Miles City Air Force Station
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|Miles City Air Force Station|
|Part of Air Defense Command (ADC)|
Location of Miles City AFS, Montana
|Type||Air Force Station|
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
|Garrison||902d Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron|
Miles City Air Force Station (ADC ID: M-98, NORAD ID: Z-98) is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 10.1 miles (16.3 km) southwest of Miles City, Montana. It was closed in 1968.
Miles City Air Force Station was established as part of the planned deployment by Air Defense Command of forty-four Mobile radar stations across the United States to support the permanent Radar network established during the Cold War for air defense of the United States. This deployment had been projected to be operational by mid-1952.
Funding, constant site changes, construction, and equipment delivery delayed deployment. The station consisted of 60 buildings, including operation and administrative facilities, dormitories, family housing units, radar domes, and the normal support facilities/utilities. Helicopter pad and skeet range were also included.
The 902d Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron was activated at the station on 1 October 1954. By August 1955 the 902nd AC&W Squadron was operating an AN/MPS-7 search radar and an AN/MPS-14 height-finder radar, 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. In 1958 an AN/FPS-20 radar replaced the AN/MPS-7. In 1961 this set was upgraded and redesignated as an AN/FPS-66. Also in 1961 an AN/FPS-6B height-finder radar was installed.
During 1961 Miles City 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 902d Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 15 July 1961.
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-98.
In 1965, the site received an AN/FPS-27 search radar, replacing the AN/FPS-66. The AN/MPS-14 was removed in 1967.
In addition to the main facility, Miles City operated an AN/FPS-14 Gap Filler sites:
- Glendive, MT (M-98A)
- Brockway, MT (M-98B)
The 902nd Radar Squadron was inactivated in June 1968. Its AN/FPS-27 radar set was then shipped to Mount Hebo AFS, Oregon (M-100/Z-100) and installed there, replacing the troublesome AN/FPS-24 which had recently lost its third radome.
Today, the former Miles City Air Force Station is now the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Lab (USDA), part of Montana State University. Many of the Air Force buildings have been torn down, replaced by modern facilities. A few foundations and deteriorating buildings remain of the sites military past.
Air Force units and assignments
- Established as the 902d Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
- Activated at Great Falls AFB, Montana on 20 May 1953 (not manned or equipped)
- Moved to Miles City AFS on 1 October 1954
- Redesignated 902d Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 15 July 1961
- Discontinued and inactivated on 18 June 1968
- 29th Air Division, 1 October 1954
- Minot Air Defense Sector (Manual), 1 January 1961
- Great Falls Air Defense Sector, 25 June 1963
- 28th Air Division, 1 April 1966 – 18 June 1968
- 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 Miles City AFS, MT