Kalispell Air Force Station

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Kalispell Air Force Station

Airdefensecommand-logo.jpg

Part of Air Defense Command (ADC)
Coordinates 48°00′41″N 114°21′53″W / 48.01139°N 114.36472°W / 48.01139; -114.36472 (Kalispell AFS TM-179)
Type Air Force Station
Site information
Controlled by  United States Air Force
Site history
Built 1959
In use 1959-1978
Garrison information
Garrison 716th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
Kalispell AFS is located in Montana
Kalispell AFS
Kalispell AFS
Location of Kalispell AFS, Montana
Emblem of the 716th Radar Squadron

Kalispell Air Force Station (ADC ID: TM-179, NORAD ID: Z-179) is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 13.3 miles (21.4 km) south of Kalispell, Montana. It was closed in 1978 by the Air Force, and turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Today the site is part of the Joint Surveillance System (JSS), designated by NORAD as Western Air Defense Sector (WADS) Ground Equipment Facility J-78.

History[edit]

Kalispell Air Force Station came into existence as part of Phase III of the Air Defense Command Mobile Radar program. On October 20, 1953 ADC requested a third phase of twenty-five radar sites be constructed.

The 716th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron was assigned to the new station on 1 May 1959. The squadron started operations with an AN/FPS-7B search radar and a pair of AN/FPS-90 height-finder radars in 1961, and initially the station functioned as a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and warning station. As a GCI station, the squadron's role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit's radar scopes.

During 1960 Kalispell AFS joined the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, initially feeding data to DC-20 at Malmstrom AFB, Montana. After joining, the squadron was re-designated as the 716th Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 15 October 1960. The radar squadron provided information 24/7 the SAGE Direction Center where it was analyzed to determine range, direction altitude speed and whether or not aircraft were friendly or hostile. On 31 July 1963, the site was redesignated as NORAD ID Z-179.

An AN/FPS-26 FD height-finder radar was to have replaced one of the height-finder radars, but was never installed. One AN/FPS-90 was decommissioned in 1969.

In addition to the main facility, Kalispell operated several AN/FPS-14 Gap Filler sites:

Over the years, the equipment at the station was upgraded or modified to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the information gathered by the radars. The 716th Radar Squadron (SAGE) was inactivated on 1 April 1978 as part of the draw down of Aerospace Defense Command, and the station turned over to the FAA, becoming a JSS site.

Circa 1977 the AN/FPS-90 was modified to an AN/FPS-116. In the early 1980s the AN/FPS-7B was replaced by an ARSR-3 search radar. The AN/FPS-116 was removed c. 1988. In the late 1990s, an ARSR-4 replaced the ARSR-3. The site remains in use as a JSS site today

Air Force units and assignments[edit]

Units[edit]

  • 716th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
Activated at Geiger Field, Washington on 1 October 1958
Moved to Kalispell AFS on 1 May 1959
Redesignated as 716th Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 15 October 1960
Redesignated as 716th Radar Squadron on 1 February 1974
Inactivated on 1 April 1978

Assignments[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Cornett, Lloyd H. and Johnson, Mildred W., A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980, [1] Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson AFB, CO (1980).
  • Winkler, David F. & Webster, Julie L., Searching the Skies, The Legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program, [2] US Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories, Champaign, IL (1997).
  • Information for Kalispell AFS, MT

External links[edit]