Index

TV Shows Secret Missile Defense Unit

Moscow NTV 30 Mar 97
From the "Segodnya" program: Video report by Yevgeniy Kirichenko, identified by caption

[Kirichenko over video of missile launch, radomes in snowy landscape, interior of space tracking center, military detail marching into building] "McConnell, Little Rock, and Davis Mountain is where the U.S. keeps the Titan" -- Zhitomir Military Radioelectronics College cadets used to memorize this rhyme to help them remember the locations where the potential enemy's ICBMs were based. But times have changed and Russia no longer has a potential enemy nor the colleges where specialists were trained for forces whose name could not even be mentioned aloud.

[Kirichenko to camera against backdrop of a white building with a large radome] Until quite recently the officers of this unit were not allowed to disclose in what troop category they were serving. However, a year ago when duty personnel registered the launch of a foreign state's missile in the area of the Norwegian Sea, the whole world learned that Russia has space missile defense forces.

[Camera switches to pyramid-shaped building] They have unique weapons which Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beriya helped to develop way back. The facilities of these forces are surrounded by multiple barbed wire fences. And guards are instructed to shoot without warning at anyone seeking to infiltrate the territory of the secret facility. Passes are checked not only on entering but also on leaving the facility. And that includes people whose faces are entirely familiar. The explanation for this strict secrecy is very simple. An antimissile defense system like Russia's does not exist anywhere else in the world. A minute after the launch of a ballistic missile anywhere in the world, the system will be ready to intercept and destroy it. And all this will take place in automatic mode, without human intervention. Do not be surprised, Moscow and its inhabitants are indeed protected not by people but by a giant computer inside a huge pyramid-shaped radar station. It has been dubbed "the eighth wonder of the world" in the West. This happened immediately after a joint Russian-American test to identify space objects.

[Aleksandr Bader, space tracking center commander, identified by caption] The station made it possible to detect objects the size of a tennis ball in space. No other station in the world was capable of detecting objects of this size.

[Kirichenko over video of computer graphics] Even five years ago the results of this type of experiment would have plunged Americans into depression. However, today when Russia has been unable to launch a single military satellite during the past three years because of a lack of funds, it is for us to be depressed. If the missile attack warning system is not regularly updated, the reliable missile shield of which we are so proud will simply crack up in a number of years.

[Viktor Smirnov, commander of space missile defense troops, identified by caption] To say that we are ahead is to talk about the past.

[Kirichenko] Does this mean that we are approximately level?

[Smirnov] I would even say that we are probably lagging behind. [video shows missile launch, radomes in snowy landscape, interior of space tracking center, military detail marching into white building, correspondent to camera against backdrop of white building with large radome, exterior of pyramid- shaped building, guards in grounds, multiple barbed wire fences, gate, people on bus having passes checked, computer graphics of missile interception, interior of computer building, Bader interview, more computer graphics, woman showing empty purse, children playing in grounds, dilapidated interiors, Smirnov interview] [ -- passage omitted -- profile of 76-year-old Anatoliy Basistov, general designer of antimissile system, filmed at home with grandchildren]

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