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BAKU, August 1 (Itar-Tass) — Within two years Russia will finish work to reconstruct the Gabala Radar Station, the Azerbaijani press agency APA reported on Monday.
An agency source from the military circles says that reconstruction work is currently underway at the radar station, equipment and antennas are being replaced, in connection with which the station does not operate to its full capacity.
“The equipment of the station with state-of-the-art devices will be completed before 2012, which, in its turn, will enhance the possibilities of the radar station in comparison with other classical stations,” the source said.
“At the same time the negative impact of the radar station on the environment will be reduced to a minimum,” the source added. Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who visited Baku last week, said to Russian reporters that “Russia has prepared offers on a further operation of the Gabala Radar Station, including its modernization”.
He also noted that Russia “has certain plans for overhaul of the Gabala Radar Station,” and said a working group will be set up shortly which will arrive in Baku to discuss with Azerbaijani colleagues technical issues concerning further operation of the radar station.
The Gabala Radar Station (officially the Daryal Information and Analytical Centre) was commissioned in 1985. It can control the territory within the radius of 6,000 kilometres. In 2002, Azerbaijan leased the station to Russia for ten years. The term expires in December 2012.
Under the ten-year agreement signed in 2002, Russia pays the annual Gabala rent of $7 million to Azerbaijan.
Russian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Vladimir Dorokhin told the local media in the beginning of June that Russia was productively cooperating with Azerbaijan in the fulfillment of the Gabala radar agreement. “The period of validity of the agreement on the rent and terms of operation of the Daryal Information and Analytical Center in Gabala is due to expire on December 24, 2012,” he said.
“The Gabala Radar Station fully accomplishes its mission in the interests of the Russian Federation. I dare to hope that this mission also meets the interests of other countries, among them Azerbaijan,” he said.
The Gabala Radar Station was put into service in 1985 as an element of the Soviet missile attack warning system. It is currently owned by Azerbaijan and rented by Russia to control the southern sector of the aerospace and to warn about possible ballistic missile launches from Iran, Pakistan, India and some other states.
Moscow has offered the United States and NATO to use the radar station in the development of the European ABM network. U.S. and Russian experts visited the radar station but no agreement was reached.