DARC Site-2 will be operational in June 2028 and Site-3 in June 2029

By Apurva Minchekar / August 8, 2023 at 12:41 PM

The Space Force's new deep space radar system at Site-2 and Site-3 is expected to be operational in June 2028 and June 2029, respectively, according to an Aug. 7 notice.

The Defense Department awarded Northrop Grumman a sole-source contract to complete the fielding of Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability Sites 2 and 3 as well as to provide logistics support for operations and support for all 3 sites and the Mission Operations Center.

“Site 1 [contract logistics support] limited to two years following Site-1 operational acceptance; sites 2 and 3 CLS limited to one year each following each site operational acceptance; and the training of site operations and maintenance personnel for all three sites and the MOC,” the service noted.

According to the notice, the estimated contract award date for fielding action is in December or the first quarter of the calendar year 2024.

Recently, Frank Calvelli, Air Force assistant secretary for space acquisition and integration, in his April written testimony to the Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, said the three DARC sites would be in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.

The service is expecting to complete Site-1 construction by the fourth quarter of calendar year 2025, which will include the construction of roads, buildings, utilities, foundation and installation of antenna structures.

Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office has reported that the program is estimated to take an additional year to complete the program beyond the middle-tier acquisition timeframe of five years, indicating a schedule risk.

The DARC is a ground-based radar that will be responsible for providing the Space Force with 24/7 weather capabilities to detect, track, identify and characterize objects in deep space.