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Secret militaty facility near Chernobyl nuclear site

Inside the Russian Woodpecker, the top secret military facility in the shadow of Chernobyl, We all know about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster but few have heard of the nearby secret military facility whose purpose is shrouded in mystery. News.com.au, Benedict Brook@BenedictBrook  23 June 19

“…….in the highest echelons of the Soviet military, Chernobyl had long been known for something else: an ominous top secret Cold War facility buried deep in the forest just a few kilometres from the notorious power plant.

To the USSR military it was known as the Duga array. To those who discovered its existence in the West it was dubbed the “Russian Woodpecker.” A cheery name that belied the fear and mystery that surrounded the facility.

When Chernobyl blew, it wasn’t just the city of Pripyat which disappeared off the map; so did the enormous military installation. It became bathed in radioactive dust and was left to rust in the exclusion zone, where it remains to this day.

Not that Duga was on any maps. It was marked, instead, as a children’s camp. But there were no kids here. Secret it may have been but come anywhere near it and it was hard to miss.

Built in 1976, from afar it looks like a giant wall towering over the forest. But get closer and it’s far more porous — a massive metal lattice work that stands some 50 stories tall and stretches for 500 meters long.

Despite its size, few outside of Chernobyl knew of its existence. Few of the West knew of it either — but then they began to hear it.

From the mid 1970s onwards a strange rapidly repeating interference began to be noticed on some radio frequencies. The incessant tapping was reminiscent of a woodpecker. Now and then, the signal would stray off little used frequencies and interrupt radio stations around the world.

THE RUSSIAN WOODPECKER’S ROLE

Ham radio enthusiasts, as well military experts, deduced the signal was coming from somewhere north of Kiev, now in Ukraine but at the time part of Moscow ruled USSR. The Duga array had successfully given away its own secret location.

Luke Johnson, who took a tour of the Duga for Atlas Obscura magazine, said it wasn’t just the west that was picking up the eerie signal from Chernobyl.

“Higher-end Soviet television sets were sold with a special ‘woodpecker jamming’ device built in. More alarmingly, the mysterious signal began to interfere with emergency frequencies for aircraft,” he wrote.

But what exactly was the purpose of the Russian Woodpecker? Speculation in the West was rife with some theories that it could control the weather or even that the huge structure transmitted some kind of mind control power.

At the time the US and USSR were at the height of the Cold War with thousands of nuclear tipped missiles ready to be launched at a moment’s notice.

The Duga’s main role was as a huge radar receiver, part of a network of facilities designed to detect the launch of missiles headed towards the USSR.

…….. THREE MINUTE WARNING

While most visitors to Chernobyl make a beeline for the power station and abandoned town of Pripyat, the Duga array remains off the beaten track.

“During the Cold War, even approaching this spot would have had dire consequences, but today there is just one guard, near a dilapidated guard house with wood smoke rising from the chimney,” writes Mr Johnson.

…… Masses of discarded computer terminals, that once would have provided the USSR with the three minute warning, now lie broken and battered in the snow.

“While the nuclear reactor remains a nexus of international concern, the Russian Woodpecker stands largely forgotten,” said Mr Nazarayan.

….. The distinctive tapping sound was last heard sometime around 1989. And with that, the Russian Woodpecker fell silent.

benedict.brook@news.com.au    https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/military/inside-the-russian-woodpecker-the-top-secret-material-facility-in-the-shadow-of-chernobyl/news-story/2b179ed778ac4b7f850c9fb27dff9d08

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June 24, 2019 - Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, Ukraine, weapons and war

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