In many regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, Northern and Southern America hail-falls annually cause damage to agricultural crops from 3 up to 20 %. Some cases are reported with hailfall damage of $ 200 — 300 millions.
The Russian rocket technology of hail protection is of the highest efficiency. Its application in 8 Republics of former USSR during 1981-2000, has ensured statistically significant reduction of losses from hail in 7 times. The costs of protection realization were paid back from 5 up to 15 times depending on the value of protected cultures (cotton, tobacco, fruits, grapes, vegetables, wheat, sun-flower etc.).
An application of the automated Russian technology in one of most hail dangerous region of the world — Mendoza Province of Argentina, during 1994-1998, has ensured the reduction of losses in 8-10 times. The costs were paid back in 14 times.
The physical backgrounds of technology is the acceleration of precipitation formation in the regions of the future hail particles growth. The premature initiation of precipitation from clouds results in their destruction and interruption of origin process and further hailstone growth. With this purpose the technology provides for the automated radar detection and recognition of hail-risky and hail clouds, selection the volumes of the future hail formation and injection crystallizing agents by means of anti-hail rockets.
For hail suppression the Control Center is equipped by radar MRL-5, automated control system (ACS) «ANTIGRAD» and 20 — 40 rocket launching sites are located on territory protected with 15 -25 km spacing. The rocket sites are equipped with launchers (TKB-040) and necessary quantity of rockets («Alazan-5»).
One such system allows to protect 300 — 500 thousand hectares.
The main steps on organization of hail suppression system:
- prior-to-project research on the hail danger territory, typical trajectories and types of hailstorms, duration of hail season, region relief etc.;
- development of hail protection project infrastructure (number of rocket sites, their arrangement on the protected territory, expected consumption of rockets and staff);
- construction of sites for Control Center and rocket launchers;
- assembly, orientation, levelling, graduation and calibration of the radar and rocket launchers;
- installation of automation means;
- organization of FM communication between the projecr Control Center and regional air traffic control;
- training of the customer staff;
- organization of the daily hail forecast;
- day-night monitoring of hail clouds;
- hail suppression at any time of day or night during the whole season of protection;
- efficiency evaluation of hail suppression.
The basic means which are included in structure of protection system: two-wavelenght meteorological radar MRL-5, the automated control complex ACS «ANTIGRAD», hail suppression rocket complexes «Alazan» и «Alan».