Cavalier Air Force Station
Cavalier Air Force Station (1977-Present) - A Cold War Air Force Radar Station first established in 1977 near Cavalier, Pembina County, North Dakota. Established by USAF in 1977 as Concrete Missile Early Warning Station. Renamed Cavalier Air Force Station in 1983. Active military installation.
History of Cavalier Air Force Station
Initially part of the Stanley R. Mickelsen Safeguard Complex (SRMSC) under the US Army Ballistic Missile Defense Command and transferred to the USAF Aerospace Defense Command on 1 Oct 1977. Established on 1 Oct 1977 as Concrete Missile Early Warning Station. Renamed Cavalier Air Force Station in 1983. Manned by the 10th Space Warning Squadron.
The phased array radar at Cavalier AFS was initially a part of the SAFEGUARD missile defense system designed to intercept incoming enemy missile warheads and destroy them with missiles known as the Spartan and the Sprint. The radar at Cavalier provided the initial detection and tracking of the enemy missile and passed that along to launch and tracking systems for the interceptor missiles.
The controversial system was activated on 1 Apr 1975, operational on 28 Sep 1975 and deactivated on 10 Feb 1976 at the behest of the U.S. Congress. The Air Force repurposed the facility as an early warning and space tracking facility and it is still an operational facility with updated electronic systems.
The General Electric FPQ-16 solid state phased array radar system is housed in a cube like building, 204' by 213' at the base, 120' tall with a sloped front for the phased array radar face. The building is designed to weather a nuclear attack and is said to be one of the most solidly built structures in the world and includes inner and outer blast doors. The face of the antenna incorporates 6,888 elements and the system had a maximum range of some 1,780 nautical miles. A separate underground power plant housed five, 16 cylinder dual-fuel (diesel/natural gas) generator sets generating 14 megawatts of power for the radar.
The physical plant of the Air Force Station was divided into a limited access site, a cantonment area and a small housing area. The limited access site housed the radar building and the underground power plant. The cantonment area housed the enlisted barracks, the bachelor officer's quarters, the orderly room, the dining hall, the motor pool, a helicopter pad and other support buildings. A very small housing area extends on the west side of the station with 8 housing units most of which are duplexes.
Active military installation near Cavalier in Pembina County, North Dakota.
A full Scale Spartan Interceptor Missile model is located in a small park along Hwy 18 at the north end of Cavalier ND. The missile model was designed and built by Lorrich Industries, Inc. in recognition of the teamwork and friendship of Cavalier Air Force Station and the surrounding community.
Visited: area 28 Jul 2016