Space Force to start DARC Site 1 construction

By Apurva Minchekar / May 10, 2023 at 5:01 PM

The Space Force is planning to start the construction of the first of three new radar sites under its Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability effort to enhance deep-space object tracking.

DARC is a ground-based, Space Domain Awareness radar system to detect, track and maintain custody of deep space objects 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the solar exclusion gap. DARC will augment the space surveillance network as an additional sensor with increased capacity and capability for deep space object custody, providing full global coverage, according to Space Force budget justification materials.

The three DARC sites will be the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, Frank Calvelli, Air Force assistant secretary for space acquisition and integration, noted in his testimony for a Senate Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee hearing on April 26.

The Space Force expects to complete the Site-1 construction by the fourth quarter of calendar year 2025. The construction includes roads, buildings, utilities, foundations and installation of all antenna structures.

The DARC program, carried out as a Middle Tier of Acquisition activity, will develop, test and deliver one DARC site and provide a foundation for up to two more future sites located strategically across the world to provide global deep space radar capability to support SDA, according to budget justification materials.

The Space Force is seeking $21.4 million for fiscal year 2024. In addition, it has also requested $25.4 million and $28.7 million for FY-25 and FY-26 respectively.