At one point during the recent dispute about gas prices, Ukraine hinted that it may reconsider the price Russia is paying for the information provided by early-warning radars on Ukrainian territory (in Sevastopol and Mukachevo). The use of the radar sites is governed by the agreement that the two countries signed in 1997, which says that Ukraine operates the radars and sends the information collected by them to the central command post of the Russian early-warning system. For this information Russia agreed to pay some $1.2 million a year (this sounds kind of low - I should check the source).

Now that Ukraine mentioned increasing the price, Russia "retaliated" by dusting off the new "modular" early-warning radar. This time it was announced that the radar entered initial tests in December 2005. More details have been made available yesterday - the name of the new radar is Voronezh-DM. It was developed by the NIIDAR (Scientific Research Institute of Long-Range Radio Communication) to replace the currently deployed Dnepr and Daryal radar stations (including Dneprs in Mukachevo and Sevastopol). As I mentioned in my previous post about this radar, I have my doubts about the extent to which it can be an adequate replacement of the large phased-array Daryals. But this doesn't mean it cannot be good for a range of specialized tasks - from space surveillance to missile tracking.