By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The next step in establishing full Rapid Attack, Identification, Detection and Reporting System capabilities is underway at Peterson Air Force Base.
The 16th Space Control Squadron and 380th Space Control Squadron, a Reserve Associate Unit, formally broke ground near the east gate Jan. 17 for the new RAIDRS space control facility.
“This has been an incredible feat, especially when you consider the very challenging fiscal and manpower age in which we live,” said Col. Chris Crawford, 21st Space Wing commander.
The $14.3 million facility will be 47,427 square feet once completed and house personnel from the 16th and 380th SPCS. “With the birth of the new building we finally have the opportunity for the entire set of units to live together, to work together in one building,” Crawford said.
The RAIDRS prototype, the Satellite Interference Response System, was initially deployed to U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility in July 2005 for a 120-day proof of concept. Out of this initial success, SIRS was redesignated as RAIDRS Deployable Ground Segment Zero and has been continually deployed to the AOR as Operation Silent Sentry. Airmen from the 16th and 380th SPCS have provided the preponderance of the required manpower for this deployed mission since January 2007.
The new facility will be the central operating location for the RAIDRS system. The facility at Peterson, along with various suites of transportable antennas deployed around the world, will be able to detect, characterize, geolocate and report sources of radio frequency interference on U.S. military and commercial satellites in direct support of combatant commanders.
“Basically the DoD uses satellites to communicate over vast distances, and these satellite communication links are vulnerable,” said Lt. Col. Roger Sherman, 16th SPCS commander.
The 16th and 380th SPCS monitor certain signals of interest from RAIDRS. If the operators pick up any interference, they start taking action.
Operators first characterize the problem, then geolocate, or pinpoint the location on the Earth, where the interference is coming from, according to Sherman.
“That will allow us to tell the user of that signal to go to a different frequency or satellite transponder. In the case of something hostile, we can provide decision makers with information as to where the hostile action is coming from,” Sherman said.
Completion of the facility is expected during fiscal year 2013.