Duga and Cold War Epoch Technology

A special opportunity to study about Duga OTH radar project and Soviet computer technologies.


This is our attempt to tell much more than a general overview about this well-known location in the Zone.
Although the antenna array is the most impressive element of Duga, it is, let's say, just a tip of a iceberg. But still, with some attention to details, it is possible to understand and recover very much.

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What it is all about

The autonomous town of Chernobyl-2 was one of 6 components of Duga (eng. "Arc") over-the-horizon radar complex, designed in 1960s to detect launches of U.S. ICBMs to Soviet Union. This project was one of the most visionary, complicated and classified projects of Soviet defence complex.

The most major landmark there is impressive antenna array of 2 phased grids. Same time, as Chernobyl disaster caused a contamination of town, being followed by end of Cold War, and eventually, cancellation of Duga project — and all the other 5 sites were destroyed, except array and structures of Chernobyl-2. Most of the equipment was dismantled and removed, sometimes — intentionally destroyed.

Program description

On this program you will learn about:

  • History of the Duga project, personalities involved and milestones of it, including test installation Duga-N, ionosphere probing system Krug and battle-operation radars;
  • Basics of ionospehere probing and physics behind, as well as about foreign projects in the same field;
  • Architecture and history of specialized Soviet mainframe computer systems that were in use on site;
  • Soviet general-purpose computers of Unified System of the Socialistic countries (ЕС ЭВМ). This part will be especially handy if you later go to Chernobyl NPP internal visit, as partly the same equipment was in use as a part of the SKALA reactor control mainframe;
  • General aspects of the Cold war history from the Soviet side.


  • In full format, this program works as a part of a multi-day tour. Partly it is on site, partly not.
  • As Duga operated in a period of Russian occupation of our country, all writings on site are in Russian. If you speak/read Russian or at least can read cyrillic aplhabet — it will be very handy.
  • As all places on our programs, this place is not an amusement park. So we expect that you know basics of safe stay on abandoned territories. If no — we will teach, but be ready to learn.
  • If you have knowledge in electronics (including reading old schematics), modular math, wave physics, it is very good. If you understand and can explain, what is pictured below, then it is absolutely wonderful:

A mysterious circuit diagram


No, we will not climb the antenna. We are crazy, but not suicidal. No, even not just one level — please.
If you have problem with relatively long stay in cold and humid places, let us know first.

How to book

  • Booking is possible as an extension of any of our tour itineraries.
  • The best it works as a part of multi-day tour, as we will need a lot of time for discussions.

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