In the end of the 1970s - beginning of the 1980s all the world community was under the impact of Hollywood "Star Wars". At the same time under the iron curtain and high secrecy the Soviet "Evil Empire" was transforming the Hollywood dreams into reality. Soviet cosmonauts flew into space armed with laser guns "blasters", new battle stations and space fighters were being designed and Soviet "laser tanks" were slowly crawling along the Earth...
One of the organizations that designed combat laser stations was R&D "Astrophysics". In 1982 they put into service the first self-moving laser station 1K11 "Stilet".
The task of the station was to oppose optoelectronic surveillance systems and weapons control in a battlefield in severe climate and operational conditions.
Its combat qualities were outstanding for that time, nowadays they still meet the requirements of defence and tactic operations conducting.
"Stilet" was accepted for service but was not produced in lots. Two pre-production vehicles remained unique. Nevertheless their existence in the time of crazy total Soviet secrecy was noticed by Americans.
Here's how the Soviet laser station was imagined abroad. The picture is from «Soviet Military Power» magazine.
SLK 1К11 «Stilet» - the picture from "ATM" magazine #5 2010, Czech Republic.
Remains of the "Stilet"
Formally the station is still into service though not much has been known about it for a long time. After the tests it turned out the stations were not of much need. The USSR collapse scattered them about the post-Soviet territory and turned them into scrap metal. One vehicle, for example, was found near St. Petersburg in the end of 1990s-beginning of the 2000s. Another one was noticed in Kharkiv by amateur historians.In both cases the laser systems had been dismantled long ago. The Kharkiv finding was in a better condition. They say that the St. Petersburg station has been finally utilized...