Definitions for ballistic missile early warning system

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  1. Ballistic Missile Early Warning System

    The United States Air Force Ballistic Missile Early Warning System was the first operational ballistic missile detection radar. The original system was built in 1959 and could provide long-range warning of a ballistic missile attack over the polar region of the Northern Hemisphere. The radars also provided satellite tracking data. The three installations are: ⁕Site I- A United States Air Force facility at Thule Air Base, Greenland, ⁕Site II-A United States Air Force facility at Clear Air Force Station, Alaska, ⁕Site III - A Royal Air Force facility at RAF Fylingdales, in the United Kingdom, BMEWS was the fourth radar warning system built during the decade of the 1950s in response to the Cold War with the former Soviet Union. It supplemented the Pine Tree Line, the Mid-Canada Line and the DEW Line, which were designed to track bombers. None of these, of course, have ever detected a bomber or ballistic missile attack. The three facilities operated their original 1950s vintage radars for more than four decades, but all have been upgraded with more modern phased array radars. The facility at Clear Air Force Station was the last to be upgraded and now operates a PAVE PAWS radar that was moved from Eldorado Air Force Station in Texas in 2001. Information received from the BMEWS radars is forwarded to the JFCC SPACE Missile Warning Center at Cheyenne Mountain Air Station, Colorado, where it is coordinated with data from other sensors, including other PAVE PAWS sites.

Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms

  1. ballistic missile early warning system

    An electronic system for providing detection and early warning of attack by enemy intercontinental ballistic missiles. Also called BMEWS.

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