The U.S. Defense Department on Friday announced plans to deploy a new long-range radar in central Alaska that would help the U.S. missile defense system better discern potential enemy missiles launched by Iran or North Korea and increase the capacity of interceptors in the ground in Alaska and California.

Raytheon Co, Northrop Grumman Corp and Lockheed Martin Corp are competing to build the new radar, which is expected to cost just under $1 billion.

The new radar would begin defensive operations in 2020, pending completion of required environmental and safety studies, the department said in a statement.

It said the new long-range discrimination radar (LRDR) will help the multi-layered U.S. ballistic missile defense system better address potential countermeasures that could be launched by potential foe to confuse U.S. defensive systems.

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