The North Dakota National Guard is partnering with U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) and several other agencies, including the Air Force Research Laboratory to test a long-range radar at Camp Grafton Training Center.
The radar, known as the Arctic "Over-the-Horizon Radar", will be constructed at Camp Grafton which is near Devils Lake and Camp Grafton South in Eddy County.
"This is an important partnership between NORAD/NORTHCOM, AFRL, and the North Dakota National Guard," Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, adjutant general, said in a press release. "It paves the way for testing and research on this critical radar system, and also establishes CGTC as a premier research center for future users."
Assembly of the antennas along Highway 20 has already begun and additional assembly is scheduled to begin shortly. Testing is slated to begin in late June and will last approximately eight weeks and is expected to be finished by mid-August. The antennas will be removed by the first week of September.
"Thorough research and prudent investments in surveillance, communications and infrastructure are necessary for developing and maintaining a threat detection capability in order to deter and, if necessary, defeat potential threats along our northern approaches," said Maj. Gen. David Lowthian, Director of Operations NORAD.
Twenty of 100-foot antennas will be placed along Highway 20 at Camp Grafton and will serve as the transmit site, while over 160 smaller antennas will be placed at CGTC South to serve as the receive site.
These antennas, part of the radar, could eventually be used to monitor and identify aircraft approaching North America. However, the biggest challenge for the radar test is to establish a clear radar picture.
"Camp Grafton provides all the geographic features critical to a test of this type and our experience working with the North Dakota National Guard has been exceptional," said Dr. Braham Himed, project lead from AFRL.