SSPAR radar

Serco has received a contract extension to continue provision of operation and maintenance support to the solid state phased array radar (SSPAR), located at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Fylingdales, North Yorkshire, UK.

Awarded by the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), the six-year, £15m contract starts on 1 April 2014, and also includes an option for an additional six years.

Under the contract, the company will be responsible for the operation, maintenance and repair of the SSPAR and its associated hardware and life support systems, including project management and software maintenance activities.

Serco Defence managing director Duncan Mackison said, ”This is an important contract for us and our continued success is down to the hard work and professionalism of all those who work at this small station on the North Yorkshire Moors and their drive for continuous improvement."

The company is the only contractor to have continuously operated and maintained the facility despite 11 competitive tender exercises.

"The company is the only contractor to have continuously operated and maintained the facility."

Manufactured by Raytheon, the SSPAR is a part of the UK/US ballistic missile early warning system (BMEWS), which is designed to provide long-range warning of a ballistic missile attack over the polar region of the Northern Hemisphere.

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The radar consists of a 12ft three-sided truncated pyramid, with each face containing an array of 2,560 transmit/receive modules, with a circularly polarised Pawsey Stub antenna.

Claimed to be the only three-faced BMEWS radar in the world, providing a full 360º of cover, the SSPAR is capable of keeping track of many hundreds of space objects a minute out to a range of 3000NM, and is designed to ignore targets that do not behave like a rocket being launched or a satellite in orbit.


Image: The BMEWS solid-state phased-array radar at RAF Fylindales in UK. Photo: courtesy of Spliced.

Defence Technology