The U.S. Army’s elite 160th Special Operation Aviation Regiment, known as the Night Stalkers, recently participated in an exercise, called Polar Dagger, to fortify the defense of Shemya Island in Alaska. This strategic island in the Aleutian Islands plays a pivotal role as it hosts the AN/FPS-108 Cobra Dane early warning and missile tracking radar and a substantial airfield. Positioned close to Russia and China, the island is considered an essential point in potential future conflicts against these countries.
- Shemya Island, a critical outpost, is equipped with the significant AN/FPS-108 Cobra Dane early warning radar and an airfield that boasts a 10,000-foot-long runway.
- The recent training exercise named Polar Dagger, led by the Special Operations Command North (SOCNORTH), aimed to demonstrate U.S. forces’ capability to defend vital infrastructure and enhance awareness in the Arctic.
- Shemya Island’s strategic importance is underscored by its history – nearby islands were occupied by Imperial Japanese forces during World War II.
- The Night Stalkers’ helicopters showcased during Polar Dagger possess advanced sensor capabilities that could be crucial for reconnaissance and surveillance missions.
- The presence of the Cobra Dane radar on Shemya Island makes it a potential primary target in a high-end conflict against major powers like Russia or China.