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Cold War Radar

Operation Cerberus


Image showing the effect electronic counter-measures, such as jamming, could have on radar

Radar was an asset to have in the Cold War, and thus each side was trying to limit its use.  Across the West, people were working to hinder the radar of the enemy especially into the late 1950s. 

They were trying to get around jamming by implementing a wider frequency.  The Soviet Union was using radar to lead SAMs (Surface-to-Air Missiles) and the West wanted to find a way to move these missiles away from their targets.

Israel was also afraid of Soviet radar and of it supplying the Arab States around them.  One of their destroyers was sunk using radar during the Six-Day War in 1967. 

Thus Isreal invented Avshalom to use on their ships against Styx missiles from Soviet ships.  It jammed the radar of the missile, but more importantly gave it a new target to hit.  Therefore it would not only miss them, they could send it where they wanted.

Though it was a major step, the project was thought to be unrealistic until 1973 when it was proved.  It was hoped this could be applied to SAM anti-aircraft missiles as well.  If it were to be used in planes however, they would have less space for equipment and more area to cover.  The first Cerberus pods were made for Tornadoes in 1978.

Israel needed help with this project though, and turned to West Germany.  At this time, West Germany was looking to distance itself from the United States' control and had been researching electronic warfare. 

They were also looking for ways to gain information on Soviet Radar.  In East Germany, the Soviet radar was usually turned off so that they could not pick up on it.  West Germany tried to fly various planes into their airspace to tempt them, but the Soviets never gave in. 

The BND (the West German Bundesnachrichtendienst, intelligence) then created in the mid 1970s three stations to watch Soviet radars.  They would keep track of the frequencies used by the Soviets’ radar to use later.  The first was KASTAGNETTE was in northern Germany, the second in Italy near Lecce, and the third in Iran near Teheran. 

However, after the Iranian Revolution in 1979 they lost their station in Teheran, and instead moved to China next to the Sinxiang border shared with the Soviet Union.  This station was called LANZE.

This thus involved working with other countries’ intelligence groups as well.  It really was an international project.  These watched various Eastern European Warsaw Pact groups, including the Soviet Union.