own eyes on my radar station that night and what my colleagues saw.

P. S. We exchange short letters with one of my former sergeants. There are practically no other witnesses to those events. This year I was again on a business trip to those parts. Not at all hoping to clarify the unanswered questions, I made inquiries about the date of the event that interested me. That very responsible work served as an "unkillable" reference point. They say that one of the first persons who oversaw the tests answered the question without looking at the notebook - on May 11, 1979.

Popular by topic