BRDS DF-2 Transportation
The main directions of the improvement of Chinese strategic forces in the 1960-1970 years and measures to reduce damage from a nuclear strike
To make it easier to understand how and in what conditions the first early-warning missile radars were created in the PRC, we will consider the development of Chinese strategic nuclear forces (SNF) in the 1960-1970 years.
The aggravation of relations between China and the Soviet Union in the mid-1960's led to a series of armed clashes on the border between the countries, using armored vehicles, barreled artillery and MLRS. Under these conditions, both sides, which have recently declared their “friendship forever,” began to seriously consider the possibility of a full-scale military conflict, including the use of nuclear weapons. However, the "hot heads" in Beijing were largely cooled by the fact that the USSR had an overwhelming superiority in the number of nuclear warheads and their delivery vehicles. There was a real possibility of delivering a decapitating and disarming sudden nuclear missile attack on Chinese command centers, communication centers and important defense facilities. The situation for the Chinese side was further aggravated by the fact that the flying time of Soviet medium-range ballistic missiles (BRRS) was very small. This hindered the timely evacuation of the top Chinese military-political leadership and extremely limited the time for deciding on a retaliatory strike.
Under the prevailing unfavorable conditions, in order to minimize possible damage in the event of a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons in China, they tried to maximize the decentralization of the military command and control bodies. Regardless of economic difficulties and the extremely low standard of living of the population, very large underground anti-nuclear shelters for military equipment were built on a large scale. Shelters for heavy N-6 bombers (a copy of the Tu-16), which were the main Chinese strategic carriers, were cut down at a number of air bases in the rocks.
Along with the construction of underground shelters for equipment and highly protected command posts, the Chinese nuclear potential and delivery vehicles were improved. A test of a Chinese nuclear bomb suitable for practical use was conducted on May 14, 1965 (explosion power 35 kt), and the first test release of a thermonuclear explosive device from the N-6 bomber occurred on June 17, 1967 (explosion power more than 3 Mt). China became the fourth thermonuclear power in the world after the USSR, USA and Great Britain. The time interval between the creation of atomic and hydrogen weapons in China turned out to be shorter than in the USA, USSR, Great Britain and France. However, the results obtained were largely depreciated by the Chinese realities of those years. The main difficulty was that in the conditions of the Cultural Revolution, which led to a decline in industrial production, a sharp decline in technical culture, which had an extremely negative impact on the quality of high-tech products, it was very difficult to create modern aviation and rocket technology. In addition, in the 1960s and 1970s, China experienced an acute shortage of uranium ore necessary for the production of nuclear warheads. In this connection, even with the necessary number of carriers, the capabilities of the Chinese Strategic Nuclear Forces (SNF) were rated low.
Due to the insufficient flight range of the H-6 jet and the low pace of their serial construction, a partial modernization of the Tu-4 long-range bombers delivered by the USSR was carried out in the PRC. On some machines, piston engines were replaced by AI-20M turboprops, the production license of which was transferred along with the An-12 military transport aircraft. However, the Chinese military leadership was aware that the chances of bombers with nuclear bombs to break through to Soviet strategic targets are slim, and therefore the main emphasis was placed on the development of rocket technology.
The first Chinese medium-range ballistic missile was the DF-2 (Dongfeng-2). It is believed that when it was created by Chinese designers, the technical solutions used in the Soviet P-5 were used. The single-stage liquid-propellant engine DF-2 liquid-propellant rocket engine (LRE) had a probable circular deviation (CVR) from the aiming point within 3 km, with a maximum flight range of 2000 km. This missile could hit targets in Japan and in a large part of the USSR. In order to launch a rocket from a technical state that corresponded to constant readiness, it took more than 3,5 hours. On alert there were about 70 missiles of this type.
After the refusal of the Soviet leadership to provide technical documentation for the R-12 BRDS, the Chinese government in the early 1960's decided to develop its own rocket with similar characteristics. The single-stage DF-3 heavy-duty ballistic missile, equipped with a low-boiling liquid propellant rocket engine, entered service in the 1971 year. The flight range was up to 2500 km. At the first stage, the main objectives for the DF-3 were two US military bases in the Philippines: Clark (Air Force) and Subic Bay (Navy). However, due to the deterioration of Soviet-Chinese relations until 60, PUs were deployed along the Soviet border.
Based on the DF-3 SLBM, a two-stage DF-1960 with a launch range of more than 4 km was created at the end of the 4500's. The reach of this missile was enough to hit the 3 MT warhead with the most important targets on the territory of the USSR, in connection with which the DF-4 received the unofficial name of “Moscow rocket”. With a mass of more than 80000 kg and a length of 28 m, the DF-4 was the first Chinese mine-based missile. But at the same time, it was only stored in the mine, before the launch, the rocket was lifted with the help of a special hydraulic elevator to the launch pad. The total number of DF-4 delivered to the troops is estimated at approximately 40 units.
At the end of the 1970, the DF-5 heavy-class ICBM tests were completed. A missile with a launch mass of more than 180 t could carry a payload of up to 3,5 t. In addition to the monoblock warhead with a capacity of 3 MT, the payload also included missile defense systems. QUO at launch at maximum range in 13000 km was 3 -3,5 km. The preparation time for the DF-5 ICBMs for launch is 20 minutes.
ICBM DF-5 before test launch
DF-5 became the first Chinese intercontinental-range missile. It was designed from the very beginning for mine-based. But according to experts, the level of protection of Chinese silos is much lower than Soviet and American. In this regard, in the PRC there were up to ten false positions per mine with a missile put on combat duty. Above the head of a real mine, fake fast-moving buildings were built. This should have made it difficult to reveal the coordinates of a real missile position by satellite reconnaissance.
A major drawback of the Chinese ballistic missiles and ICBMs developed in the 1960-1970 years was their inability to participate in the counter-strike because of the need for lengthy prelaunch preparations. In addition, Chinese silos in terms of protection against the damaging factors of nuclear weapons were significantly inferior to Soviet and American missile mines, which made them vulnerable to a sudden "disarming strike". However, it should be recognized that the creation and adoption by the Second Artillery Corps of mine-launched ballistic missiles DF-4 and DF-5 was a significant step forward in strengthening the Chinese strategic nuclear forces, and was one of the reasons for creating a missile defense system around Moscow that could protect against a limited number of ballistic missiles.
After the adoption of nuclear weapons in the PRC, aviation became its main carrier. If the development and adoption of ground-based ballistic missiles in China, albeit with difficulty, but managed, then with the creation of the naval component of the strategic nuclear forces did not work out. The first submarine with ballistic missiles in the PLA Navy was a diesel-electric submarine of the 031G project, built at Shipyard No. 199 in Komsomolsk-on-Amur under the 629 project. The disassembled boat was delivered in parts to Dalian, where it was assembled and lowered into the water. At the first stage, the submarine with airborne number 200 was armed with three R-11MF liquid single-stage missiles, with a range of 150 km starting from the above-water position.
DEPL Ave. 031G at Qingdao
Due to the fact that the license for the production of the R-11MF was not transferred to the PRC, the number of delivered missiles was insignificant, and they quickly became obsolete, the only missile boat of the project 031G project was used in various experiments. In 1974, the boat was converted for testing ballistic missiles launched from submerged position (SLBM) JL-1.
In 1978, a nuclear submarine with ballistic missiles (SSBN) of the 092 project was laid in China. SSBN 092 Ave. “Xia” was armed with 12 mines for storing and launching two-stage solid-fuel ballistic missiles JL-1, with a launch range of more than 1700 km. The missiles were equipped with monoblock thermonuclear warhead power: 200 — 300 CT. Due to many technical problems and a number of accidents during testing, the first Chinese SSBN was put into operation in the 1988 year. Apparently, the Chinese nuclear submarine Xia was not successful. She did not carry out any military service and did not leave the inland Chinese waters for the entire period of operation. Other boats on this project in the PRC were not built anymore.
The history of the creation of Chinese SPRN
Due to not quite understandable reasons, it is not customary in our country to widely cover history the creation of high-tech defense products in China, this also applies fully to radar equipment. Therefore, many Russian citizens are inclined to think that in the PRC they have recently begun to concern themselves with the development of SPRN radars and interceptors of the missile defense system, and Chinese experts have no experience in this area. In fact, this is not at all true, the first attempts to create radars designed to fix the warheads of ballistic missiles and ballistic missile warheads in China were made in the middle of the 1960's. In 1964, the program of creating the national missile defense of China, known as the “640 Project,” was officially launched. According to information published in official Chinese sources, the initiator of this project was Mao Zedong, who expressed concern about China’s vulnerability to the nuclear threat and stated: “If there is a spear, then there must be a shield.”
The development of a missile defense system, which was supposed to protect Beijing from a nuclear missile strike at the first stage, involved specialists trained and trained in the Soviet Union. However, during the Cultural Revolution, a significant part of the Chinese scientific and technological intelligentsia was subjected to repression, which is why the project stalled. The situation required personal intervention by Mao Zedong, and after a joint meeting of senior party and military leaders, which was attended by more than 30 high-ranking scientists, Prime Minister Zhou Enlai approved the creation of the Second Academy, which was entrusted with the responsibility for creating all elements of the missile defense system. Within the framework of the Academy in Beijing, the "210 Institute" was formed, whose specialists were to create anti-ballistic and anti-satellite weapons. Radar, communications and information display equipment were run by the 14 Institute (Nanking Institute of Electronic Technology).
It is clear that building even a local missile defense system is impossible without the creation of over-horizon and over-horizon radars for the timely detection of ballistic missile warheads. In addition, radars are required that are capable of continuous tracking of targets in the area of responsibility and coupled with a computer to calculate the trajectories of the combat units of the BRRS and ICBMs, which is necessary to provide accurate target designation when aiming missile interceptors.
In 1970, at 140 km northwest of Beijing, construction began on the Type 7010 SPRN radar. A phased array radar with dimensions of 40X20 meters, located on the slope of Mount Huanyang, at an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level, was intended to control outer space from the USSR. It was also planned to build two more stations of the same type in other areas of the PRC, but due to their high cost, this could not be realized.
Radar Antenna Type 7010
According to information published in the Chinese media, a 300-330 MHz frequency range radar had a pulse power of 10 MW and a detection range of about 4000 km. The field of view was 120 °, the elevation angle of 4 was 80 °. The station was capable of simultaneously tracking 10 targets. To calculate their trajectories, a DJS-320 computer was used.
Type 7010 Radar Monitoring Area
The commissioning of the Type 7010 radar took place in the 1974 year. In addition to combat duty, this station was repeatedly involved in various experiments and successfully recorded pilot launches of Chinese ballistic missiles. The radar demonstrated its rather high capabilities in the 1979 year, when the calculations of the Type 7010 and Type 110 radars were able to accurately calculate the trajectory and time of falling debris from the decommissioned American orbital station Skylab. In 1983, with the help of Type 7010 SPRN radar, the Chinese predicted the time and place of the fall of the Soviet Cosmos-1402 satellite. It was an emergency satellite US-A of the marine legendary radar reconnaissance and target designation system Legend. However, along with the achievements, there were also problems - the Type 7010 radar lamp equipment was not very reliable and very expensive and difficult to operate. To maintain the health of electronic components, the air supplied to the underground premises had to be removed from excessive moisture. Although a power line was drawn to the SPRN radar, for operation of the station, for greater reliability, energy was supplied from diesel power generators that consumed a lot of fuel.
Google Earth satellite image: Type 7010 SPRN radar antenna on the slope of Mount Huanyang
Operation of the Type 7010 radar continued with varying success until the end of the 1980's, after which it was mothballed. In the second half of the 1990, the dismantling of the main equipment began. By that time, the station, built on electrovacuum devices, was hopelessly outdated.
Currently, the area where the first Chinese SPRN radar is located is open for free visits, and organized tours are carried here. The antenna with the phased array remains in the same place and is a kind of monument to the first achievements of the Chinese electronic industry.
A radar with a Type 110 movable parabolic antenna was developed for the missile defense systems developed in the PRC to provide accurate tracking and target designation. This radar, like the Type 7010, was designed by specialists from the 14 Nanking Institute of Electronic Technology.
Type 110 radar antenna inside a transparent dome
The construction of the Type 110 radar in the highlands of southern Yunnan began in the late 1960's. To protect from the effects of adverse meteorological factors, a parabolic antenna with a mass of about 17 t and a diameter of 25 is placed inside a radio-transparent sphere with a height of about 37 meters. The weight of the whole radar with a fairing exceeded 400 t. The radar installation was placed at an altitude of 2036 m above sea level in the vicinity of Kunming.
Type 110 Radar
A dual-band monopulse radar operating at the 250-270 MHz and 1-2 GHz frequencies was put into trial operation in the 1971 year. At the first stage, high-altitude balloons, aircraft, and low-orbit satellites were used to debug the station. Soon after the start of the first tests, radars with peak power of 2,5 MW were able to accompany satellites at ranges of more than 2000 km. The accuracy of measuring objects in near space was higher than design. The final commissioning of the Type 110 radar took place in the 1977 year, after state tests, during which it was possible to track and accurately determine the flight parameters of the DF-2 ballistic missile. In January and July of the 1979, the combat calculations of the Type 7010 and Type 110 stations carried out practical testing of joint actions to detect and track the warheads of medium-range ballistic missiles DF-3. In the first case, Type 110 accompanied the warhead for 316 s, in the second - 396 s. The maximum tracking range was about 3000 km. In May 1980, the Type 110 radar accompanied the DF-5 ICBMs during test launches. At the same time, it was possible not only to timely detect warheads, but also based on the calculation of the trajectory with high accuracy to indicate the place of their fall. In the future, in addition to carrying out combat duty, a radar designed to accurately measure coordinates and build trajectories of ICBM and infantry ballistic missile warheads actively participated in the Chinese space program. According to foreign sources, the Type 110 radar has been modernized and is still in working condition.
The results obtained during the design of Type 110 radars at the end of the 1970 were used to create radars known in the West as REL-1 and REL-3. Stations of this type are capable of tracking aerodynamic and ballistic targets. The detection range of aircraft flying at high altitudes reaches 400 km, objects in near space are fixed at a distance of more than 1000 km.
Google Earth satellite image: REL-3 radar in the vicinity of Hulun-Buir, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
REL-1 / 3 radars deployed in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and in Heilongjiang Province control the Russian-Chinese border. The REL-1 radar in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region targets the disputed sections of the Sino-Indian border.
From all of the above, it follows that in the first half of the 1970's in China, it was possible not only to lay the foundations of nuclear missile forces, but also to create the prerequisites for creating a missile attack warning system. At the same time as over-the-horizon radars capable of seeing objects in near space, work was being carried out in China on over-horizon “double-hop” radars. A timely warning of a nuclear missile attack, combined with the possibility of radar tracking of warheads of ballistic missiles, gave a theoretical possibility of intercepting them. To combat ICBMs and infantry ballistic missiles, the 640 Project developed interceptor missiles, lasers, and even large-caliber anti-aircraft guns. But this will be discussed in the next part of the review.
To be continued ...