11 Date With Lena M

Date With Lena M

Posted on August 1, 2013 by team

Back in the mid 1950s there was made a decision in the USSR to develop new radar stations not as mobile, but stationary ones. It allowed to create big antennas, not to save on equipment and its dimensions, and to protect this equipment from frost and heat. One of such radar stations was named Lena M or P-70.  The station was built in 1960-68 for operation on the long frontiers of the country.

The station had a maxium power output per unit area of the antenna – 17000 W/m2. The power of the transmitter amounted to 500 W per a square meter.

Lena P-70 was the world first radar station with a complex probe signal. Compressing a signal 50 times Lena P-70 could detect targets at the distance of 2300 km (it was 10 times longer than the previous development).

There were built eleven Lena stations in general. One of them is in Mongolia.

All the equipment was placed in a two-storey building covered with iron and equipped with hermetic doors.

For transportation of the whole station to the site of its installation they needed two eight-wheel carriages, 35 gondola cars, 128 KRAZ-2556 trucks, 150 helicopters of V-10 type and 22 aircrafts An-22. The station was assembled by a special team consisting of 45 workers, the period of assembly was equal to 210 days.

“Heating is on”.

Control panel.

“Order of activation/deactivation of the stations”.

Equipment of the transmitter.

The station had four amplifying stages.

Air cooling tubes of the amplifyers.

Modular units of the the transmitter amplifyers.

Anode compartment of the basic oscillator.

In addition, on the second floor were the classroom, laboratory and workshop, rooms for spare parts and restroom for attendants, library, kitchen, toilet. Interestingly, the refrigerator with food was enclosed with hermetic doors.

“Soldier, the frontier is close, be vigilant!”.

Electric power system elements on the first floor.

The station was fully activated for 8-9 minutes (with operating voltage frequency converters) and 12 minutes – without them.

Mechanism of the antenna sweep drive.

Bantam tubes.

Parabolic reflector dimensions – 48×28 m. The whole structure was rotating for 360 degrees. The weight of the rotating part was 42 tons. The antenna could melt ice with thickness of 5 mm for 40 minutes consuming 300-350 kW.

Most of the cables were taken away.

via ralphmirebs

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11 Responses to “Date With Lena M”

  1. bobs says:

    Wow, that is the most amazing radar system I have ever seen! Thanks.

  2. john says:


  3. dave says:

    what an incredible waste of money. how many russians went hungry while the soviets built these monuments to nothing?

  4. guest says:

    On page 10: somebody was foolhardy enough to climb atop this rusty structure to take a photo?

  5. komar says:

    hallo dave,
    hungry – no!
    you dont forget it was ussr not usa!!!

  6. komar says:

    Hungry in Soviet-Union? No!
    It is not USA!

  7. Kent_Doub says:

    USSR did face credible threat from west. Must have worked. USSR was not ever invaded after construction of this.

  8. Ernos says:

    Looks insanely expensive.

  9. jimbo says:

    Thanks, Ralph Mirebs, for the excellent photo tour of one of the sites from the now unused network. There is a similar network in US which is being shut down and abandoned. (People in both countries should not worry, as their coverage is handled by newer installations, with the exception of near-space debris surveillance done by the the US sites.)

    Looking at your pictures I also admire your efforts and time – and the climb to the upper portion of the large ‘dish’ gave me chills; I very much appreciate the work you put into this photo-essay.

    I find it at once a sad, chilling, yet proud feeling to see places like this, to abhor the need for them and admire the engineering of the building and the fortitude of those stationed at them.

    This website, and yours, Ralph, if the translation software works well enough for me to spend time there, offer a wealth of insight. You and the others put in a lot of effort to bring stories to light, some that need telling, some that are simply a delight.

    Thank you.

  10. Muzzlehatch says:

    The 126 foot wide early warning radar at Camp Hero, Montauk, Long Island, New York. Built in 1960, shut down in 1981. Dish is kept up as a landmark for mariners. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-yHctOI7P1F8/T9UJEHG8MzI/AAAAAAAAAO8/YqQX_y6UACc/s1600/IMG_0517.jpg

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