Matador Automatic Radar Control

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Matador Automatic Radar Control
military control system
Country United States
Branch USAF
AN/MPS-19 Performance[1]
Frequency 2700-2900 MHz (S-Band) with 3 mc bandwidth[2]
PRF 200 pulses/second
Pulsewidth 0.8 microseconds

Matador Automatic Radar Control (MARC) was a command guidance system for the Martin MGM-1 Matador ground launched cruise missile that used combination radar/computer/communication centrals ("Q" systems) for ground-directed bombing. As for the earlier ground central used with the X-10 aircraft,* MARC had an "Air Link" from the ground[3] for control and an airborne AN/APW-11A radar transponder on the missile for ranging.[4] A series of "MSQ sites".[5] each with a mobile AN/MSQ-1A central in 3 vans[6] had an automatic tracking radar to geolocate the Matador up to ~600 nmi (690 mi; 1,100 km). MARC provided command guidance during the "mid-course phase" after Matador/MARC contact was established following[7] the missile launch[8] off the Zero Length Launcher[9] and until an MSQ transmitted the dive ("dump") command to start the flight path toward the target. Originating in the Caltech/Martin "ZEL Project"[10] and developed as part of weapon system "Project MX 771" at the "Air Force Missile Test Center, Cocoa, Florida"; MARC had accuracy at "crossover into enemy territory" of ~500 ft (150 m)[11] and—at an AN/MSQ-1A range of 165 nautical miles (190 mi; 306 km)—a CEP of 2,700 ft (820 m).[7]


The AN/MSQ-1A developed by the Reeves Instrument Corp. Missile was by the Glenn L. Martin Company, but was the MSQ-1A by the Reeves Instrument Corporation. Company included the AN/MPS-19 automatic tracking radar and an alternating current analog[10] OA 626 plotting computer & board[12] vice the DC computer of the preceding AN/MSQ-1 Close Support Control Set with MPS-9 & OA-132[13] manufactured for Korean War bombing[10] (cf. AN/MSQ-2 also developed by Rome Air Development Center[14] with MPS-9 & DC OA-215.)[13] The AN/MPS-19 was a variant of the radar used in the Western Electric M-33 Antiaircraft Fire Control System that achieved a longer MARC range via circuitry for receiving the beacon return from an airborne transponder.[9] Instead of, or in addition to, Matador Automatic Radar Control, the last Matador variant (TM-61C) added SHANICLE passive radio guidance.[7]

Mid-course guidance[edit]

MARC guided the Matador to the dive point (or to the "SHANICLE hyperbolic zone")[7] by a directional control signal to the Matador "spoilers" for momentarily deflecting wing airflow to slightly redirect the course of the missile.[15] The OA-626 computed both the missile's course and the direction of the desired destination from the missile position, and the MARC repeated spoiler signals to reduce the difference.[citation needed] For MARC-commanded dives, an initial point was used as a preliminary destination to ensure the Matador subsequently had the necessary general direction of flight for the dive toward the target. During the final cruise prior to the dive, MARC continually predicted[16] the dive point based on any variations of missile velocity measured by the MPS-19—as well as the corresponding nominal time and displacement[citation needed] expected during the upcoming dive When the Matador was acceptably near the "point predicted by the MARC", the dump command was initiated and the missile was self-controlled during the "semi-ballistic transonic dive" with zero lift[7] to the detonation point near the target. A similar Vietnam War successor that instead predicted a bomb release point by computing a free-fall bomb trajectory was the 1965 Reeves AN/MSQ-77 Bomb Directing Central and its variants.

Radar stations[edit]

The 1st AN/MSQ-1A was at "Site Rose" next to the Patrick Air Force Base hangars in 1956,[6] and MARC maintenance training had begun at Orlando Air Force Base by 1957.[17] Numerous overseas MARC radar stations downrange of the various Matador launch sites included the Germany tactical air-direction posts ("TDPs") such as the Operating Location (OL) of the 601st Tactical Control Squadron[18] (a training site was at Bonn):[5]

The TAC Control Squadron crews were repeatedly exercised by "Quick Reaction Alert" using T-33 manned aircraft to simulate the planned Matador flight paths, and the T-33 became evident during the exercise when the radar operator observed the aircraft transponder returning "two blips on the same Scan" instead of 1 as with an actual Matador in flight.[15] During "Annual Missile Launch Operations",[8] Matador units from Germany at Wheelus Air Base in Libya conducted test firings[clarification needed] until after the phase-out of the Matador began in 1959[22] (the TM-61C Matador was retired on September 25, 1962.)[23]

Subsequent uses[edit]

AN/MSQ-1A centrals were subsequently used for other missions such as measuring the location of sensor aircraft during nuclear tests, e.g., 1962 F-100F "Small Boy" testing, on the Tarawa for Operation Argus, during Operation Teapot at the Nevada Proving Ground and for ranges at Tyndall AFB, Fallon Range Training Complex, and the Tonopah Training Range.[24] Radar stations using the MSQ-1A for Radar Bomb Scoring included the Hawthorne Bomb Plot and a Korea military installation that also provided command guidance of "snoop C-47s".[25]


  • Until equipped with the N-6 inertial navigation system, the various "North American RTV-A-5/X-10" research drones for the Navaho missile program carried "AN/APW-11 radar transponder" avionics for tracking by a ground radar[specify] to allow—during the autopilot's "automatic stable flight"--command guidance by radio control via an AN/ARW-56 airborne receiver that processed commands from the AN/ARW-55 transmitter at the radar station.[26]
  1. ^ Table A-4 "Radar Characteristics" in Barry, J. R., et al (Johns Hopkins University) (February 1973). Angel Clutter and the ASR Air Traffic Control Radar (Report). Federal Aviation Administration. Report No. FAA-RD-73-158, 1 
  2. ^ "AN/MSQ-1A has 3-mc bandwidth, requires power source of 208v ac, 12 kw, and is used with AN/MPS-19 and AN/MRC-45"
  3. ^ Skinner, Donald. "Yahoo message tbd". [Matador] was guided by radar impulses over a system known as Air Link. Flight was controlled by 2 gyroscopes, and spoilers or fingers in the wings that disturbed air flow over the wings. At Patrick AFB, FL, while setting up the 1st and 69th Pilotless Bomber Squadrons, crews routinely worked on both the radar system (MSQ-1) that guided it, and the "electronic shelf" in the bird that received radar instructions. 
  4. ^ Cleary, Mark C (45th SW Chief Historian). "Chapter II, Section I: MATADOR Operations Through 1954". The 6555th: Missile and Space Launches Through 1970 (Report). Patrick Air Force Base: 45 Space Wing Office of History. Retrieved 2013-04-02. The MARC employed a…ground radar to track an AN/APW-11 control beacon mounted in the MATADOR. … the 1st Pilotless Bomber Squadron departed Patrick for Germany on March 9th [1954] the 69th [Pilotless Bomber Squadron on] 15 September 1954…departed for Germany  (cited by Midling/Bolton)
  5. ^ a b c Lake, Dale (Fall 2008). "Call Sign Updates". TAC Missileers (newsletter). 10 (3). Archived from the original on 2008-12-12. Retrieved 2013-07-18. Matador controller at the Hamm MSQ Site in 1959-1961. The Hamm site was OL10 of the 601st Tactical Control Squadron, 38th TMW. Our call sign was Hacksaw. …the control (AN/MSQ1A) sites … got the missiles to the targets, which changed every day. We got a lot of practice with T-33s and F- 100s and some real live fun in Tripoli. … I started at Gun post at Wasserkuppe, then to the 615th AC&W SQDN in Pruem, then to Hamm (Hacksaw)… The MSQ sites generally had 100 plus residents, maybe 6-7 officers. … OL10 (Operating Location) was located about 15 miles Northwest of Hamm … OL10 was closed in the Summer of 1961… AN/MSQ/1A Training was [at] Bonn, near Ramstein Air Base 
  6. ^ a b Braun, Bob (January 20, 2012). "Guestbook message 1058". Matador and Mace Tactical Missile Veterans. Retrieved 2013-03-18. I was detached to Link Aviation and Reeves Instrument to install and train missile simulators and train guidance officers in Germany. While stationed in Germany, we deployed to Libya for live missile launches. My system guided the first Matador missile in the 1956 acceptance tests for USAF. We had MSQ-1 number 1 and we also had the first MSQ-1a. The first MSQ-1a was released to the AF at Canaveral early in 1956. It was located at Site Rose, next the hangars at Patrick AFB. … I also developed a MSQ rapid-deployment [to have the] OA-626, MPS-19, and the COM van on the road in less than one hour. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Engineering Report 7371 (Report). Glenn L. Martin [Company]. 15 Jun 1955.  Cited by: Standard Missile Characteristics: TM-61A & C, MATADOR (brochure), 4 Sep 56, p. 4, audio-modulated sources from AN/MSQ-1 - AN/APW-11A radar … MARC Guidance … MID-COURSE: MARC (AN/MSQ-1 radar track; AN/APW-11A airborne beacon) … CEP…165 n. mi….2700 ft … Maximum Guidance Range using MARC equipment is limited to 175 n. mi. … MARC system…ground based mobil transmitter … A semi-ballistic transonic dive begins at the "dump" point predicted by the MARC mid-course guidance equipment.  Check date values in: |date= (help))
  8. ^ a b TAC Missileer newsletter, March 2001, p. 5
  9. ^ a b Lanning, Lt Col Randall L. (1992). United States Air Force Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (AD-A258 351 Research Report) (Report). Air War College. MARC (Manual Airborne Radio Control). [sic] It used an AN/MSQ-I mobile ground radar set and an AN/APW-IIA airborne radar assembly (12:129). … "Mace A" … MM-1 Teracruzer … TM-61C Missile Operations Handbook, undated, published by the 701st TMW. … TM-76A Training Plan, Document No. TODO-30021, 9 Mar 61.  (Lanning misidentifies MARC as "Manual Airborne Radio Control" with the citation: 12. "History of USAFE, 1 Jan through 30 Jun 1957, Vol I, Narrative, 15 Nov 57".
  10. ^ a b c Midling, George; Bolton, Robert. U.S. Air Force Tactical Missiles. 
  11. ^ Tranberg, Thomas V. (19 February 1957). Development of the E6 Gas Warhead for the B-61A Matador Pilotless Bomber (Report). AD127121/Chemical Warfare Laboratories Report No. 2075. Directorate of Development, Army Chemical Center, Maryland. the accuracy with which the point of crossover into enemy territory can be ascertained [within] 500 ft. for "MSQ-1 to target"  guidance.
  12. ^ Bill Pitman (wpitman), 1CEVG Yahoo Message tbd
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b c "601st TAC Control Squadron" (webpage commentary with unit history). Vietnam Moving Wall. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 2013-03-17. Matador training missions were simulated using a T-33 which used the J-33 engine, same as the Matador. The pilot followed directions keyed to him from the TDP on a Rosette in the cockpit. He simulated spoiler activation for turns by quick pulses of the ailerons. … Quick Reaction Alert. When the Flag went up, real or simulated we would not know if it was training or real until we locked on to the Target. If we received one blip on an A Scan display it was a Matador on the way East. If it was two blips on the same Scan it was a T-33 (dual tone) simulating a Matador heading East. 
  16. ^ "Guidance and Control TM-61A". p. 7 of Standard Missile Characteristics… (presentation slide) (Report). 4 SEP 56.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  17. ^ Fairfield, Ivan (January 27, 2013). "Guestbook message 1094". Matador and Mace Tactical Missile Veterans. Retrieved 2013-03-18. 
  18. ^ a b surname tbd, Ron. "TAC Missileer guestbook message 1032". I was a 30353A AutoTrack technician, assigned to OL5, 601st TCS (Mausdorf) from Jul 1961 to Sept 1962. I was the last enlisted man to get orders after the disbanding of the TDPs. 
  19. ^ Coffman, Clyde (Bud). "title tbd" (Yahoo Message tbd). Drone SQ, Yuma Co Apt 1955-58, or 586th Tac Missile Gp, OL#1, Koteberg 
  20. ^ a b c d
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ "11th Tactical Missile Squadron". Sembach Air Base Germany: Headquarters - 38th Tactical Missile Wing. Retrieved 2013-04-02. The 11th TMS was originally activated 17 June 1954 at Orlando AFB, Florida, as the 11th Pilotless Bomber Squadron, 9th Air Force (TAC). The unit was redesignated the 11th Tactical Missile Squadron on 08 June 1955 … On 15 September 1956, the 7382nd Tactical Missile Group was inactivated and replaced by the newly activated 587th Tactical Missile Group 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Howell, Jan (December 15, 2004). "Re: [Combat Evaluation Group] Site still not found!!". Archived from the original (Yahoo Message 12372) on 2013-04-10. The MSQ-1A … control system was an AC analog computer where other autotrack systems were DC analog and later, digital. My tour in Korea (1959-60) was with a Matador group and that was our primary task. Secondary tasks included some RBS and missions where we steered snoop C-47s along the DMZ. We were the last users of the Matador. 
  26. ^ "The North American RTV-A-5/X-10". The 456th Fighter Interceptor Squadron: The Protectors of S. A. C. last update 6/13/2009.  Check date values in: |date= (help); (cites: James N. Gibson: "The Navaho Missile Project", Schiffer Publishing Ltd, 1996 & Jay Miller: "The X-Planes, X-1 to X-45", Midland Publishing, 2001