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Overview (U):

(U) The COBRA DANE is a deployed and operational, ground based, L-band large phased array radar (LPAR) located in Shemya, AK. COBRA DANE has historically fulfilled three concurrent missions: intelligence data collection of strategic missile systems; treaty verification; and early warning to CINCNORAD/CMAFS of ballistic missile attack against CONUS and southern Canada. COBRA DANE also passes Inter-Range Vector (IRV) data to other downrange sensors. In 1990, the USAF invested $60 million in the COBRA DANE System Modernization (CDSM). In 1993, budgetary constraints forced discontinuation of all but the primary mission of intelligence data collection.

Description (U):

(U) Cobra Dane is an Early Warning Radar (EWR) designed to acquire precise radar metric and signature data on developing foreign ballistic missile systems for weapons system characterization. COBRA DANE was developed in the mid 1970s and became operational in 1977.

(U) Beginning in 1990, the COBRA DANE system was upgraded. The modernization involved replacing aging and unsupportable radar, computing and communications interface equipment, including: the Receiver/Waveform Generator, Digital Pulse Compression Unit, and all ADPE and recording peripherals. The majority of the transmitter, array and facilities subsystems remained intact. All operations software was rewritten and enhanced using the ADA language. The entire system is controlled by dual redundant VAX 6000-520 mainframes (13 MIPs each) for increased mission reliability.

(U) COBRA DANE generates approximately 15.4 MW of peak RF power (0.92 MW average) from 96 Traveling Wave Tube (TWT) amplifiers arranged in 12 groups of 8. This power is radiated through 15,360 active array elements, which together with 19,408 inactive elements comprise the 94.5 ft diameter array face.

(U) The system, designated AN/FPS-108, has a phased array L-Band antenna containing 15,360 radiating elements occupying 95% of the roughly 100 by 100 foot area of one face of the building housing the system. The antenna is oriented toward the west, monitoring the northern Pacific missile test areas.

(U) Mission data is provided to the National Air Intelligence Center (NAIC) for reduction and analysis.

(U) Organizations: primary requirements are established by the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Headquarters Air Intelligence Agency (HQ AIA) is responsible for radar operations and maintenance. HQ AIA/LGM, located at Kelly AFB TX, is the responsible Operations and Maintenance (O&M) office for the system. On site O&M is performed under a Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) contract managed by HQ AIA. NAIC provides processing and data exploitation services.

User Impact (U):

(U) Analyzed data from the system is used by all military services, the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA).

(U) Data collected by COBRA DANE is required by Congress for arms control treaty verification. It is reasonable to anticipate the system to remain operational for as long as the US has radar sensor needs for treaty verification.

Programmatics (U):

(U) Operational.

(U) Organizations and Funding:
  • (U) Air Force: Funding Source.

      (U) FY98-02 operations funded across FYDP. COBRA DANE is currently funded though FY02 in the General Defense Intelligence Program budget PE 31315. HQ USAF/XOI (previously HQ USAF/INR) is the program and funding execution organization.

Images (U):

(U) None.

Related Initiatives (U):
This Table Is Unclassified.

Related Requirements (U):None.

Related Categories (U):
Collateral SensorsCollateral Sensors
Ground-Based WarningGround-Based Warning Sensors
This Table Is Unclassified.

Road Map Placements (U):

This Table Is Unclassified.

Requirements, Funding and Additional Hotlinks (U):

1997 Force Enhancement STW
This Table Is Unclassified.

Lead Office (U):

(U) Air Force.

(U) DoD: ACDA, Pentagon, Washington, DC
(U) Service Staff: HQ USAF/XOI, Pentagon, Washington, DC
(U) Major Command: HQ/AIA, Kelly AFB, San Antonio, TX
(U) Program Management: HQ/AIA/LGM, Kelly AFB, San Antonio, TX

Point of Contact (U):

(U) Maj Donald Landing, ESC, Open Phone: None..

Date Of Information (U):

(U) 10 November 1997

(U) Road Map Production Date: 12 July 1999

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