Strategic Weapons: Russia Buys Back Its Vision

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December28, 2006: One nasty side effect of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, was the destruction of the Russian ballistic missile early warning system. This came about because each of the fourteen new nations, carved out of the Soviet Union, got to keep whatever government property that was within the new borders. That meant many of the radar stations that formed the Soviet ICBM early warning system were now owned by foreign countries. A combination of disputes over money, and aging electronics, eventually put many of those early warning radars out of action. But, with the rising price of oil over the last few years, Russia had the cash to rebuild its ballistic missile early warning radar system. Recently, one of the newest facilities went on line outside St Petersburg. The new "Voronezh" radar was built in 18 months (versus over ten years for the ones it replaced), uses much less electricity, has a smaller staff and is more reliable. Russia has adopted much Western technology, and work practices, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and it all shows in this radar station. The St Petersburg facility replaces one that was in Latvia, and was dismantled in 2003, after going off line in 1999.

Similar radars are being built to replace defunct Soviet era radars now located in Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

 


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