Military surveillance site in Clear gets a new operator: the U.S. Space Force

Workers pull down old radar structures that were part of the now-defunct Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at Clear Air Force Station in October. The Cold War-era BMEWS was removed and recycled to make way for new construction. About a billion dollars’ worth of work is under way at Clear, related to installation of the a new radar system that will provide much greater coverage for such missile-defense facilities as the base at Fort Greely. (U.S. Air Force Space Command)
Workers pull down old radar structures that were part of the now-defunct Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at Clear Air Force Station in 2017. (U.S. Air Force Space Command)

Clear Air Force Station has a new name. In a ceremony Tuesday, the installation near Healy was officially renamed Clear Space Force Station.

Installation officials say the name change won’t affect Clear’s main mission, which is to scan the horizon for incoming enemy missiles and to alert the U.S. missile defense system, including the base at Fort Greely, to threats.

Clear’s ability to carry out that mission could be greatly enhanced in 2023 when an advanced, $1.5 billion radar system becomes operational. Construction work on the Long Range Discrimination Radar has been completed, and the Missile Defense Agency hopes to conduct a key operational flight test for the LRDR next year.

There are no Space Force personnel at Clear. Officials say for now Air Force military and civilian personnel will continue to operate the installation.

The U.S. Space Force is the newest branch of the military, established in December 2019. The 13th Space Warning Squadron at Clear falls under the Space Force’s command. That unit is based at Buckley Space Force Base in Colorado.

Clear is the third Air Force station to be re-designated as a Space Force facility. Six Air Force bases also have been redesignated as Space Force bases: three, including Buckley, are in Colorado, two are in California and one is in Florida.

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