Claims Vardø radar can be used in missile defence system

The Globus II radar is located in Vardø, Norway's easternmost location and only some few tens of kilomtres from the Russian Northern fleet's submarine bases on the Kola Peninsula. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

Newly released book argues that the Globus II radar in Norway’s north easternmost corner is essential for a U.S. missile defence system in Europe.


The book “Satelittkrigen” (Satellite War) is written by Bård Wormdal, a NRK journalist that for decades has reported from the Barents Region.

In the book, Bård Wormdal quotes Professor Theodor Postol at Massachusetts Institute of Technology saying: “It is very difficult to understand how the Vardø radar not will be used as part of the U.S. missile defence. The reason for this is because it is the only radar that has the capability to tell the difference between a real warhead and a dummy. It is the only radar with a resolution and a range that can provide information about the difference between a warhead and a dummy in an attempt to track an intercontinental nuclear missile from Iran to central parts or the east coast of the United States.”

Professor Postol is a radar expert and has for years been doing research on how the U.S missile system in Europe will work. In a 2008 briefing posted in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Professor Postol argues that the European midcourse radar (in the Czech Republic) is much less powerful when it is trying to detect, track, and discriminate real warhead targets.

The Globus II radar in Vardø was previously located at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. According to Wikipedia, the radar was originally designed to collect intelligence data against ballistic missiles. The radar was moved to Vardø in 1999 and Norwegian authorities maintain that the radar is tracking space debris. Orbital space debris can be seen at the portal of NASA.

The Globus II radar is operated by the Norwegian Intelligence Service and was previously described at the portal of the Intelligence Service. The link to the description is no longer available. 

Reporter Bård Wormdal has written the book “Satelittkrigen.”
Photo: Knut-Sverre Horn

Bård Wormdal writes in the book that Vardø has an ideal location to track Russian intercontinental missiles from Plesetsk in the Arkhangelsk region to Kamchatka, six time zones further east. Track information from the missiels and weapon systems are of great importance for the United States to be able to intercept such nuclear weapons.

Russia has retained staunch opposition to the planned deployment of a U.S. missile defence system near its borders. Although Washington assures that the system is aimed at stopping missiles from countries like Iran and North Korea, Moscow claims the system would be a security threat to Russia.

Read alsoRussia warns against missile-interceptors in the Barents Sea

Visiting Hawaii earlier this week, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev announced that he would deliver a complete assessment on the U.S.-backed European missile defence system in the near future, reports RIA Novosti.