Multifunction Array Radar (MAR-I)

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Multi-function Array Radar I (MAR-I)

      The MAR-I (that is a Roman Numeral one) was the first phased array radar developed by the US Army.  This first version used separate arrays for the transmitter and receiver.  In the photo above, the transmitter array can be seen on the small dome at the right corner of the facility, while the receiver array is on the larger dome.  The MAR-I was built with only one transmitter array and one receiver array, with the expansion capability to add a transmitter array on the other small dome with the array pointing to the left, and a receiver array in the raised portion on the left side of the large dome.  The domes were all steel and most of the equipment and facilities were under ground.  There was a Nike Hercules tracking radar on top of the large dome and one on the tower to the right of the main facility.  These radars were used and instrumentation radars to verify the accuracy of the MAR-I radar.  The large outer fence was referred to as a "clutter fence."  It was called that because it blocked the radar signal reflected from the ground (called ground clutter) from being received by the radar and displayed.
      After several years of Research and Development (R&D) testing of the Nike Zeus Anti Intercontinental Ballistic Missile system the three different radars used with the Nike Zeus system were deemed to be inadequate.  These radars were limited by mechanical rotation constraints and became obsolete as technology advanced and the ability to electronically steer the radar beam became possible.  This brought about MAR-I.
      As R&D testing continued, advances in technology were making even the MAR-I technology outdated.  However, there were may things to be learned from the MAR-I testing and it remained operational until 1969.  The technology advances had made it possible to consolidate the transmit and receive function into one array.  So, at Kwajalein Island in the Pacific, construction had begun on the R&D Common Aperture Multi-function Radar (CAMAR).  Eventually, as the technology settled out, the Nike X system concept, which included the Spartan and Sprint missiles, was replaced by the Sentinel system (later renamed Safeguard), which also included the Spartan and Sprint missiles along with two phased array radars called the Missile Site Radar (MSR) and the Perimeter Acquisition Radar (PAR) and one site was eventually built in North Dakota.  The CAMAR building was completed, but never populated with equipment.