Barter Island LRRS Airport - History

History

The original runway was built by the United States military in 1947. The U.S. Air Force assumed control of Barter Island in 1951 and extended the runway in 1953 to support the Distant Early Warning Line Radar station at Barter Island (BAR-MAIN). The Barter Island DEW Line station was operated by civilian contract workers. The DEW Line station was inactivated in 1990 and the station personnel were relieved of duty.

The radar station was upgraded with an AN/FPS-117 minimally attended Long Range surveillance radar in the winter of 1990. A prototype AN/FPS-124 short-range radar was also installed. The station was re-designated part of the North Warning System (NWS) as a Long Range Radar Site, A-21, being controlled by the Pacific Air Forces 611th Air Support Group, based at Elmendorf AFB.

In 1998 Pacific Air Forces initiated "Operation Clean Sweep", in which abandoned Cold War stations in Alaska were remediated and the land restored to its previous state. The site remediation of the radar and support station was carried out by the 611th Civil Engineering Squadron at Elmendorf, and remediation work was completed by 2005.

The airport remains open to support the small settlement at Kaktovik and to provide contractor support access to the military radar site.

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