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View of Soviet Ionospheric Modification Research,

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We have reviewed and provided a technical assessment of Soviet research of the past five to ten years in ionospheric modification by high-power radio waves. This review includes a comprehensive survey of Soviet published literature, conference proceedings, and direct discussions with the involved Soviet researchers. The current state of the art for Soviet research in this field is evaluated, identifying areas of potential breakthrough discoveries, and discussing implications of this work for emerging technologies and future applications. This assessment is divided into the categories of basic research, advanced research, and applications. Basic research is further subdivided into studies of the modified natural geophysical environment, nonlinear plasma physics, and polar geophysical studies. Advanced research topics include the generation of artificial ionization mirrors and high-power oblique propagation effects. A separate comparative assessment of Soviet theoretical work also is included in this analysis. Our evaluation of practical and potential applications of this research discusses the utility of ionospheric modification in creating disturbed radio wave propagation environments, and its role in current and future remote-sensing and telecommunications systems. This technical assessment does not include consideration of ionospheric modification by means other than high-power radio waves. The Soviet effort in ionospheric modification sustains theoretical and experimental research at activity levels considerably greater than that found in comparable programs in the West. Notable strengths of the Soviet program are its breadth of coverage, large numbers of scientific participation, theoretical creativity and insight, and its powerful radio wave transmitting facilities.

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  • Atmospheric Physics

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