|New Radar Opens at Clear Air Force Station |
New Radar Opens at Clear Air Force Station
Clear Air Force Station, Alaska – February 5, 2001 (AFPN) -- A mechanical radar that had been in place for nearly 40 years here was deactivated Feb. 1, and replaced with a new phased-array radar.
The new radar will improve the 13th Space Warning Squadron's ability to conduct its missile warning and space surveillance missions.
"The phased-array radar will vastly improve our operational capability," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Vance, 13th Space Warning Squadron commander. "The new system will double the coverage of our missile warning and space surveillance missions, enabling us to monitor more of space. It will also increase our capability of tracking objects in space. The mechanical system was incapable of tracking more than one object at a time, but the phased-array system is capable of tracking multiple objects."
The site detects ballistic missiles aimed at North America and relays the information to the Space Warning Center inside Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado.
"It was very difficult to sustain the old system," Vance said. "Purchasing equipment to maintain the old system was cost-prohibitive. The new system increases our operational capability, while being more sustainable and cost-effective."
Also, the radar not only requires fewer people to maintain the system, it only requires three people on a crew to operate it compared to the five-person crew required by the mechanical system.
The new phased-array radar equipment came second-hand from a decommissioned site in Texas. Utilizing that equipment helped the Air Force avoid an additional $140 million that would have been tacked onto the cost had that equipment not been available. The cost of the new radar came in at $106 million. (Courtesy of Air Force Space Command News Service)
- Air Force Space Command