Lockport Air Force Station
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|Lockport Air Force Station|
|Part of Air Defense Command (ADC)|
Location of Lockport AFS, New York
|Type||Air Force Station|
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
|Garrison||762d Radar Squadron|
Lockport Air Force Station (ADC ID: P-21, NORAD ID: Z-21) is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 0.9 miles (1.4 km) north-northeast of Shawnee, New York.
It was closed in June 1979 by the Air Force, and turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA moved to a new site near near Dansville, New York as part of the Joint Surveillance System (JSS), designated by NORAD as Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) Ground Equipment Facility J-02.
Lockport Air Force Station was part of the last batch of twenty-three radar stations constructed as part of the Air Defense Command permanent radar network. It has its origins at Fort Niagara, NY, when a temporary "Lashup" radar station was established there in August 1950. The 763d Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron was activated with a World War II AN/CPS-6 radar set at Fort Niagara, the site being designated (L-19).
The 763d AC&W squadron moved to its permanent site at Shawnee, NY in September 1951 after enough construction was finished for beneficial occupancy, 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. The 763d initially began operating a pair of AN/CPS-6B radars, which it operated throughout the 1950s.
The Shawnee site was a joint United States Army/United States Air Force facility with Army personnel establishing Army Air-Defense Command Post (AAFDC) NF-17DC for Nike Missile air-defense system operations for the Niagara Falls-Buffalo Defense Area. The 31st Artillery Brigade (Air Defense) directed the area's defences from here for a period. Shawnee was renamed Lockport Air Force Station on 1 December 1953.
During 1959 Lockport AFS joined the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, initially feeding data to DC-03 at Syracuse AFS, New York. After joining, the squadron was re-designated as the 763d Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 1 February 1959. 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.
Lockport started operating an AN/FPS-7 radar in 1960. Height-finding chores were handled at that time by a pair of AN/FPS-6s. During 1962 United States Army Nike operations ended, and the Air Force added an AN/FPS-26 to replace one of the AN/FPS-7 height-finder radars.
In addition to the main facility, Lockport operated two unmanned AN/FPS-14 Gap Filler sites
- Brockport, NY (P-21A)
- Charlotte Center, NY (P-21B)
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. Routine operations continued until 29 June 1979 when the 763rd was inactivated and Lockport AFS was closed as part of the phaseout of Aerospace Defense Command. Today the facility is being redeveloped for commercial uses. A few USAF buildings remain in deteriorated condition.
Air Force units and assignments
- Constituted as the 763d Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron on 14 November 1950
- Activated on 27 November 1950
- Redesignated as 763d Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 8 March 1959
- Redesignated as 763d Radar Squadron on 1 February 1974
- Inactivated on 29 June 1979
- 540th Aircraft Control and Warning Group, 1 September 1951
- 32d Air Division, 6 February 1952
- 4704th Defense Wing, 16 February 1953
- 4708th Defense Wing, 1 March 1956
- 30th Air Division, 8 July 1956
- Syracuse Air Defense Sector, 1 September 1958
- Detroit Air Defense Sector, 4 September 1963
- 34th Air Division, 1 April 1966
- 35th Air Division, 15 September 1969
- 21st Air Division, 19 November 1969 - 29 June 1979.
- List of USAF Aerospace Defense Command General Surveillance Radar Stations
- Niagara Falls-Buffalo Defense Area (Nike Missiles)
- Cornett, Lloyd H. and Johnson, Mildred W., A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980, 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, US Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories, Champaign, IL (1997).
- Information for Lockport AFS, NY