Army to build blast- and EMP-proof launch-control building for Alaska-based missile defense

FORT GREELY, Alaska, 19 May 2014. U.S. Army missile-defense officials are constructing a special building hardened against blast and electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) at Fort Greely, Alaska, for command and control of anti-ballistic missiles to protect help protect the United States from enemy nuclear missile attack.

Army to build EMP- and blast-proof launch center
Army to build EMP- and blast-proof launch center
FORT GREELY, Alaska, 19 May 2014. U.S. Army missile-defense officials are constructing a special building hardened against blast and electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) at Fort Greely, Alaska, for command and control of anti-ballistic missiles to protect help protect the United States from enemy nuclear missile attack.

Officials of the Army Corps of Engineers in Elmendorf, Alaska, announced a $44.3 million contract Friday to Watterson Construction Co. in Anchorage, Alaska, to design and build a blast- and EMP-hardened mechanical-electrical building for missile defense field number one at Fort Greely, Alaska.

Fort Greely, located about 100 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska, is an Army launch site for anti-ballistic missiles. Fort Greely is one of the two U.S. sites housing anti-ballistic missile interceptor missiles, and it is located near the Great circle line from North Korea to the continental United States.

Watterson Construction will build a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) and blast-protected mechanical-electrical building and utility and security infrastructure at missile field number one at Fort Greely.

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The building will house redundant HEMP protected mechanical and electrical equipment supporting launch control components. Other building construction includes lightning protection and equipment grounding systems. The building will have special foundations to protect it from earthquakes and blast.

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) typically is a byproduct of a nuclear explosion that creates a short burst of electromagnetic energy that can destroy unshielded electronics. EMP also can result from natural events such as lightning or severe radiation bursts from the sun.

The building also will contain the missile field's launch-control components in the silos interface vaults and includes dual chillers, heat exchanger, water pumps, dematerializing system for humidity control, transformers, and uninterruptible power.

The EMP- and blast-proof building design also will provide a blueprint for subsequent launch-control buildings at Fort Greely. Counter-missile weapons at Fort Greely may be expanded if missile threats to the U.S. increase from North Korea.

Related: U.S. defense officials may be getting serious about crafting defenses against EMP attack

The building will contain an underground utility vault entrance and utilidor extension that will connect to the existing missile field number one utilidor. Security measures include intrusion detection, access control, and construction escorts.

Supporting facilities include HEMP-protected electrical distribution, water, sewer, paving, fire protection and alarm systems, and site improvements.

On this contract Watterson Construction will do the work at Fort Greely and should be finished by March 2016. For more information contact Watterson Construction online at http://wattersonconstruction.com, or the Army Corps of Engineers-Elmendorf at www.poa.usace.army.mil.

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