New radar monitoring system tested in space

The space monitoring radar Don-2N is today one of the main elements of the Russian missile defense system. Source: PhotoXPress

The space monitoring radar Don-2N is today one of the main elements of the Russian missile defense system. Source: PhotoXPress

In a move aimed at boosting its aerospace defense, Russia launched a modern radar space monitoring station.

In early December the first service was adopted by the first Russian radar horizon review. The Container is designed for the detection and tracking of aerial targets. Its antenna field is a huge blanket of 144 masts as high as a 10-storey building.

The station is capable of detecting air targets at a distance of 3000 km and is one of the means of intelligence and warning of air-space attack by the enemy.

"Such stations light up, the signal is bounces off the ionosphere like from a mirror, so you can see everything that is going on beyond the horizon," said the chief station designer, Valentin Strelkin.

According to Strelkin, the analogues of such stations at the time worked under Chernobyl and Nikolaev in Ukraine, as well as in Komsomolsk-in-Amur. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, it became impossible to operate them, and in the early 1990’s came the idea of creating the next generation of radar horizontal signal detection. The program's development started about six years ago.

The Soviet Union used a horizontal radar "range" which reached 10,000 km. They were designed to detect missile launches from the territory of the United States. However, such stations are not allowed to specify the coordinates of the launch because the emitted beam was broken in the ionosphere.

"Today, going back to those giant antennas is impractical. The space Echelon missile attack warning system performs the task of detecting launches of ICBMS. But no space Echelon will not perform the task of defining the air target coordinates. Here we need a radar horizontal detection "container" type, with one leap beam in the ionosphere and the possibility of accurate detection of all goals," explained the Chief Designer.

In the past two years, the administration has already received the troops' latest radar complexes. So, last year the radio shelves were equipped with about 20 of the latest radar complexes. Among them an updated Gamma-S1M, Volga, Approaches, Kasta-2.2, as well as the various modifications of the station Sky.

The first specimens of a new generation of radar Gamma-S1M have already performed the alert duty for the protection of the air borders of the industrial district of Moscow and central Russia.

To provide training for more than 300 officers and junior specialists of radio subdivisions, IRR troops were trained in centers for the development of new models of weapons and military equipment.

Gamma-S1M enables effective detection, determining coordinates and accompanied by a wide range of current and prospective air attacks under the influence of natural and intentional interference. In addition to the recognition of multiple objectives, the radar provides classes of single goals for waterway and trajectory characteristics.

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.

In its 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.

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.

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