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Encyclopedia > Safeguard Program
The MSR overlooks missile launchers at the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard complex in Nekoma, North Dakota.
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The MSR overlooks missile launchers at the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard complex in Nekoma, North Dakota.

The Safeguard Program was a United States Army anti-ballistic missile system developed in the late 1960s. Several sites were planned in the United States, but only one was completed. Until the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system was deployed, the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard complex in Nekoma, North Dakota, with the separate long-range detection radar located further north near the town of Cavalier, North Dakota, was the only operational anti-ballistic missile system ever deployed by the United States. It defended Minuteman ICBM silos near Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. US Army Seal The United States Army is the branch of the United States armed forces that has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. ... An anti-ballistic missile (ABM) is a missile designed to counter ballistic missiles. ... In 2003, National Missile Defense (NMD) was changed to Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD), to differentiate it from other missile defense programs, such as space-based and sea-based intercept programs, and defense targeting the boost phase and the reentry phase (see flight phases). ... Nekoma is a city located in Cavalier County, North Dakota. ... Cavalier is a city located in Pembina County, North Dakota. ... An anti-ballistic missile (ABM) is a missile designed to counter ballistic missiles. ... The LGM-30 Minuteman is a United States nuclear missile, a land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). ... A missile silo is a underground vertical cylindrical container for the storage and launching of ICBMs. ... Grand Forks Air Force Base (Grand Forks AFB) is a base of the United States Air Force located in Grand Forks County, North Dakota. ...


It had reinforced underground launchers for thirty Spartan and sixteen Sprint nuclear tipped missiles (an additional fifty or so Sprint missiles were deployed at four remote launch sites). The complex was deactivated in 1976 after being operational for less than four months. Launch of a Spartan The Spartan, designation LIM-49A, was a United States Army anti-ballistic missile. ... The Sprint was a United States Army anti-ballistic missile. ...

Contents


Original deployment plan

Plans were made in the late 1960's to deploy Safeguard systems in three locations, Whiteman AFB , Missouri, Malmstrom AFB, Montana, and Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota to protect key strategic weapons assets. However the Whiteman location was canceled despite the fact that specific site locations had already been selected. Construction actually commenced on the North Dakota and Montana sites, but only the North Dakota site was completed. Remnants of the incomplete PAR system still remain in rural Montana. Whiteman Air Force Base (Whiteman AFB) is a base of the United States Air Force located in Johnson County, Missouri. ... Malmstrom AFB is a United States Air Force base located in Cascade County, Montana, USA, treated for statistical purposes by the United States Census Bureau as a census-designated place. ... Grand Forks Air Force Base (Grand Forks AFB) is a base of the United States Air Force located in Grand Forks County, North Dakota. ...


Components

The Safeguard system consisted of three primary components, a Perimeter Acquisition RADAR, Missile Site RADAR and Remote Sprint Launchers.


Perimeter Acquisition Radar (PAR)

The PAR, now known as PARCS, is still operational as of 2006.
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The PAR, now known as PARCS, is still operational as of 2006.

The PAR is a large phased array radar which was intended to detect incoming ballistic missiles as they crossed over the north pole. This information was to be relayed to other command and control sites. Two were intended to be constructed on the northern border of the United States, one in Montana and one in North Dakota. Construction was initiated at both locations, but because of the ABM treaty only the North Dakota site was completed. As of 2006, the North Dakota site, near Cavalier, North Dakota, is still operational and located at Cavalier Air Force Station 48°43′55″N, 97°54′16″W. Remnants of the Montana site are located east of Conrad, Montana at 48°17′15.83″N, 111°20′32.39″W(not shown on topo, but visible on the aerial photo). Potential targets detected by the PAR would be sent to the Missile site RADAR and NORAD. The PAR is listed in the Historic American Engineering Record, survey ND-9-P. 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 and... The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM treaty or ABMT) was a treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the limitation of the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems used in defending areas against missile-delivered nuclear weapons. ... PARCS radar system at Cavalier AFS Cavalier Air Force Station is a United States Air Force installation in North Dakota, home to the 10th Space Warning Squadron of the 21st Space Wing based at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. ... Conrad is a city located in Pondera County, Montana. ... The NORAD shield. ...


Missile Site RADAR (MSR)

The Missile Site RADAR was the center of the Safeguard system, it housed the computers and a phased array RADAR necessary to track and engage incoming ICBMs. The RADAR building itself is a pyramid structure several stories tall. Construction was initiated in both Montana and North Dakota, but only the North Dakota site remains. The North Dakota site is still standing and can be seen north of Nekoma, North Dakota at 48°35′21.91″N, 98°21′24.26″W. The remnants of the Montana system were dismantled and buried, it was possibly located at 48°08′25.77″N, 111°45′26.16″W. Structures similar to the North Dakota site can be seen on aerial images of that site. The MSR complex included Spartan and Sprint missile launchers. The MSR is listed in the Historic American Engineering Record, survey ND-9-B. Nekoma is a city located in Cavalier County, North Dakota. ...


Remote Sprint Launchers (RSL)

Remote Sprint Launchers were established around the MSR main complex to position missiles closer to their intended targets. Sprint missiles were shorter ranged than the larger Spartan and it was beneficial to place them at remote sites to shorten the time to intercept their targets. Four sites were completed and still remain as of 2006, 10 to 20 miles around the MSR complex in Nekoma, North Dakota.


See also

A payload launch vehicle carrying a prototype exoatmospheric kill vehicle is launched from Meck Island at the Kwajalein Missile Range on Dec. ... The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), commonly called Star Wars after the popular science fiction movies, was a system proposed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983[1] to use ground-based and space-based systems to protect the United States from attack by strategic nuclear ballistic missiles. ... An anti-ballistic missile (ABM) is a missile designed to counter ballistic missiles. ... The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks refers to two rounds of bilateral talks and corresponding international treaties between the Soviet Union and United States, the Cold War superpowers, on the issue of armament control. ... The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM treaty or ABMT) was a treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the limitation of the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) systems used in defending areas against missile-delivered nuclear weapons. ... PARCS radar system at Cavalier AFS Cavalier Air Force Station is a United States Air Force installation in North Dakota, home to the 10th Space Warning Squadron of the 21st Space Wing based at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. ...

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