Cavalier Air Force Station

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Cavalier Air Force Station
Near Cavalier, North Dakota in United States of America
The AN/FPQ-16 PARCS solid state phased array radar system at Cavalier AFS.
Cavalier AFS is located in the United States
Cavalier AFS
Cavalier AFS
Shown in United States
Coordinates48°43′55″N 97°54′16″W / 48.73194°N 97.90444°W / 48.73194; -97.90444
TypeUS Air Force Station
Site information
OwnerDepartment of Defense
OperatorUnited States Air Force
Controlled byAir Force Space Command (AFSPC)
Radar typeAN/FPQ-16 PARCS
Site history
Built1977 (1977)
In use1977 – present
Garrison information
Occupants10th 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.[1] In addition to contractors, NORAD has US and Canadian military members assigned to the facility.

AN/FPQ-16 PARCS[edit]

The AN/FPQ-16 PARCS building at Cavalier.

The AN/FPQ-16 PARCS is a solid state phased array radar system housed "on a plain just east of the Pembina Escarpment"[2] in a 37 m (121 ft)[1] with a single-faced phased array radar pointed northward over Hudson Bay.[3] 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.[4] It analyzes more than 20 000 tracks per day, from giant satellites to space debris.[3]

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.[5]


Sign at entrance to Cavalier Air Force Station.
Sign at entrance to Cavalier.

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[6] (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.[7]

The military installation was named for Cavalier ND in 1983 when Concrete's post office closed.

BAE Systems maintained the PARCS site from 2003 - 2017.[8]

Summit Technical Solutions, LLC took over the Operations, Maintenance and Logistics support of the PARCS site in October 2017.[9]

Based units[edit]

Notable units based at Cavalier Air Force Station.

United States Air Force[edit]

Air Force Space Command (AFSC)

The 10th SWS is a Geographically Separate Unit, which although based at Cavalier, is subordinate to the 21st Space Wing based at Peterson AFB in Colorado.[10]


  1. ^ a b "10th Space Warning Squadron". Peterson Air Force Base. Archived from the original on 2008-01-23. Retrieved August 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Kuhn, Tom (March 1999). "On The Lone Prairie". Airman Magazine. Archived from the original on July 14, 2007. Retrieved March 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ "Space Surveillance Sensors: The PARCS (Cavalier) Radar (April 12, 2012)". Retrieved August 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  5. ^ tbd, Mark (2011). "Perimeter Acquisition Radar (PAR), Concrete, ND". Cold War Tourist webpage. Archived from the original (trip report) on 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2014-03-19.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Jim Godfrey. "Cavalier Air Force Station: Instant to Watchful Instant". Peterson Air Force Base. Archived from the original on 2012-05-10. Retrieved August 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  8. ^ "BAE Systems Awarded $60 Million in U.S. Air Force Contract Extensions to Maintain Space Radar and Telescope Systems". BAE Systems. November 27, 2012. Retrieved March 2014. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  9. ^ LLC, Summit Technical Solutions,. "Summit Technical Solutions Awarded $35.5 Million Operations, Maintenance, and Logistical Support Contract with U.S. Air Force". Retrieved 2017-10-06.
  10. ^ "10th Space Warning Squadron". Peterson Air Force Base. US Air Force. 6 August 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2019.

External links[edit]