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The AN/FPS-124 is an unattended Radar (UAR) providing short range, doppler radar surveillance of airborne targets. It provides target information to the Regional Operations Control Center (ROCC), and employs built-in-test, performance monitoring/fault isolation and system redundancy enabling it to reconfigure itself when fault detection occurs.

The AN/FPS-117 and AN/FPS-124 form an array of radars stretching across North America from Alaska via Canada to Greenland. This North Warning System is designed to provide long-range detection and coverage for drug interdiction support and tactical command and control. Implementation of the North Warning System has resulted in a reduction in Operations and Maintenance (O&M) spending by up to 50% compared to previous systems.

Due to extreme northern locations of these radars, the physics of radiowave propagation in the 1215-1400 MHz frequency range is even more critical for target detection requirements. The AN/FPS-124 is intended to cover any surveillance gaps left by the North Warning System's long range radar, the AN/FPS-117.

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