Military surveillance site in Clear gets a new operator: U.S. Space Force

Several people in army unifroms sit in front of a black sign
Clear Air Force Station is renamed to Clear Space Force Station, June 15, 2021, Clear SFS, Alaska. The renaming of Clear was one of several Air Force space-centric installations to be redesignated as Space Force installations to establish a distinct culture and identity for the Space Force. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Adam Keele)

Clear Air Force Station has a new name. In a ceremony Tuesday, the installation near Healy was officially re-named Clear Space Force Station.

Installation officials say the name change won’t affect Clear’s main mission: Scan the horizon for incoming enemy missiles and alert U.S. missile defense system, including the base at Fort Greely, to threats.

However Clear’s ability to carry out that mission will be greatly enhanced in 2023 when an advanced $1.5 billion radar system becomes operational. Construction work on the Long Range Discrimination Radar is finished, and the Missile Defense Agency hopes to conduct a key operational flight test for the LRDR next year.

There are about a dozen Space Force personnel at Clear. For now, officials say Air Force military and civilian personnel will continue to operate the installation.

The U.S. Space Force was established in December 2019 as the newest branch of the U.S. military. The 13th Space Warning Squadron at Clear falls under the Space Force’s command. That unit is based at Buckley Space Force Base in Colorado.

Clear is the third Air Force station to be re-designated as a Space Force facility. Six Air Force bases also have been re-designated as Space Force bases: three, including Buckley, are in Colorado, two are in California, and one is in Florida.

This story previously stated that there were no Space Force personnel at Clear Air Force Station. Clear officials say there are about a dozen members.

Tim Ellis is a reporter at KUAC in Fairbanks.

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