HAARP Facility in Danger of Being Dismantled
According to an April 9 report in Alaska Dispatch, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility near Gakona, Alaska, could be decommissioned and dismantled altogether, unless the US Air Force can find a new prime contractor to take over the sprawling, 35-acre facility. According to the report, the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks is hoping to pull together a plan to run the facility, which long has been a subject of fascination for hams and the target of conspiracy theorists. The facility shut down last year and, with the exception of some contract-funded research, it has essentially remained in standby.
Money is one major issue. The US Air Force Research Laboratory wants to see HAARP survive, “but only if someone else pays the bills, estimated at about $5 million a year,” the article said.
The University of Alaska Geophysical Institute is reported to be trying to come up with a plan to keep HAARP up and running to continue ionospheric research. A White House Office of Science and Technology Policy meeting in February of federal agencies interested in ionospheric research came up with no viable candidates to run HAARP.
The news account cites an Air Force spokesman as saying that final research experiments funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are set to wrap up next month.
HAARP’s website through the University of Alaska remains unavailable. HAARP indicated 3 years ago that it would be shutting down, and it did not submit a budget request for FY 15, but that attracted scant attention.
Jointly funded by the US Air Force Research Laboratory and the US Naval Research Laboratory, HAARP is an ionospheric research facility. Its best-known apparatus is its 3.6 MW HF (approximately 3 to 10 MHz) ionospheric research instrument (IRI), feeding an extensive system of 180 gain antennas and used to “excite” sections of the ionosphere. Other onsite equipment is used to evaluate the effects.
The ultra-high power facility long has intrigued hams, even outside of Alaska. In 1997, HAARP transmitted test signals on HF (3.4 MHz and 6.99 MHz) and solicited reports from hams and short-wave listeners in the “Lower 48” to determine how well the HAARP transmissions could be heard to the south. In 2007 HAARP succeeded in bouncing a 40 meter signal off the moon. Early last year, HAARP scientists successfully produced a sustained high-density plasma cloud in Earth’s upper atmosphere.
While the Air Force has possession for now, the unique facility will be dismantled if no other agency steps forward to take it over. -- Thanks to The Daily DX