HomeAbout UsFact SheetsDisplay

Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization System


The Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization System (PARCS) is a single-faced, multi-function, UHF-Band, phased-array radar located at Cavalier AFS, ND. 

The primary mission of PARCS Cavalier AFS, ND, keeps watch for sea-launched and intercontinental ballistic missiles launched toward North America, and to collect Launch and Predicted Impact (L&PI) data, generally defined as missile warning (MW) data.  The secondary mission of PARCS is to provide data concerning space launches and orbiting objects as a collateral sensor for the Space Surveillance Network (SSN). 

There are no plans to upgrade PARCS with a Missile Defense Capability.


Cavalier AFS is 15 miles south of the Canadian and U.S. border. PARCS is responsible for monitoring and tracking more than half of all earth-orbiting objects.  The single face of the radar is inclined 25º from vertical and it can operate down at least to elevation angle of at least 1.8˚.  Its antenna is octagonal, with a roughly 30 m diameter, and contains 6,144 active antenna elements.


This system was originally built by the US Army as part of the Safeguard missile defense system defending US missile fields in North Dakota.  However the safeguard system was decommissioned shortly after it was activated in 1976.  The radar was then transferred to the USAF to support the Missile Warning and Space Surveillance missions.  

PARCS is able to detect and track both intercontinental and sea-launched missile threats which is provided to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), and regional combatant commanders. As part of the missile warning mission PARCS provides attack characterization data to the Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment (ITW/AA) system.  PARCS supports space situational awareness and space control by sending satellite track data to the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) for processing.  

Point of Contact: Air Force Space Command, Public Affairs Office; 150 Vandenberg St., Suite 1105; Peterson AFB, Colo., 80914-4500; DSN 692-3731, or (719) 554-3731; Fax (719) 554-6013.

(Current as of January 2017)