|Role||Long-range radar for U.S. ballistic missile defense system|
|Range||2,000 miles (3,200 km)|
|Status||Deployed at Eareckson Air Station in Alaska|
The U.S. Air Force operates the Cobra Dane Radar at Eareckson Air Station on Shemya Island, Alaska.[i]It is a stationary radar that provides midcourse coverage for the United States ballistic missile defense (BMD) system, primarily working with the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD)system in defense of the U.S. homeland from long-range ballistic missile threats. The Cobra Dane is a long-range phased array radar that can detect objects 2,000 miles away.[ii][iii]The radar has a 95-foot diameter and stands 120 foot tall.
Cobra Dane serves multiple roles in the BMD system. The radar can detect both Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and Sea-launched missiles in its coverage area.[iv]Upon detection it can classify reentry vehicles and other objects in space during reentry. Fire and Mission Control for the GMD system can use the Cobra Dane for real-time information, and the radar accurately tracks ballistic missiles to commit the launch of Ground-Based Interceptor missiles. It can also provide information to update ballistic missile tracking after the launch of the interceptor.[v]
December 2015: Air Force officials announced a $77 million contract to Raytheon to upgrade the radar.[vi]
May 2015: The Cobra Dane Radar transferred to the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Battle Management Directorate from Air Force Space Command.
March 2003: The Cobra Dane Radar was upgraded to full power and gained a role in the U.S. BMD system.
October 1999: The Cobra Dane had successful tests at detecting small debris in space which brought back its role in the Space Surveillance Network.
April 1994: The Cobra Dane’s role in the Space Surveillance Network was eliminated.
1977: The Cobra Dane Radar became operational.
Featured Image by Chief Petty Officer Brandon Raile (DVIDS)