Air Force taps Raytheon to continue operating and upgrading Cobra Dane strategic radar system

PETERSON AFB, Colo., 21 Dec. 2015. U.S. Air Force missile-defense experts are moving forward with a long-term project to keep a 1970s-vintage strategic radar systems up and running with the latest electronic technology.

Air Force taps Raytheon to continue operating and upgrading Cobra Dane strategic radar system
Air Force taps Raytheon to continue operating and upgrading Cobra Dane strategic radar system
PETERSON AFB, Colo., 21 Dec. 2015. U.S. Air Force missile-defense experts are moving forward with a long-term project to keep a 1970s-vintage strategic radar systems up and running with the latest electronic technology.

Officials of the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., on Friday announced a $77 million contract to Raytheon Co. Intelligence, Information And Services segment in Colorado Springs, Colo., to operate, maintain, and sustain the Cobra Dane system, as well as mitigate the effects of component obsolescence.

The AN/FPS-108 Cobra Dane radar is a passive electronically scanned array installation at Eareckson Air Station on Shemya Island, Alaska, for missile-defense early warning, missile treaty verification, and space surveillance. The radar, which stands 120 feet tall and has a 95-foot-diameter face, became operational in 1977.

Cobra Dane is a ground-based, L-band, phased-array radar that provides midcourse coverage for U.S. Strategic Command's Ballistic Missile Defense System. The radar can detect sea-launched and intercontinental ballistic missiles, classify re-entry vehicles and other missile objects and track threats with enough accuracy to commit to launching interceptors and update in-flight targeting data.

The Cobra Dane radar, which faces west toward the Russian the Kamchatka Peninsula and Kura Test Range, operates in the 1215-to-1400-MHz frequency band. It sends data to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) at Peterson Air Force Base. It can detect objects as far away as 2,000 miles.

Related: Raytheon takes next step toward deploying nation's newest space- and missile-tracking surveillance ship

In recent years Cobra Dane has taken on the role of tracking deep-space satellites as part of the larger Space Surveillance Network and provides observation data to agency command and control nodes.

Last May Air Force leaders transferred control of the Cobra Dane radar from Air Force Space Command to the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center's Battle Management Directorate. The radar is past its original design lifespan, and has become difficult and expensive to maintain.

Among the jobs that Raytheon will perform include identifying which components have available commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) replacements and which parts are in need of re-engineering.

Raytheon experts will try to balance ways to keep the Cobra Dane radar system up to date and in tip-top shape, with the need to use COTS components and subsystems as much as possible to keep the program within budget.

The two-year contract to Raytheon will have competitive follow-on option for five years valued at $150 million. for more information contact Raytheon Intelligence, Information And Services online at www.raytheon.com/capabilities/c5isr, or the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at www.wpafb.af.mil/aflcmc.

More in Computers