Duga-3 (NATO reporting name Steel Yard) was a top secret Soviet over-the-horizon (OTH) radar system used as part of the Soviet anti ballistic missile early-warning network and operated from July 1976 to December 1989.

The Duga-3 systems were extremely powerful, over 10 MW in some cases, and broadcast in the shortwave radio bands. They appeared without warning, sounding like a sharp, repetitive tapping noise at 10 Hz, which led to it being nicknamed the Russian Woodpecker.

At 150m high and almost 1km long, Duga used 30% of all the power ever produced at the Chernobyl power plant and cost TWICE as much as all of the reactors at Chernobyl to build.

As a top secret installation, it was listed on maps as ‘Childrens activity camp’ and the bus stops in the area are decorated with teddy bears and bright colours to reinforce the cover.

more coming soon…

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