Distant Early Warning Line
The Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, also known as Project 572, describes a series of radar stations in the northern Arctic region of Canada and along the north coast of the Aluetian Islands, Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland. The DEW Line served as an early warning detection grid for Soviet aircraft during the Cold War.
Distant Early Warning station at Tuktoyaktuk, Canada
Inception of the DEW Line grew from a detailed scientific study in 1952. The Summer Study Group at Massachusetts Institute of Technology studied the vulnerability of the United States and Canada to air attack from the Soviet Union. The study recommended building an early warning system across the Arctic border as quickly as possible.
Robert A. Lovett, Secretary of Defense, asked the Bell System to complete the task. Bell assigned well over 25,000 people, sub-contractors and others. The DEW Line was constructed on time (32 months) and was completed July 31, 1957.
The DEW Line was renamed the North American Warning System in 1985. The new name evolved when the advanced radar systems of Alaska were integrated into a singular system.