Vardø: Pomors, Radars and Witches in the Far North
The Pavilion - Globus 2
When you get to the road, stop and look up to your left.
Can you see a white globular structure perched on top of Vårberget?
You might need to move further over to the right to get a better look.
[3 SECOND PAUSE]
This is the radar station Globus 2.
The site is administrated by the Norwegian Intelligence Service, which states that the radar is used for Space surveillance, the surveillance of areas of national interest abroad and to gather information of interest for research and development
The radar was originally located at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. It was made by Raytheon, who previously described it on their website as a radar "originally designed to collect intelligence data against ballistic missiles". The website has since then been taken down at the request of the US Department of Defence.
The radar uses a mechanically steered 27-meter dish antenna, and is officially used to monitor objects in space, such as satellites and space debris.
In April 1998 a Norwegian journalist discovered that NASA had no knowledge of a new radar being added to the space system. This led him to suspect it was being used for other purposes, as well as for national purposes such as intelligence gathering. There have been many discussions about the radar and what other purposes it serve - because of its close proximity to the Russian border.
In 2000, the dome was torn off during a storm, uncovering the radar-dish. At that time it was pointing directly towards Russia. A local newspaper editor commented: "I'm not an expert, but I thought space was in the sky”.
A new radar, GLOBUS 3, is currently under construction, and will replace a smaller radar in the same area.
Now, turn right and walk along the sidewalk.