If you haven't read the section on the MSR Complex, read that first.
The PAR site was originally part of the SRMSC and is currently an active Air Force installation known as Cavalier Air Force Station. Cavalier Air Force Station is home to the 10th Space Warning Squadron (a detached unit of the 21st Space Wing, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado). There are no runways here and the landscape is dominated by the PAR itself. Access to the base is restricted to authorized personnel. My visit was previously approved by The Air Force and I was told that I would be allowed to take photographs. I was greeted on the base by two officers, 2nd Lt James Godfrey and Captain Aaron Elliott, and subsequently given a mission briefing in addition to an historical overview. The PAR is now correctly known as The Perimeter Acquisition Radar Attack Characterization System (PARCS) and, according to The Air Force, fulfills the following missions:
Missile Warning - Detect, track, characterize and report earth-impacting objects to the Missile Warning Center.
Space Situational Awareness - Real-time observation of earth-orbiting objects.
The PARCS is unique in that it is the "Only ground-based missile warning sensor to report attack characterization and the number and type of missiles as well as impact times for the continental United States."
The officers were unable or unwilling to answer most of my questions which is probably understandable. Unfortunately, as we departed the briefing room for a tour of the PARCS, I was informed that photographs would not be allowed on base.
We entered the PARCS through two swinging blast doors and proceeded to a security area. I handed over my cell phone and was read a detailed list of security protocols by Captain Elliott. We then met up with Tech Sgt Murphy (chief of security) who accompanied us for most of the tour. We visited the Missile Warning Operations Center which is a much smaller room than you would think. The old radar consoles have been replaced with modern, flat-panel displays. It is unclear if the data processing is still being performed by the original Sperry UNIVAC CLC although that seems unlikely. I was also able to examine the interior view of the radar antenna array which is contained within the seven foot thick sloping front wall of the PARCS.
We spent some time in the underground power plant and it is rather impressive. There are a total of five, 16 cylinder dual-fuel engines (diesel or natural gas) manufactured by Cooper Bessemer which drive a corresponding number of General Electric generators. The total output is 14 megawatts, although the PARCS only needs three engines to operate. Indeed, there were thunderstorms in the area during my visit and the PARCS had transitioned from the local power grid to their own power plant.
The lack of interior photographs is regrettable but it is unlikely that this facility will be a relic anytime soon due to the role it continues to play in our national defense.