Infrastructure or equipment

The first EISCAT system, the UHF incoherent scatter radar, becameoperable in 1981. Since then, the facilities of the EISCAT ScientifiAssociation have been continuously developed and extended and todaycomprise world-class radars and a powerful ionospheric heating facility.

The research is conducted on the lower, middle and upper atmosphere anionosphere using the incoherent scatter radar technique. The technique isthe most powerful ground-based tool for these research applications.EISCAT is also being used as a coherent scatter radar for studyinginstabilities in the ionosphere, as well as for investigating the structure anddynamics of the middle atmosphere and as a diagnostic instrument in ionospheric modification experiments with the Heating facility. There arten incoherent scatter radars in the world, and EISCAT operates three ofthe highest-standard facilities. These sites are located in the Scandinaviasector, north of the Arctic Circle. They consist of two independent radasystems under the auroral oval on the mainland, together with anotherradar in the north polar cap region on the island of Spitzbergen in thSvalbard archipelago. 

The EISCAT VHF system is a tri-static radar, that is, three facilities thatwork together. These are located in Finland, Norway and Sweden. INorway there are two different EISCAT facilities that work in UHF andVHF. The HF Heating facility is also located in Norway as well as aEISCAT operated Dynasonde. 

Developments in hardware, software and observational techniques haveallowed the range of science addressed to be dramatically broadened since the first observations were made and the Association continues to provide and develop appropriate tools to support its user community. 

The implementation of the next generation incoherent scatter radar system to be constructed in northern Scandinavia, EISCAT_3D, opens up opportunities for physicists to explore new facets of the interaction between the Earth and space as well as studies of climate change, space weather plasma physics, space debris and near-Earth objects. EISCAT_3D is planned to be operational in 2021 and will have a lifetime of more than 30 years. EISCAT_3D was included on the ESFRI Roadmap 2008 for large scale European research infrastructures and became an ESFRI Landmark in 2018. The EISCAT_3D project entered the implementation phase in 2017.