The US Defense Department says it plans to deploy a long-range radar in central Alaska to help the national missile defense system with discerning potential enemy missiles.
The Long Range Discrimination Radar would begin operation in 2020 and will be placed in Clear Air Force Station, the Defense Department said in a statement on Friday.
However, required environmental and safety studies must be completed before the department can go ahead with project and decide where exactly it should be launched, the department said.
“The Missile Defense Agency is moving forward with the design and development of the radar and assessing US industry proposals to meet the required technical performance to counter the emerging threat and support future BMDS architecture needs,” the department said.
It says that the LRDR will assist the multi-layered US ballistic missile defense system in addressing potential countermeasures which potential foe could launch to confuse US defensive systems.
In March, Missile Defense Agency Director James Syring and other senior Pentagon officials told Congress that the new radar was highly important to enhance America’s defense capabilities in the face of North Korea and Iran.
According to Admiral James Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the US takes both Iran and North Korea seriously to that end.
Riki Ellison, founder of the nonprofit Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, said placing the new radar in central Alaska rather is of geographical importance and would also cost much less, which in return, could free up funding for an additional radar in Hawaii.
Raytheon Co, Northrop Grumman Corp and Lockheed Martin Corp, in an ongoing competition, are trying to build the new radar, which is expected to cost around $1 billion.
US Missile Defense Agency spokesman Rick Lehner said a winning proposal should be selected by the end of 2015.
“We don’t have a radar design yet,” Lehner said, adding that “We’re still in the early stages here.”
Source: Press Tv