AUKUS: Radars will help counter threat of 'space warfare'

Radars tracking activity in “deep space” will help the UK protect itself from “space warfare”, the defence secretary has said.

It marks a “new phase” of a security arrangement between the UK, US and Australia by 2030 – known as AUKUS.

The Ministry of Defence said radars will enable nations to identify objects in deep space, up to 22,000 miles (36,000 km) away from earth.

Grant Shapps said the system would be “constantly tracking threats”.

The Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability (DARC) programme will be used to inform UK defence operations.

In a post on X, the Mr Shapps continued “that’s why alongside the US and Australia we will build a global space radar system capable of constantly tracking threats in deep space.”

The first radar site will be built in Australia and is expected to be up and running by 2026.

Cawdor Barracks in Pembrokeshire, Wales has been earmarked for the UK’s radar, but the final decision depends on the outcome of an Environmental Impact Assessment and Town Planning application.

The barracks is currently home to a British Army Signals Regiment, which is due to relocate from 2028.

If given the go-ahead, construction is expected to be completed and the radar fully operational by 2030.

The radars will be operated from the ground, and will be equipped to provide 24/7 monitoring in all-weathers.

They have higher sensitivity, better accuracy, increased capacity, and more agile tracking than the current radars keeping tabs on deep space activity, the MoD said.

The “unique geographic positioning” of three radars would provide global monitoring and coverage, the MoD says, including “detecting potential threats to defence or civilian space systems”.

It added the radars will assist in “critical space-traffic management and contribute to the global surveillance” of satellites in deep space.

The plan is part of the AUKUS security and defence pact between the three nations, which aims to maintain peaceful relations globally and in the Indo-Pacific area.

The DARC programme is key to “space domain awareness”, a key objective of the UK’s Defence Space Strategy, published last year.

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