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Military Celebrates Milestone for Advanced Radar System Under Construction at Clear AFS

Missile Defense Agency

Military and contractor personnel and invited guests celebrated a milestone in the construction of a massive radar facility Tuesday at Clear Air Force Station, near Anderson.

Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Jim Dodson was one of those invited guests.

“That structure that they were topping-off today is the framework that will support the radar unit,” Dodson said.

Topping ceremonies are typically held as the final girder of a structure’s frame is put in place. In Tuesday’s ceremony, a red-, white- and blue-painted girder was riveted into place for a structure that will house the Long Range Discrimination Radar.

The LRDR is an advanced system designed to detect incoming enemy missiles at mid-flight, identify the warhead amid decoys and other countermeasures and then relays that data to missile-defense facilities like the one at Fort Greely to enable them to lock-on and intercept the missile.

Work on the LRDR was scheduled to be completed late next year, according to a Missile Defense Agency document.

Dodson says the LRDR is only one of many projects under construction at Clear.

“Of course, there’s construction going on all over Clear Air Force Base,” he said. “It’s just kind of phenomenal.”

A fiscal year 2018 budget document generated by the Missile Defense Agency says the LRDR will be built in two separate projects. Phase 1, which began in fiscal 2017, includes the Shielded Mission Control Facility and radar-structure foundation, at an estimated cost of $155 million. The second phase, which began this fiscal year, includes construction of a power plant that includes fuel storage and support facilities, all at an estimated cost of $150 million.

Tim has worked in the news business for over three decades, mainly as a newspaper reporter and editor in southern Arizona. Tim first came to Alaska with his family in 1967, and grew up in Delta Junction before emigrating to the Lower 48 in 1977 to get a college education and see the world.