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Date: 25 February 2000

The Globus II Radar and Norwegian Surveillance Activities in the North

Due to the recent media interest in the Globus II radar, the Norwegian Minister of Defence, Mrs. Eldbjørg Løwer, wishes to issue the following statement for clarification:

Issues concerning the Globus II radar have been dicussed on several occasions between Norway and Russia, both at the political and working level. Norway has stressed that the radar is not to be part of any eventual future US missile defence. The radar is technically unsuited for such a role, and the agreement between Norway and the United States specifies totally different tasks for the radar. The radar at Vardø fully complies with the ABM Treaty.

We obviously have installations that monitor the Norwegian area of military interest. We cooperate with our allies, but all activities are under full Norwegian control. This does not constitute a threat towards Russia or other neighbouring countries. On the contrary, this surveillance activity provides a solid base for the national decicion-making process on defence issues, and prevents overreaction and unnecessary apprehension to Russian military activities in the North. The fact that Russia still has substantial concentrations of strategic nuclear weapons close to Norwegian territory, underlines the need for Norwegian authorities to follow the military activities in this area closely.

The offer to establish the Globus II radar in Vardø was accepted in June, 1997. Both Government and Storting (Parliament) have been informed on the radar project on several occasions.

The Norwegian Ministry of Defence has repeatedly stated that the radar, when reaching its operational status, will have the following main functions:

  • Surveillance of objects in space, mainly by measuring the exact position and orbit of satellites. Despite claims to the contrary, Vardø is an excellent location for space surveillance, particularly for satellites which have a northern orbit.
  • Research and development

The above functions provide unclassified information.

  • Surveillance of the Norwegian area of interest, including technical gathering of intelligence.

Globus II is a cooperative project between Norway and the United States. The radar will be operated exclusively by Norwegian personnel. Neither the definition of surveillance tasks, their execution, nor the transmission of data will happen automatically. All this is set out in detail in a bilateral agreement between the two countries.

Globus II’s intelligence functions are classified information, as is the case for most of the activities of the Norwegian Intelligence Service. There is a broad public understanding in Norway that a small part of the activities of the country’s defence cannot be discussed openly, with reference to the security of the realm and cooperation with other countries.

The Storting has, in the Law on the Intelligence Service, defined the framework within which the Service’s activities are to take place. In addition, the Storting has established a Control Commission for the secret services. The Commission has wide access to information on the activities of the services, of course including the Intelligence Service. As for Globus II, the Commission has been briefed on the radar project and has visited the Vardø site.

Facts about the Globus II radar

  • An American radar, designated AN/FPS-129, has been established at the Norwegian Defence site at Vardø. In Norway, the radar is known as ”Globus II”.
  • Before being moved to Vardø, the radar was located at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and named ”Have Stare”. Globus II has, however, different equiment compared to Have Stare, and has dissimilar properties and functions.
  • The radar is the only one of its kind in the world. It is an X-band (10 GHz), high resolution, single narrow beam, 200 Kw peak radiated power radar. It has a mechanically steered, parabolic reflector antenna of center-feed type, 27 meters in diameter and housed in a 35-meter diameter radome. Is is mounted on a rotating pedestal and can track objects to geosynchronous altitude, about 41 000 kilometers.
  • When fully operational, Globus II will be operationally available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and will have the following functions:
  • Monitor, track and catalogue objects in space. The radar will contribute to the US Space Surveillance Network (SSN) and will fill a gap in the space surveillance coverage. Data acquired by Globus II will contribute to the orbital database maintained by the US Space Command. Information from this database is made publicly available by NASA via the Internet.
  • Strenghten the ability of the Norwegian Defence Intelligence service to monitor the Norwegian area of military interest
  • Be available for national research and development work, including space-related research

There will be no real-time exchange of data between the radar and the United States in connection with the execution of the above functions. Requests for tasks, their execution, and the transmission of data will be performed by Norwegian personnel and will remain under full Norwegian control.

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