Cavalier Air Force Station
Cavalier Air Force Station (1977-Present) - A U.S. Air Force Radar Station transferred from a discontinued U.S. Army anti-missile system near Cavalier, Pembina County, North Dakota. First established as an Air Force station in 1977 as Concrete Missile Early Warning Station. Renamed Cavalier Air Force Station in 1983 and after the creation of the U.S. Space Force it was renamed Cavalier Space Force Station on 30 Sep 2021. Active military installation.
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. Now Cavalier Space Force Station.
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 as such, it is still an operational facility with updated electronic systems.
Cavalier Space Force Station
With the creation of the U.S. Space Force, the station was renamed Cavalier Space Force Station and is now a geographically separated unit of Space Delta 4, located at Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado. The 10th Space Warning Squadron (SWS) will operate and maintain the PARCS phased-array radar system that now tracks over half of all earth-orbiting objects.
The PARCS allows Cavalier SFS to provide critical missile warning and space surveillance data to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), United States Space Command (USSPACECOM), and regional combatant commanders. It also provides attack characterization data to the Secretary of Defense and the President of the United States for real-time war plan execution decisions.
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.
PARCS was initially slated for closure in 1992 but was instead upgraded with newer electronics to become EPARCs. EPARCS is now operated by the 10th Space Warning Squadron, Space Delta 4, and maintained by Summit Technical Solutions, LLC. In addition to contractors, NORAD has U.S. and Canadian military members assigned to the facility.
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 station's west side 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. to recognize the teamwork and friendship of Cavalier Air Force Station and the surrounding community.