US, UK, Australia announce trilateral Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability initiative

  • Published
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
The United States, United Kingdom and Australia announced a trilateral initiative called the Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability today following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in September.

The new program is designed to provide 24/7, all-weather capabilities that will increase the ability to detect, track, identify and characterize objects in deep space. The memorandum of understanding between the three countries will last 22 years.

“The Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability will leverage the geography of the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom to further enhance our collective space domain awareness: the ability to track, identify and characterize space objects. Space domain awareness is foundational to responsible space operations, and it is essential for responding to activity in space, whether that activity is routine or hostile,” said U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, Dr. John Plumb.

DARC offers higher sensitivity, better accuracy, increased capacity and more agile tracking than current radars capable of tracking objects in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit. Its ability to provide global monitoring extends beyond inclement weather and daylight, which are limitations of current ground-based optical systems. The capability will also be used to protect the essential services that rely on satellites and communication from space, including everyday aspects of modern life such as mobile phones and TV.

“As the space domain rapidly evolves, we must continue taking deliberate steps to ensure our collective ability to operate safely, and our nations are uniquely positioned to provide that capability on a global scale,” said U.S. Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman.

“As the world becomes more contested and the danger of space warfare increases, the U.K. and our allies must ensure we have the advanced capabilities we need to keep our nations safe,” U.K. Defense Secretary Grant Shapps said. “Today’s announcement of a global radar network (DARC), based across the U.K., U.S. and Australia, will do just that, empowering the U.K. to detect, track and identify objects in deep space.”

Site surveys performed in the U.S., U.K. and Australia confirmed that these locations are optimally positioned to provide full coverages of the GEO.

“From its Australian site, the DARC will integrate with other DARC sites in the United States and the United Kingdom. This will provide a space domain awareness capability to deter nations from undertaking activities that are against Australia’s interests by providing continuous global detection and observation of satellites in space,” said Australian Lt. Gen. John Frewen, Chief of Joint Capabilities. “Working with our AUKUS partners continues to deliver advanced military capabilities contributing to a safe, more secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.”

AUKUS has accelerated the delivery of the DARC initiative, and DARC will improve interoperability between the AUKUS partners, a key priority of the AUKUS Advanced Capabilities Program, termed "Pillar II," is a bold, generational opportunity for AUKUS to harness and uplift our innovation enterprises and industries, remove barriers to cooperation and together develop advanced capabilities for our warfighters.

All three sites are expected to be operational by the end of the decade.