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8. NWS Barter Island LRRS

Last modified: 16 Jun 2022

Country: United States    Region: Alaska

Locale: Kaktovik

Latitude: 70° 8' 2" N     Longitude: -144° 25' 4" E

Area use / Military Branches: ACTIVE


North Warning System Barter Island at grid 70 07 49 N, 143 38 21 W
The North Warning System (NWS) is an early warning system replacing the old Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line from the early 1950ís. NWS became operational in 1988 and is still being used on a 24/7 basis today

North Warning System is a US/Canadian program located across northern Alaska and Canada consisting of General Electric AN/FPS-117 Long-Range Radars (LRR) and Unisys AN/FPS-124 shortrange automated Unattended Radars (UARS). The maintenance and control facilities are at the Alaskan Regional Operations Control Center (ROCC) and Canadian Sector Operations Control Center (SOCC). A satcom network provides connectivity between the LRRS, UARS and ROCC/SOCC. Ground-to-Air-to-Ground (G/A/G) communication equipment installed at LRRS provide G/A/G comms between the control centers and airdefense aircraft in those regions.

Barter Island. ICAO: PABA is located far North in Alaska and used as an airlift strip for the current Barter Island Long Range Radar Staton The station also hosted the last and most northern operating unit (callsign BAR MAIN) in the former White Alice Communications chain. Built in 1953, using a FPS-19 radar (repaced by an FPS-23 in 1971) the Kaktovik site had been a much larger facility, home to up to 150 military personnel at any given time. After the 1980s, the station was reduced and the radar replaced by an automated FPS-117 and FPS-124 system in 1993..

Currently the dome conceals a powerful upgraded FPS-117 radar , part of a chain of such stations standing like huge sentries along the northern coast of Alaska and Canada. Monitored around the clock by members of the 611th Air Support Group at Elmendorf airbase, Alaska, this North Warning System - successor to the Distant Early Warning line - maintains a perpetual watch on the skies over North America by means of these Long Range Radar Stations.

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