Tomahawk Trap: How would Russia protect itself from NATO missiles?

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MOSCOW – Russia is building new radars for its missile warning system that covers threats from anywhere.

Any types of air targets will be detected at a distance of several thousand kilometers. In the coming years the Russian missile attack warning system will be reinforced with brand new radars beyond the Konteiner horizon. They operate with an increased viewing angle and can simultaneously track thousands of targets. The army will receive the first of these radars before the end of the year.

Against hypersom

Development of the 29B6 Konteiner two-coordinate radar station was initiated in the mid-1990s by engineers at the Long Range Radiocommunication Research Institute. The working principle of this radar is based on the reflection of terrestrial ionosphere radio waves, where the signal directed at a certain angle “bounces off” the ionized atmospheric layer and hits the target and, after being reflected by it, returns to the receptor.

This determines the exact location of the object, its speed and direction of flight. Most Konteiner are designed to detect aerodynamic targets at altitudes up to 100 kilometers. That is, they will not see ballistic missiles in flight, although they can detect their launch from the Earth’s surface.

These radars are capable of detecting and tracking not only large, relatively slow objects such as airplanes and cruise missiles, according to the developer, the station also recognizes hypersonic missiles at a record distance of 3,000 kilometers. In total, Konteiner can track 5,000 air objects of different types and characteristics at the same time.

The first copy of the Konteiner was put into experimental service in 2013. The transmitting part of the station is located in the Nizhny Novgorod region, while the receiving part is in Mordovia, where a field of nearly 150 30-meter antennas was installed. The site was chosen given that the Konteiner has a dead zone with a radius of 900 kilometers. Therefore, the station was placed in the interior of the country, where it will control the airspace of neighboring countries.

The first Konteiner spans west. Under his control is most of Europe, and hence the major NATO deployment areas. This is especially important in the context of the recent termination of the Mid-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The radar allows constant monitoring of NATO air bases and missiles.

According to Kirill Makarov, director-general of the Long-Distance Radiocommunication Research Institute, in the future these stations will protect Russia from all sides. Konteiner is expected to be deployed in the Far East, the northwest and the south.

In the vicinity

Another new element of the missile warning system is the radar wave beyond the coastal surface Podsolnukh (Sunflower) horizon . These radars will control the air and surface situation in Russia’s coastal economic zone. Their capabilities are more modest than Konteiner’s. These stations operate at a distance of up to 450 kilometers.

One of the main advantages of Podsolnukh is its flexibility in all weather conditions. It detects both stealth technology-made ships and planes as well as conventional equipment.

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In fully autonomous mode, the structure detects and tracks up to 300 marine objects and 100 air objects simultaneously. At the same time, the radar assesses them accurately, determining whether it is a group or isolated target, whether it is an air or surface target, as well as its size.

Radar information is readily received by the Coastal Defense command posts, where the decision on the use of anti-aircraft weaponry is made.

The first grouping to receive the Podsolnukh was the Caspian Flotilla. Missile ship crews regularly train their interaction with radar crews during exercises and receive the positions of the conditional targets in the Caspian Sea. The sailors recognize that with the new radar, it has become much easier to control their assigned maritime area and the airspace above it.

Russia has recently deployed Podsolnukh stations in the Far East and the Baltic region.

Intercontinental Threat

However, despite their high efficiency, Podsolnukh and Konteiner are only a support tool in the Missile Attack Alert System. The most important role here is played by pre-programmed Voronezh-type stations. They are designed for long-range detection, especially of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

With impressive capacities, one of the features of the station is the minimal time spent on assembly and deployment. The Voronezh comes standard in the form of standardized blocks and containers and is then quickly assembled on site, taking into account the operational and tactical conditions of the deployment area.

The radar of the first modification of the Voronezh-M deployed in the Leningrad region was received by the Russian military in 2006. It operates in the 1 meter range and covers the area from Morocco to Svalbard, Norway. Subsequent modifications with the “DM” and “SM” indices, respectively, work in decimeter and centimeter modes.

The ground level of the radar is spread all over Russia. Stations are on duty in the regions of Kaliningrad, Irkutsk, Orenburgo, Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk and Altai. In 2024, one more Voronezh will be placed in the Crimea.

Recall that construction of a staggered missile warning system began in the USSR in the early 1960s. The predecessor of the modern system was a system consisting of two Dnepr radar for ballistic missile detection in Murmansk and Riga, from which information was sent. to a command post in the Moscow region.

The first radars were huge structures with complex maintenance and huge energy consumption. After the collapse of the USSR, many components of the warning system were left outside Russia and ceased to function. However, some stations built by the Soviet Union, such as those in Belarus and Kazakhstan, are still in service today.

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