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Encyclopedia > Ballistic Missile Early Warning System
Phased array BMEWS Installation at Thule, Greenland
Phased array BMEWS Installation at Thule, Greenland

The Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) was the first operational ballistic missile detection radar. Built in 1959, BMEWS could provide long-range warning of a missile attack over the polar region of the northern hemisphere. They also provided satellite tracking data. There are three installations: the United States Air Force facilities of Thule Air Base, Greenland; Clear Air Force Station, Alaska; and the Royal Air Force facility of Fylingdales, in the United Kingdom. Information received from the BMEWS radars is forwarded to Cheyenne Mountain Air Station, Colorado. BMEWS can only spot missiles when they appeared over the horizon, which led the Soviet Union to develop FOBS. Defense Support Program (DSP) early warning satellites were developed in part to counter this threat. Image File history File links BMEWS station Source: [1] File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Polish missile wz. ... This long range radar antenna (approximately 40m (130ft) in diameter) rotates on a track to observe activities near the horizon. ... 1959 was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A missile (British English: miss-isle; U.S. English: missl) is, in general, a projectile—that is, something thrown or otherwise propelled. ... In military science, an attack is the aggressive attempt to conquer enemy territory, installations, personnel, or equipment or to deny the enemy the use of territory, installations, personnel, or equipment, for example by destroying the equipment. ... Earths polar regions are the areas of the globe surrounding the poles, north of the Arctic circle, or south of the Antarctic Circle. ... The Northern Hemisphere is the half of a planets surface (or celestial sphere) that is north of the equator. ... Seal of the Air Force. ... Map of Greenland Thule Air Base, Qaanaaq, Greenland, is the United States Air Forces northernmost base (76°32 North latitude, 68°50 West longitude), located 695 miles north of the Arctic Circle and 947 miles south of the North Pole on the northwest side of the island of Greenland. ... Clear Air Force Station is a United States Air Force Base located 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of Anderson, Alaska. ... State nickname: The Last Frontier, The Land of the Midnight Sun Other U.S. States Capital Juneau Largest city Anchorage Governor Frank Murkowski (R) Official languages English Area 1,717,854 km² (1st)  - Land 1,481,347 km²  - Water 236,507 km² (13. ... The Royal Air Force (often abbreviated to RAF) is the air force branch of the UK Armed Forces. ... RAF Fylingdales, opened in 1962, is a BMEWS or Ballistic Missile Early Warning System built on Fylingdales Moor, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom. ... 1,400 people work inside Cheyenne Mountain — they enter through this tunnel. ... This is the article on the state. ... Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) was a Soviet ICBM in the 1960s with a low Earth orbit that would de-orbit for an attack. ... Painting of a DSP satellite on station. ... A satellite is an object that orbits another object (known as its primary). ...

The original sites used two types of radars, the L-band AN/FPS-50, with three fence antennas for initial detection, each 165 feet tall and 400 feet wide, and an AN/FPS-92 fully steerable tracking dish, 85 feet in diameter, installed in a large radome. One fence antenna covered a 40 degree sector of the horizon, for a total site coverage of 120 degrees. A prototype of BMEWS, located in Trinidad, began providing surveillance and tracking of ballistic missiles by 1958, and went operational on February 4, 1959, to gather data on missiles fired at the Atlantic Missile Range, as well as satellites and meteors. The full BMEWS radar network became operational in the early 1960s. Each site had dual IBM 7094 computers for signal processing and impact prediction. L band (20-cm radar long-band) is a portion of the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum ranging roughly from 0. ... The Joint Electronics Type Designation System (JETDS), which was formerly known as the Joint Army-Navy Nomenclature System (AN System) and the Joint Communications-Electronics Nomenclature System, is a method developed by the U.S. War Department during World War II for assigning an unclassified designator to electronic equipment. ... This article refers to the island comprising part of the country Trinidad and Tobago; for other meanings, see Trinidad (disambiguation). ... Surveillance is close monitoring of behavior. ... 1958 was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... February 4 is the 35th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1959 was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The 1960s, or The Sixties, in its most obvious sense refers to the decade between 1960 and 1969, but the expression has taken on a wider meaning over the past twenty years. ... The IBM 7094 the fourth member of the most popular family of IBMs large second-generation transistorized mainframe computers and was designed for large-scale scientific and technological applications. The first 7094 installation was in September 1962. ...

Moon alarm

In October, 1960, the moonrise occurred directly in the path of one of the radars, producing a strong signal return. While the computer sytem never generated an impact prediction, the large amount of data caused enough concern that Cheyenne Mountain closed its blast doors for several hours. The equipment was subsequently modified to reject moon returns based on their long (2 second) delay. Crust composition Oxygen 43% Silicon 21% Aluminium 10% Calcium 9% Iron 9% Magnesium 5% Titanium 2% Nickel 0. ...


The Thule and Fylingdales sites were upgraded with phased array radars in the 1990s. BMEWS 3, located in Fylingdales, was upgraded by Raytheon/Cossor AeroSpace and Control Data Corporation at a cost of US $100M. The new antenna was a 3 faced phased array antenna providing 360 degrees of coverage. The embedded computer was a CDC-Cyber running JOVIAL. The Clear, Alaska site was upgraded with PAVE PAWS radars in 2001. The phased array radars operate in the 420-450 MHz (UHF) frequency range. // Description A giant phased-array radar in Alaska In telecommunication, a phased array is a group of antennas in which the relative phases of the respective signals feeding the antennas are varied in such a way that the effective radiation pattern of the array is reinforced in a desired direction... // Events and trends The 1990s are generally classified as having moved slightly away from the more conservative 1980s, but keeping the same mind-set. ... Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) is a major United States military contractor based in Waltham, Massachusetts. ... Cossor AeroSpace is a British company held by Raytheon. ... Control Data Corporation, or CDC, was one of the pioneering supercomputer firms. ... JOVIAL stands for The International Algorithmic Language part of the name is from ALGOL. This high order language was developed to write software for the embedded systems of military aircraft by Jules Schwartz in 1959. ... PAVE PAWS is an U.S. Air Force Space Command radar system operated by three 21st Space Wing squadrons for missile warning and space surveillance. ... 2001: A Space Odyssey Dr. Dre 2001 2001 is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... A megahertz (MHz) is one million (106) hertz, a measure of frequency. ... This article is about the radio frequency. ... Sine waves of various frequencies; the lower waves have higher frequencies than those above. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
MIT Lincoln Laboratory - History (748 words)
In addition to its role in developing technology basic to the ballistic missile early warning system, the Millstone Hill facility was the first radar to detect and track the Soviet Sputnik satellites and later served as a tracking station for Cape Canaveral launches.
Early Laboratory studies of the signatures of remotely-sensed reentry vehicles and the associated problems of radar detection and tracking were instrumental in the development of ballistic missile defense strategies.
Ballistic missile defense technology continues to be a high priority with emphasis on the development of algorithms to permit discrimination of objects.
National Missile Defense (1512 words)
Despite the fact that national missile defense has always been a major technical challenge, the current Bush II Administration is strongly pushing the concept, with plans to deploy a limited NMD screen in the near future.
He stated that the ABM Treaty was a "relic" that blocked timely missile defense testing and deployment, which was judged "indispensable" as a defense against terrorists and rogue states.
At the beginning of 2002, BMDO was renamed the "Missile Defense Agency (MDA)" to further emphasize the stature of NMD in the eyes of the Bush Administration, and at the end of the year the administration gave the go-ahead for operational development and deployment.
  More results at FactBites »



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