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 radar network.

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 country.

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 forces.

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. Dupont