AIR FORCE 'HAVE STARE' RADAR MAY BE DEPLOYED ALONG RUSSIAN BORDER
Inside Missile Defense
Vol. 4, No. 8 -- April 15, 1998
An Air Force space tracking and intelligence radar that could be used
as part of a national missile defense architecture will soon be deployed
in northern Norway along the Russian border, according to space experts
and Norwegian press reports.
The transfer of the HAVE STARE radar, currently located at Vandenburg
AFB in California, has sparked controversy in Norway. According to press
reports there, the Norwegian government originally announced it would
cooperate with the United States on the construction of a "Globus II"
radar designed to track space debris.
However, according to these reports and space experts including
Federation of American Scientists analyst John Pike, the radar in
question is actually HAVE STARE, designed for a wide variety of space
tracking roles, including missile defense and early warning.
"It's for intelligence collection," a former Army space official said.
One of HAVE STARE's stated missions is the tracking of all kinds of
space objects, including debris. Official descriptions state the radar,
the existence of which was classified until 1993, is a "high resolution
X-band tracking and imaging radar with a 27-meter mechanical dish
antenna. HS will be deployed as a dedicatedspace surveillance sensor to
support the mission of space object catalog maintenance of deep space
objects and mission payload assessment."
The description, found in the fiscal year 1998 Defense Department
program element descriptive summaries, also states that HAVE STARE, when
deployed, will "retain its original design features and their inherent
potential to support other missions."
Among those other missions is National Missile Defense. Rear Adm.
Richard West, the deputy director of the Ballistic Missile Defense
Organization, told Congress in mid-1996 that "if needed," existing
forward-based radars such as Cobra Dane or HAVE STARE "could also be
used to support the NMD system" as part of an upgraded early warning
Why such a radar might be deployed in northern Norway, near Russian
military bases on the Kola Peninsula, has raised questions in Norway.
Questions have also been raised here over why the governments of both
the United States and Norway may be mislabeling the radar as the "Globus
II," designed merely to track and catalog space junk.
Its position in Vardo, Norway, Pike contends, suggests otherwise. In
fact, at that location such a radar would be less effective at tracking
space junk, he says. On the other hand, a former high-ranking Army space
official says the position would be ideal for such a role.
Both agree, however, that the radar would be in the perfect position to
observe missile tests within Russia. And, Pike adds, the HAVE STARE
radar would be able to warn of missiles that might be aimed outside the
The former Army space official says the radar may replace another
system that has been deployed there for years, manned by Norwegians.
HAVE STARE would be manned by the country's military intelligence
The official speculates that because the United States may be losing
some of its early warning and military intelligence radar capabilities
elsewhere, most notably in Turkey, putting HAVE STARE at the Vardo site
could provide an ideal backup. HAVE STARE, if deployed there, will be
"not a replacement but a surrogate" for other systems in case they are
shut down, he believes.
According to a March 26 Associated Press report, work on the Globus II
will start this month and be completed in late 2000, when HAVE STARE is
supposed to reach initial operational capability. The HAVE STARE program
is currently in engineering and manufacturing development.
-- Daniel G.