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SPOON REST is the NATO reporting name for an elderly but still common Soviet-designed early warning and search radar, actually named P-12 by its developers. It is the long-range radar for the ubiquitous S-75 Dvina surface-to-air missile called the SA-2 GUIDELINE by NATO. The radar was widely exported with the SA-2, but also for many other applications.

It operates in the frequencies designated A-band by NATO, and VHF in the International Telecommunications Union frequency designation system. Under practical considerations, it has a 150 NM range.

P-12 proper is the search radar, while P-12M is a moving target indicator supplementary system. These use mast-mounted arrays of Yagi antennas. These are usually truck-mounted.

The West fully understands SPOON REST after receiving an Israeli-captured system in 1969, but the system still has utility.[1] While more modern radars use higher frequencies, VHF radars have gotten a new value because they are better at detecting stealth aircraft, especially first-generation stealth aircraft such as the F-117.

Its usual operating mode was to determine azimuth, although a goniometer could be switched on to give elevation angle, reducing the system range. Multiple SPOON REST radars can be synchronized into a multistatic sysetm to increase range.[2]


  1. Kopp, Carlo, "Desert Storm - The Electronic Battle, Part I", Australian Airpower
  2. Wolff, Christian, Radar Basics