Space Force's DARC Site 1 to be operational in Australia in 2026

By Apurva Minchekar / December 4, 2023 at 2:57 PM

The first site of the Space Force's new deep radar system will be operational in Western Australia beginning in 2026, according to a Dec. 1 announcement.

The Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability is a ground-based system to detect and track deep space objects 24/7 using solar gap exclusion, which is supported by the trilateral security partnership between Australia, the U.S. and the United Kingdom.

“AUKUS is accelerating capabilities that provide trilateral partners with advanced technology to identify emerging threats in space,” the announcement states.

According to an announcement in August, the DARC Site-2 will be operational in June 2028 and Site-3 in June 2029.

The Defense Department awarded Northrop Grumman a sole-source contract to complete the fielding of DARC Sites 2 and 3 as well as to provide logistics support for operations and support for all 3 sites and the Mission Operations Center, Inside Defense reported in August.

Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office has reported the DARC 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.