Representatives of the Pacific Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center of the Tactical Multi-Mission Over-The Horizon Radar or TACMOR to be built in Palau held a public hearing in Ngaraard in Babeldaob on Oct. 26.
The hearing discussed the draft Environmental Impact Statement and mitigation measures on the construction of radar. The local community has until Nov. 3 to submit comments on the EIS. The Department of Defense group was led by Col. Michael Staples, commander of the center’s Detachment 2, located at Hickham Air Force Base in Hawaii.
The group included archaeologists who are working with Palau’s cultural and preservation officials. Contractors were also present.
Palauans who attended asked how the placement of the radars would benefit the people of Ngaraard and Palau. Staples said in the larger picture the radars will help promote a free and open Indo-Pacific and for Palau. Staples said job opportunities from the construction of the radar site would benefit residents. He added that people who are hired to build the radar site also need food and other necessities requiring they patronize local stores. During the meeting, a flier with information about job opportunities was passed out. Even after construction is completed, there would be contracts for various needs such as maintaining the facilities.
There also were questions about the construction’s impact to the environment and historical sites. There also were questions about the radar’s impact to the health of people and the environment. Residents' questions and the responses provided that night and to other questions that are submitted by deadline will be part of the EIS report.
The TACMOR transmitter site will be on Babeldaob and the receiver on the island of Angaur, according to Journal files. Palau already has coastal surveillance systems.
There is currently a pending lawsuit on the radar project filed by Angaur state’s government in August. The lawsuit was filed against the Palau government, the U.S. government, contractors, and the Palau Environmental Quality Protection Board for alleged violations of Palau environmental laws and the Compact of Free Association, adverse effects on the well-being of the residents of Angaur by the ongoing land clearing affecting access, erosion of reef areas and waters because of inadequate mitigation measures, and damage to historical sites.
As to TACMOR’s construction progress, a Request for Information was initially posted in June (with subsequent updates), seeking a contract to provide eight to 32 receivers, which will be tested. The contractor will then manufacture the receiver subsystem and install it for subsystem sell off before shipment to Palau. A first informational Industry Day was held in September, with additional days for one-on-ones with interested contractors to be held in Georgia on Nov. 6, Nov. 7, and Nov. 8. Virtual one-on-ones are possible.
In December 2022, Gilbane Federal was awarded a $118.37 million firm-fixed-price contract for the construction of reinforced concrete pads and foundations in support of the installation of TACMOR.
Prior to that, in May 2022, CAPE Environmental Management Inc. of Honolulu was awarded a $12.23 million task order for “site preparation in support of construction of tactical mobile over-the-horizon radar,” according to Journal files.
Both contracts were awarded by Naval Facilities Engineering and Systems Command Pacific, which began soliciting for a Tactical Multi-Mission Over the Horizon Radar in mid-May 2021, according to Journal files. BAE Systems designed the radar, according to a presentation related to the solicitation. NAVFAC Pacific’s scope is to provide infrastructure for the TACMOR system.
The Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center was activated in 2015 and is also responsible for the Space Force’s needs.
To read more background on this story, visit: All systems go: Radar in Palau moves ahead. mbj