Radar has no weapons capability

Posted: Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The guest column regarding the temporary positioning of a radar near Juneau for use in a missile defense test (My Turn: "Shielding Missile Defense" on Aug. 3) states that the radar is part of a "directed energy weapons" program administered by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. It is not. The radar has no "directed-energy weapons" capability whatsoever.

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We are positioning a small, transportable X-band radar on the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration's facility in Juneau to provide tracking information from a future target missile launch from Kodiak during the test.

The radar will provide missile tracking data, which is extremely valuable to the missile defense test program. It will complement several other radars at various locations in Alaska, California and on ships and other vessels on station in the Pacific Ocean.

Since the transportable radar is the type that can be moved by aircraft to anywhere it is needed in the world, positioning it in Juneau also will serve as an operationally realistic training scenario for missile defense personnel.

This type of radar is operated safely and with no adverse health effects on a daily basis at hundreds of locations around the world, including most major airports to track aircraft movements on taxiways and runways, and is also used worldwide as a weather radar.

Current plans call for the radar to be removed from Juneau soon after the test is completed so it can be set up in another location to support future tests and/or to make it available for use to actively defend the United States, our deployed forces and our allies and friends against an actual ballistic missile attack.

Rick Lehner

U.S. Missile Defense Agency

Washington, D.C.

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