U.S. Navy AN/TPS-71 Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar system
U.S. Navy AN/TPS-71 Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar system

US Awards $118 Million to Install Tactical Mobile Over-the-Horizon Radar in Republic of Palau

Gilbane Federal, Concord, California, is awarded an $118,368,220 firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of reinforced concrete pads and foundations in support of the installation of the Tactical Mobile Over-the-Horizon Radar (TACMOR) equipment in the Republic of Palau. Fiscal 2019 military construction funds in the amount of $20,043,496 will be obligated at time of award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Fiscal 2020 military construction funds in the amount of $98,324,724 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Work will be performed in the Republic of Palau, and is expected to be completed by June 2026. The Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command Pacific, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, is the contracting activity.

Palau, officially the Republic of Palau and historically Belau, Palaos or Pelew, is an island country and microstate in the western Pacific. The nation has approximately 340 islands and connects the western chain of the Caroline Islands with parts of the Federated States of Micronesia. It has a total area of 466 square kilometers (180 sq mi). Palau is unrelated to Pulau, which is a Malay word meaning “island” found in a number of place names in the region. During World War II, the United States captured Palau from Japan in 1944 after the costly Battle of Peleliu, when more than 2,000 Americans and 10,000 Japanese were killed and later the Battle of Angaur. Palau passed formally to the United States under United Nations auspices in 1947 as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands established pursuant to Security Council Resolution 21.

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The Compact of Free Association between the United States and Palau sets forth the free and voluntary association of their governments. Palau has no independent military, relying on the United States for its defense. Under the compact, the American military was granted access to the islands for 50 years. The U.S. Navy role is minimal, limited to a handful of Navy Seabees (construction engineers). The U.S. Coast Guard patrols in national waters. The U.S. military uses the Palau islands for a range of military exercises. Last year’s exercises featured the Patriot Missile Defense system, the most advanced air defense equipment in the U.S. arsenal.The government has agreed to host a large United States Air Force high-frequency radar station in Palau, a Tactical Multi-Mission Over the Horizon Radar (TACMOR) system costing well over $100 million, which is expected to be operational in 2026

As the United States seeks to outpace China in the Indo-Pacific, the Air Force is researching the development of a new radar station in Palau that will close surveillance gaps for the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command theater. The radar station, called the Tactical Multi-Mission Over the Horizon Radar, or TACMOR, will transmit high-frequency, over-the-horizon flight information using a high frequency sounder antenna and backscatter sounder. Data collected by TACMOR will be transmitted to a secure, undisclosed receiver site, which can then be sent to an offsite operations control center. Real-time target tracking and extraction information can be used by the control center to support combatant command missions and can also be accessed by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center for post-event analysis, the justification documents say.

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