The Okno and Krona Space Surveillance Systems

Russia’s Okno and Krona space surveillance systems are profiled in a newly updated open-source documentary collection (pdf) by former CIA analyst Allen Thomson.

The precise location of the Okno facility, which is in Tajikistan, has not been publicly identified.

But last year, observed Mr. Thomson, a new “Krona-N radar site near Nakhodka was found in Google Earth (not by me) and the head of the Russian Space Forces says it’s going to be put into operation starting this year.”

“Like Krona Classic in the Caucasus, this is going to be an imaging radar,” he said. “Together with the 3-meter adaptive optics telescope being built in Siberia, the Krona radars will give Russia an excellent, all-weather capability to get high-resolution images of foreign satellites of interest. The new National Reconnaissance Office spysats scheduled for launch in the next few years seem likely to be among those.”

The new documentary collection is mostly in Russian, with selected translations and some nice images. See “Sourcebook on the Okno and Krona Space Surveillance Sites” by Allen Thomson.

No Responses to “The Okno and Krona Space Surveillance Systems”

  1. Anon January 31, 2008 at 12:11 PM #

    I don’t get it, what will Russia gain from taking pictures of US spysats?

  2. WS February 1, 2008 at 10:06 AM #

    Given the current row over our (the US) plans for a ballistic missile system, it seems quite obvious that these space surveillance systems will be used by the Russians to gather intelligence on the development, deployment and capabilities of that system. Could this be the beginning of a new type of arms race?

  3. Allen Thomson February 1, 2008 at 8:27 PM #

    I don’t get it, what will Russia gain from taking pictures of US spysats?

    Good question. The answer seems to be that they’ll get some modest amount of technical intelligence on the satellites. Measuring the aperture of optical spysats, seeing the configuration of the antennas of radar ones. Checking out solar panel areas to derive power, seeing which way they’re pointing to get a handle on the targets of interest.

    Worthy stuff all, though probably not exactly history-changing.

  4. WS February 8, 2008 at 7:33 PM #

    Re: Previous comment
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7234817.stm