US wants giant radar in UK to track space objects

  22 July 2021    Read: 222
US wants giant radar in UK to track space objects

The US wants to locate a giant new radar system in the UK to track objects in deep space.

The US Space Force is developing the global system to identify potential "targets" up to 36,000km away, in areas of deep space where a lot of military satellites are positioned.

Other sites would include Texas and Australia.

The Ministry of Defence said the new radar capability has the potential to make space "safer and more secure".

It comes amid growing concerns about congestion, competition and even an arms race in space.

Both the US and Britain have accused Russia and China of developing weapons which could be used to take out satellites.

Last year alone more than 1,000 new satellites were launched into space - including 10 by the US military.

The plans to develop the Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability - or DARC - are being developed at the US Space and Missile Systems Center.

It was one of the sites visited by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and UK defence chiefs this week on a visit to California. They also held discussions with Elon Musk's SpaceX.

Lt Col Jack Walker of the US Space Force told the BBC the US was "in discussion" with the UK about putting the radars "possibly in Scotland or further south".

He said the site would house "anywhere from 10 to 15 parabolic antenna (large satellite dishes) for tracking and four to six for transmitting" and cover an area of about 1km square.

Each radar dish will be 15 metres in diameter.

Col Walker said the purpose of the system would be to "detect and track targets which could potentially be threats to our high-value assets".

"It could be from the Chinese, it could be from the Russians, it could be anti-satellite or it could be debris in space," he said.

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