FAIRBANKS — Raytheon Co. has won a contract to upgrade the early warning radar at Clear Air Force Station, located off the Parks Highway about 70 miles southwest of Fairbanks, according to an announcement from the Department of Defense.
The contract is worth at least $125 million, the Pentagon said Wednesday. It was awarded to Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems, based in Woburn, Mass.
Clear’s original radar began scanning the skies for satellites and incoming missiles in October 1961. It was shut down after a more modern radar powered up in 2000.
Military officials have said during the past year that they have a plan to spend about $400 million at Clear during the next
several years. Part of that work will integrate the radar at Clear with the nation’s missile defense system, some of which also is located in Interior Alaska. Silos at Fort Greely, located 100 miles southeast of Fairbanks, hold 26 interceptors designed to bring down any incoming long-range ballistic missiles traveling outside the Earth’s atmosphere in the mid-course of their trajectory.
In a speech to the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce in January, Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, director the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, said the radar at Clear is part of a network that feeds missile tracking data to command and control centers at Fort Greely and Colorado Springs. In addition to Fort Greely, interceptors are located at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Another interceptor facility is being built in Fort Drum, N.Y., he said.
The Raytheon contract announced Wednesday includes an option to upgrade a similar radar at Cape Cod Air Force Station in Massachusetts. With options, the contract could grow to $176 million, according to the announcement.
The contract period began Wednesday and runs through September 2017.
“This is a joint Missile Defense Agency/Air Force effort and will be funded by fiscal 2012 through 2017 Missile Defense Agency research, development, test and evaluation funds, and Air Force other procurement funds,” the statement issued Wednesday said.
The Defense Department has obligated $8.8 million from the missile agency’s funds and $19 million from the Air Force money for the work in this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
The missile agency’s Huntsville, Ala., office handled the contracting work. The contract combines a “cost-plus-award-fee, cost-plus-incentive-fee, and fixed-price-incentive-fee,” according to the announcement.
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