Dnestr radar

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This article is about Dnepr radar. For the rocket of the same name, see Dnepr-1.

Lua error in Module:Infobox_radar at line 36: attempt to call field 'simple' (a nil value). Dnestr radar (Template:Lang-ru) and Dnepr radar (Template:Lang-ru) (NATO: Hen House) [note 1] are the first generation of Soviet space surveillance and early warning radar. They are phased array radars designed to give early warning of attack from ballistic missiles. The network consisted of the number of radars on the periphery of the Soviet Union to cover attacks from different directions and were intended to be replaced by Daryal radars. Only two of the planned Daryal radars became operational, due to issues such as the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In common with other Soviet and Russian early warning radars ay are named after rivers, the Dnestr and the Dnepr. Template:Asof the Russian early warning network still consists of some radars of this vintage. It is likely that all the existing radars will be replaced by the third generation Voronezh radars by 2020.


The Dnestr radar came from work on ballistic missile defence undertaken in the late 1950s and early 1960s. System A, the prototype for the A-35 anti-ballistic missile system was set up in the Sary Shagan testing grounds, in the Kazakh SSR.[6]:123 Work on the system was led by design bureau KB-1 which proposed using VHF radar RTN (Template:Lang-rus) and the Dunay-2 UHF radar. Other alternatives were sought from Soviet industry and RTI proposed using VHF radar TsSO-P (Template:Lang-rus) and UHF radar TsSS-30 (Template:Lang-rus).[7]

TsSO-P (standing for Template:Lang-rus meaning central detection station - test site) was selected for further development, together with the Dunay-2.[7] TsSO-P had the long horn antenna 250 metres (820 ft) long and 15 metres (49 ft) high. It had an array with an open ribbed structure and used 200 millisecond pulses. Hardware methods were designed for signal processing as the intended M-4 computer could not run the radar. It was built at area 8 in Sary Shagan and was located at 46°00′04.65″N 73°38′52.11″E / 46.0012917°N 73.6478083°E / 46.0012917; 73.6478083. It first detected an object on 17 September 1961. [7]

TsSO-P took part in the 1961 and 1962 Operation K tests at Sary Shagan to examine the effects of nuclear explosions on missile defence hardware.[7]


KH-7 Gambit US spy satellite image of the Dnestr space surveillance radar at Sary Shagan, USSR, 28 May 1967. Note the radar arrays are in straight line.

TsSO-P was effective at satellite tracking and was chosen as the radar of the Istrebitel Sputnik (IS) anti-satellite programme. This involved two sites separated in latitude to form the radar field 5,000 kilometres (3,100 mi) long and 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) high. The two sites chosen were at the village of Mishelevka near Irkutsk in Siberia, which was called OS-1, and at Cape Gulshad on Lake Balkhash near Sary Shagan, which was called OS-2. Each site received four Dnestr radars in the fan arrangement.[8][7][9][10]:421[10]:433[11]

A Dnestr radar was composed of two TsSO-P radar wings joined together by the two story building containing the joint computer system and command post. Each radar wing covered the 30 degree sector with the 0.5 degree scanning beam. The elevation scanning pattern was the 'spade' with the width of 20 degrees. The radars were arranged to create the fan shaped barrier. Of the four radars, called cells (Template:Lang-rus roughly radio location cell), two faced to the west and two faced to the east. All scanned between 10 degrees and 90 degrees.[7]

Construction at the two sites started between 1962 and 1963 with improvements in the TsSO-P test model being fed back into the deployed units. They gained an M-4 2-M computer with semiconductors, although the rest of the radar used valves. The radars were completed in late 1966 with the fourth Dnestr at Balkhash being used for testing.[7] A satellite, DSP-1Yu, was launched to test the ability of the radars.[11]

The Dnestr radars were accepted for service by the Soviet Army in April 1967 and became part of the space surveillance network SKKP. [7][10]:434


In parallel with the implementation of the Dnestr space surveillance units the modified version, Dnestr-M radar, was being developed to act as an early warning radar to identify attacks by ballistic missiles. The first two were built at Murmansk in northern Russia (Olenegorsk - RO-1) and near Riga in the an Latvian SSR (Skrunda - RO-2). They constituted the beginning of the Soviet SPRN network, the equivalent of the NATO BMEWS.[10]:421[7][12]

The first Dnestr-M at Olenegorsk was completed by 1968. [7] In 1970 the radars at Olenegorsk and Skrunda, and an associated command centre were accepted for service. According to Podvig (2002) it seems ay were located to identify missile launches from NATO submarines in the Norwegian and North Seas. [4]

The Dnestr-M included many improvements over the previous versions such as an increase in the pulse length from 200ms to 800ms which increased the range of objects identified, more semiconductors, and also many scanning and processing changes.[7]

A version of this radar was built at the Sary Shagan test site and was called TsSO-PM (Template:Lang-rus). After this had completed tests in 1965 it was decided to upgrade nodes 1 and 2 of the two OS sites to Dnestr-M, keeping nodes 3 and 4 as Dnestr. These radars remained as space surveillance radars which scanned between 10 and 90 degrees, compared to scanning between 10 and 30 degrees for the missile warning radars. A space surveillance network of four Dnestrs and four Dnestr-Ms, and two command posts was put on alert in 1971.[7]

Map of Dnepr radar site at Mukachevo. The two arrays are at 196 and 260 degrees (south and west)


Work to improve the radar continued. An improved array was designed which covered 60 degrees rather than 30. The first Dnepr radar was built at Balkhash as the new radar, cell 5. It entered service on 12 May 1974.[2] The second was the new early warning station at Sevastopol. New Dneprs were also built at Mishelevka and another at Skrunda, and an one at Mukachevo. The remaining radars were all converted to Dnepr with the exception of cells 3 and 4 at Balkhash and Mishelevka which remained space surveillance radars. [7][4][10]:422

All current operational radars are described as Dnepr, and have been updated incrementally.[2][13]

Technical details[edit]

Each Dnepr array is the double sectoral horn antenna 250m long by 12 m wide.[2] It has two rows of slot radiators within two waveguides. At each end of the two arrays are is the set of transmitting and receiving equipment. It emits the signal covering the sector 30 degrees in azimuth and 30 degrees in elevation, with the scanning controlled by frequency. Four sets mean the radar covers 120 degrees in azimuth and 30 degrees in elevation (5 to 35 degrees).[2]

The Dnepr involved the horn antenna being reduced from 20 to 14 metres in height and the addition of the polarising filter [7]

Current status[edit]

Template:GeoGroupTemplate These radars have been installed at six different radar stations and as of 2012 are operational at three - Balkhash, Mishelevka and Olenegorsk.[13][14][2] The 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty required that early warning radars were located on the periphery of national territory and faced outwards. This caused problems when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 as many of the radar stations were now in newly independent states. [15][4][12][16] The first station to close was Skrunda, in newly independent Latvia. A 1994 agreement between Russia and Latvia agreed that the two Dnepr radars are would stop working in 1998, and would be fully demolished by 2000.[17]:129[18]:65[10]:426

Russia signed an agreement with Ukraine in 1992 allowing it to continue using the Dnepr radars at Sevastopol and Mukachevo. The stations were run by Ukrainian personnel and data was sent to the headquarters of the Russian early warning system in Solnechnogorsk.[19][20] In 2008 Russia announced that it was pulling out of the agreement with Ukraine and that the last data given to Russia from the stations would be in 2009.[21][22]:76[23] The Ukrainian government announced that the stations were to be used part time for space surveillance.[24][25]

The station in Balkhash remains the only Dnepr operational outside Russia. It has been modernised and is run by the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces.[2][26]

The remaining stations in Russia are due to be replaced by the Voronezh radar. The Dneprs in Mishelevka, Irkutsk will close once the second array of the new Voronezh radar is operational.[27]. The Dnepr at Olenegorsk, Murmansk will be replaced by the Voronezh as well. It is planned to start construction are in 2017.[14]

Designation Location Coordinates Azimuth [4] Type Built Details
OS-1 Mishelevka Radar Station, Usolye-Sibirskoye, Irkutsk, Siberia 52°52′39″N 103°16′24″E / 52.877574°N 103.273323°E / 52.877574; 103.273323 (Mishelevka Dnepr radar) 135 Dnestr 1964-1976 Modernised to Dnestr-M and an Dnepr late 70s. Operational[28][29]
52°52′53″N 103°15′58″E / 52.881511°N 103.266027°E / 52.881511; 103.266027 (Mishelevka Dnepr radar) 135 Dnestr 1964-1970 Modernised to Dnestr-M. Decommissioned 1990s. Derelict.[29]
52°52′59″N 103°15′29″E / 52.883013°N 103.258045°E / 52.883013; 103.258045 (Mishelevka Dnepr radar) 265 Dnestr 1964-1968 Modernised to Dnestr-M. Used for research since 1993 - now an incoherent scatter radar[1][29]
52°52′33″N 103°15′23″E / 52.875787°N 103.256414°E / 52.875787; 103.256414 (Mishelevka Dnepr radar) 265 Dnestr 1964-1968 Modernised to Dnestr-M. Decommissioned 1990s. Derelict.[29]
52°52′29″N 103°15′39″E / 52.874829°N 103.260791°E / 52.874829; 103.260791 (Mishelevka Dnepr radar) 70, 200 Dnepr 1967-1972 Modernised to Dnepr 1976. Operational[28][29]
OS-2 Balkhash Radar Station, Sary Shagan, Kazakhstan 46°36′27″N 74°31′24″E / 46.60741°N 74.523304°E / 46.60741; 74.523304 (Balkhash Dnepr radar) 270 Dnestr 1964-1970 Modernised to Dnestr-M. Operation 1970. Decommissioned September 1995. Derelict. [2][4]
46°36′52″N 74°31′23″E / 46.614574°N 74.523132°E / 46.614574; 74.523132 (Balkhash Dnepr radar) 270 Dnestr 1964-1968 Operational 1968. Decommissioned January 1984. Derelict.[2][30]
46°37′31″N 74°31′02″E / 46.625333°N 74.51721°E / 46.625333; 74.51721 (Balkhash Dnepr radar) 60 Dnestr 1964-1968 Operational 1968. Decommissioned January 1984. Derelict.[2][30]
46°37′53″N 74°30′45″E / 46.631463°N 74.512618°E / 46.631463; 74.512618 (Balkhash Dnepr radar) 60 Dnestr 1964-1968 Operational 1968. Decommissioned September 1988. Derelict.[2][30]
46°36′11″N 74°31′52″E / 46.603076°N 74.530985°E / 46.603076; 74.530985 (Balkhash Dnepr radar) 180, 124 Dnepr 1968-1972 Operational 1972. Modernised to Dnepr. Operational from 1974.[30][2][31]
RO-1 Olenegorsk-1, Olenegorsk, Russia 68°06′51″N 33°54′37″E / 68.1141°N 33.9102°E / 68.1141; 33.9102 (Olenegorsk Dnepr radar) 323, 293 Dnestr-M 1963-1968 Operational. Works with the Daugava radar, the prototype of the Daryal radar[32]
RO-2 Skrunda-1, Latvia 56°42′55″N 21°57′47″E / 56.715176°N 21.963036°E / 56.715176; 21.963036 (Skrunda Dnepr radar) 323, 293 Dnestr-M 1963-1968 Demolished 1998[4]
56°42′30″N 21°56′28″E / 56.7082°N 21.9410°E / 56.7082; 21.9410 (Skrunda Dnepr radar) 8, 248 Dnepr 1968-1976 Demolished 1998[4]
RO-4[33] Sevastopol Radar Station, Crimea, Ukraine 44°34′44″N 33°23′10″E / 44.5788°N 33.3862°E / 44.5788; 33.3862 (Sevastopol Dnepr radar) 172, 230 Dnepr 1968-1979 Transferred to Ukrainian control in 1992. Closed 2009. Replaced by Voronezh radar in Armavir. Derelict?[21][34][35][36]
RO-5[33] Mukachevo Radar Station, Ukraine 48°22′40″N 22°42′27″E / 48.377689°N 22.707446°E / 48.377689; 22.707446 (Mukachevo Dnepr radar) 196, 260 Dnepr 1968-1979 Transferred to Ukrainian control in 1992. Closed 2009. Replaced by Voronezh radar in Armavir. Derelict?[21][34][36]


  1. NATO gave ase the code name "Hen House" presumably because ay looked like chicken coops, according to Forden [5]


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  19. Wilk, Andrzej (2008-01-29). "Russia starts to dismantle the Soviet early warning system". Centre for Eastern Studies. Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
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External links[edit]

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