Cavalier Air Force Station
|Cavalier Air Force Station
1993-2000: Cavalier Air Station
|Part of Air Force Space Command (AFSPC)|
|Beaulieu Township, Pembina County, North Dakota|
PARCS antenna array at Cavalier AFS
~5 km north and 3 km west of Mountain
~20 km from Cavalier.
|Type||Air Force Station|
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
|Garrison||10th Space Warning Squadron|
Cavalier Air Force Station, North Dakota is a United States Air Force installation of the 10th Space Warning Squadron of the 21st Space Wing that monitors and tracks potential missile launches against North America with the GE AN/FPQ-16 Enhanced Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization System (PARCS). The PARCS also monitors and tracks over half of all earth-orbiting objects to enable space situation awareness and space control. In addition to contractors, NORAD has US and Canadian military members assigned to the facility.
The AN/FPQ-16 PARCS is a solid state phased array radar system housed "on a plain just east of the Pembina Escarpment" in a 37 m (121 ft) with a single-faced phased array radar pointed northward over Hudson Bay. In normal operation PARCS can spot an object the size of a basketball (24 cm) at 3000 km (2000 miles). Tests during the 1970s & 1980s showed that with proposed software updates (not carried out) it could spot objects less than 9 cm in size. It analyzes more than 20 000 tracks per day, from giant satellites to space debris.
The PARCS building includes an underground power plant with five, 16 cylinder dual-fuel (diesel/natural gas) engines manufactured by Cooper Bessemer driving 5 General Electric generators for a total output of 14 megawatts.
The facility was built as one site of the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex for the Safeguard Program's anti-ballistic missile defense, with the PAR providing detection data for computing preliminary trajectories to be provided to the Missile Site Radar (the complex was deactivated in 1976). In 1977, the USAF acquired the site and expanded it into the Concrete Missile Early Warning System (CMEWS) named for the nearby Concrete ND community. The military installation was named for Cavalier ND in 1983 when Concrete's post office closed.
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