Published March 22, 2017
A full view of the Perimeter Acquisition Radar building located at Cavalier Air Force Station in North Dakota. The building houses the Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization System, a key piece of the national military command system. (Courtesy photo)
PERIMETER ACQUISITION RADAR ATTACK CHARACTERIZATION SYSTEM
The Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization System (PARCS) is a single-faced, multi-function, UHF-Band, phased-array radar located at Cavalier Space Force Station, N.D.
The primary mission of PARCS is to keep watch for sea-launched and intercontinental ballistic missiles launched toward North America, and to collect Launch and Predicted Impact (L&PI) data, generally defined as missile warning (MW) data. The secondary mission of PARCS is to provide data concerning space launches and orbiting objects as a collateral sensor for the Space Surveillance Network (SSN).
Cavalier SFS is 15 miles south of the Canadian and U.S. border. PARCS is responsible for monitoring and tracking more than half of all earth-orbiting objects.
This system was originally built by the U.S. Army as part of the Safeguard missile defense system defending U.S. missile fields in North Dakota. However the Safeguard system was decommissioned shortly after it was activated in 1976. The radar was then transferred to the U.S. Air Force to support the Missile Warning and Space Surveillance missions.
PARCS is able to detect and track both intercontinental and sea-launched missile threats, and pass information to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and regional combatant commanders. As part of the missile warning mission PARCS provides attack characterization data to the Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment (ITW/AA) system. PARCS supports Space Domain Awareness by sending satellite track data to the Combined Space Operations Center (CSpOC) for processing.
(Current as of Oct 2020)