Air Force asks Exelis to EMP-harden long-range ballistic missile warning radar systems
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo., 8 Oct. 2015. Radar experts at Exelis Inc. in Colorado Springs, Colo., will harden U.S. ballistic missile defense radar systems against the effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) under terms of a $12.4 million contract modification announced last week.
Officials of the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., are asking Exelis to implement the Ground-Based Radar High Altitude EMP Certification program, as well as perform sustainment and system engineering on the radar systems.
The long-range radars involved are the ageing ground-based ballistic missile warning radar systems known as the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS), Phased Array Warning System (PAVE PAWS), and Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization System (PARCS).
Exelis engineers will complete mobile depot maintenance, verifications testing, and submit documentation required for high altitude EMP certification at the five BMEWS, PAVE PAWS, and PARCS sites.
Electromagnetic pulse is one effect of an atomic explosion. It involves high-energy pulses that can damage or destroy unshielded electronics. Atomic explosions also cause blast and radioactive fallout.
PAVE PAWS is a ground-based radar system that provides U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Neb., with warning and attack-assessment information on all intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) launched throughout the world that might be headed for U.S. territory.
BMEWS, meanwhile, is a ground-based radar system that helps warn USSTRATCOM and NATO authorities of submarine- and sea-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) attacks and provides data to help evaluate the severity of ballistic missile attacks.
PARCS is a large radar installation in North Dakota that provides ballistic missile warning and attack assessment, as well as space surveillance data to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., as well as to USSTRATCOM and regional combatant commanders.
PARCS monitors and tracks more than half of all Earth-orbiting objects with its AN/FPQ-16 phased-array radar system pointed northward over Hudson Bay, and analyzes more than 20,000 tracks per day, from giant satellites to space debris.
Harris Corp. in Melbourne, Fla., completed its acquisition of Exelis last May for $4.56 billion.
BMEWS has been in operation since 1964 at sites Greenland, Alaska, and Northern England. PAVE PAWS has been in operation since 1980 at sites in California, Massachusetts, Florida, and Texas.
On this contract modification Exelis will do the work at Clear Air Force Station, Alaska; Cape Cod Air Force Station, Mass.; Beale Air Force Base, Calif.; Thule Air Base, Greenland; Royal Air Force, United Kingdom; and Cavalier, N.D., and should be finished by January 2017.