Rome Laboratory

Coordinates: 43°13′16.9″N 75°24′30.8″W / 43.221361°N 75.408556°W / 43.221361; -75.408556
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Rome Research Site
Rome, New York in the United States
The Verona Test Annex, a satellite site of Rome Research Site located some 11 miles (18 km) south-west of Rome.
Rome is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Coordinates43°13′16.9″N 75°24′30.8″W / 43.221361°N 75.408556°W / 43.221361; -75.408556
TypeMilitary research laboratory
Site information
OwnerDepartment of Defense
OperatorUS Air Force (USAF)
Controlled byAir Force Materiel Command (AFMC)
Site history
Built1942 (1942) (as Rome Air Depot)
In use1942 – present
Garrison information
OccupantsInformation Directorate of Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Rome Laboratory (Rome Air Development Center until 1991) is the US "Air Force 'superlab' for command, control, and communications"[1] research and development and is responsible for planning and executing the USAF science and technology program.


Rome Lab includes or included the following entities:

Information Directorate
The Information Directorate develops information technologies for air, space and ground systems, partnering with other federal agencies, allied nations, state and local governments, and more than 50 major universities.[2] The Rome Laboratory Technical Library is located at 525 Brooks Road, Rome, NY.[3]
Sensors Directorate
Moved to Wright-Patterson AFB under the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission

Divisions and laboratories of the former Rome Air Development Center (RADC) included the Electronic Warfare Laboratory, High Power Laboratory, Photonics Laboratory, 1968 Electronics Laboratory (dedicated 25 October), RADC Systems Division, and the Communications and Control Division which moved from building 106 to building 3 in March 1976. (RADC computer facilities were in bldg 3, which in August 1974 had "a new $2.8 million communications research laboratory".)[4]


The Rome Air Depot established 5 February 1942 built USAAF versions of the Norden bombsights and tested/rebuilt large airplane engines, and Army Air Field, Rome, was established as a WWII USAAF airfield in New York on 4 Nov 1942. World War II technical squadrons included the "600 Engrg Sq" (10 Oct 44-30 Oct 44) and the "1 Acft Assembly Sq" (21 Aug 45-6 Nov 45).[5] Renamed Griffiss Air Force Base on 23 Jan 1948[5], the World War II installation's buildings were used as post-war offices and laboratories, e.g., for testing units that arrived beginning in 1948 from Pennsylvania's Middletown Air Depot[4] (Griffiss had the "2 Msl Trpt Sq" 26 Jan 48-3 Sep 48.)[5]

The 3171st Electronics Research Group activated on 12 January 1949 under the 2751st Experimental Wing formed during World War II,[5] and the 3180th Weapon Equipment Flight Test organization activated on 4 April 1949.[5] On September 26, 1950, the Griffiss AFB Air Force Electronics Center was established[6]—2 Griffiss radar units were established on 12 Oct 50 for less than a year, the 7th and 12th Radar Calibration Units.[5] The entire Watson Laboratories, which was acquiring the "state-of-the-art" Bendix AN/FPS-3 Radar for Air Defense Command, transferred to Griffiss[7] from Camp Coles NJ,[8] from 6 November 1950 until 2 April 1951, the date Griffiss AFB transferred to Air Research and Development Command.[4] During the move the 3151st Electronics Group was activated on 14 March 1951.[5]


The "Rome Air Development Center" headquarters officially opened on June 12, 1951, with the personnel of the headquarters for the 2751st Wing and 3171st & 3151st groups, which were "discontinued"[4]—the 6530th Air Base Wing with subordinate units, e.g., Maintenance and Support Group, activated on the same date for support through August/November 1952.[5] RADC was for USAF "applied research, development and test of electronic air-ground systems such as detection, control, identification and countermeasures, navigation, communications, and data transmission systems, associated components, and related automatic flight equipment".[9] RADC constructed the 1,205 ft (367 m) Forestport Tower in 1951 for low-frequency communications experiments. On 1 January 1953, RADC reorganized into the Engineering Support Division, Electronic Warfare and Techniques Division, Equipment Development Division, and Systems Division (a Plans and Operations Office at the HQ provided guidance.)[4]

For ATC and SAC to score bombing accuracy, and based on the AN/MPQ-2; RADC integrated[10] AN/MPS-9 radars with RBS plotting to create the AN/MSQ-1 (with OA-132 plotting computer/board)) and AN/MSQ-2 (OA-215)[11]—RADC also developed SAC's "AN/GSA-19 Blanking System" for safety at RBS radar stations.[10] RADC began using a new intelligence and reconnaissance laboratory building on 27 May 1954,[5] and an AN/GPA-37 "developed by RADC [and] installed at the Verona Test Site" conducted a 28 December 1955 ground-controlled interception test "on an F-86D fighter interceptor aircraft".[10] Also in 1955 RADC developed phased array radar technology, and the center contracted Bendix's Radio Division in 1958 to build the Bendix AN/FPS-46 Electronically Steerable Array Radar (ESAR) for demonstration[12] (1st "powered up" in November 1960.)[13]

A prototype AN/FPS-43 BMEWS radar[14] completed at Trinidad in 1958 went operational on February 4, 1959, the date of an Atlas IIB firing from Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 11[15] (lunar reflection was tested January–June 1960.)[16] On 20 January 1960 RADC accepted the Avco AN/FPS-26 Frequency Diversity Radar from Avco[4] for use at SAGE radar stations (later modified into the 474N "Fuzzy-7" SLBM Detection Radar.)[jargon]

AFCCDD assignment[edit]

On 1 July 1960, RADC was assigned to the Air Force Command and Control Development Division[17] and c. November 1960, RADC conducted an "Experimental Passive-Satellite Communication Link" using the ECHO satellite and Philco terminals for reflecting voice transmissions through space from the Trinidad Space Communication Facility (with "BMEWS type radar tracker" using "AN/FRC-56 type" transmitter and "84FT DISH") to the "RADC Floyd Site".[18] In August 1962, RADC established the "AFLC Communications-Electronics Field Office"[where?] to monitor missile tests.[5]

A "60-foot-diameter" antenna at the Floyd site built by RADC "particularly to communicate with ECHO II" was dedicated on 30 August 1963.[19] In 1965 based on the USMC AN/MPQ-14, the "SKYSPOT RADC developmental program" designed the AN/MSQ-77 with ballistic computer for Vietnam War high-altitude, low-visibility (e.g., nighttime, inclement weather) strategic bombing missions, and which was also used as a "Close Air Support Bombing System".[4]

RTD assignment[edit]

By June 1965, RADC was assigned to AFSC's Research and Technology Division and had a Communications Research Branch[18] (an early 1960s plan to rename RADC to the Air Force Electromagnetics Laboratory was not implemented.)[citation needed] RADC's Program 673A research resulted in the 440L System Program Office for the Forward Scatter Over-the-Horizon network (AN/FRT-80 transmitters & AN/FSQ-76 receivers) being established on 1 July 1965 (RADC's "Data Reduction Center"[where?] processed 440L data transmitted to the Cheyenne Mountain Complex.[20]

RADC developed a 1960s machine translation for Russian language documents and in the late 1960s, RADC coordinated the Ling-Temco-Vought AN/TRN-26 deployable TACAN[21] development for the Vietnam War (1st units went to Israel and Camp David's "DVD" site.)[citation needed] In the 1970s War On Drugs, RADC COMPASS TRIP research investigated "multispectral reconnaissance techniques to locate opium poppy fields".[4] By December 1977 RADC had developed[4] the 322 watt "solid state transmitter and receiver module"[22] while "responsible for [PAVE PAWS] design, fabrication installation, integration test, and evaluation" (through 1980).[4]

ESD assignment[edit]

Emblem of Rome Laboratory

On 1 September 1975, RADC was reassigned to AFSC's Electronic Systems Division (ESD).[17] At Hanscom AFB on 1 January 1976, RADC's Detachment 1 was activated for "Electronic Technology" with the personnel and equipment of the 1960 AFCRL's Microwave Physics and Solid State Sciences divisions[17] ("RADC East" colloq.)

In the 1980s and 1990s RADC funded a significant amount of research on software engineering, e.g., the Knowledge Based Software Assistant (KBSA) program.[23]

Rome Laboratory[edit]

In 1990 RADC was redesignated Rome Laboratory[4] which in October 1997 became part of the Air Force Research Laboratory.[24]

Rome Air Development Center annexes[edit]

RADC annexes[5]

1956-tbd: Floyd Test Annex --5 mi (8.0 km) from GAFB

tbd: Newport Antenna Measurement Facility

1956-tbd: Verona Test Annex

1955-61: Laredo Test Site (to ADC)

1958-61: Trinidad Space Communication Facility (to Patrick AFB)

tbd-62: Carrabelle Experimental Annex (to Eglin AFB)

1962-5: Syracuse BMEWS Test Facility


Organizations assigned to[edit]

1997: AFMC Air Force Research Laboratory
1975: AFSC Electronic Systems Division
1965: AFSC Research and Technology Division
1960: ARDC Air Force Command and Control Development Division


  1. ^ 2001 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research's Aircraft Technology Program. 2001-09-27. ISBN 9780309183291.
  2. ^ Information Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory
  3. ^ "Rome Laboratory Tech Library · 525 Brooks Rd, Rome, NY 13441". Rome Laboratory Tech Library · 525 Brooks Rd, Rome, NY 13441.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Smith, John Q.; Byrd, David A (c. 1991). Forty Years of Research and Development at Griffis Air Force Base: June 1951 – June 1991 (PDF) (Report). Borky, Col. John M (Foreword). Rome Laboratory. Archived from the original on April 8, 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-10. Nineteen ninety-one saw both the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of a major Air Force Laboratory at Griffiss Air Force Base, the Rome Air Development Center (RADC), and the first anniversary of the redesignation of RADC as Rome Laboratory. (also available at Google Books)
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Mueller, Robert (1989). "Edwards Air Force Base" (PDF). Air Force Bases (Report). Vol. I: Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. Office of Air Force History. p. 600. ISBN 0-912799-53-6. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
  6. ^ Congressional Bill TBD from a Senate Armed Services Committee recommendation
  7. ^ Greenslit, Chuck. Bendix Radio Radars (Report). Based on a newly developed Litton klystron and the experience of Bob Davis, a new high powered radar, the FPS-20, was conceived. This was developed, first as a GPA-27 kit to upgrade the FPS-3 and later manufactured as the FPS-20, FPS-20a, FPS-66-67, and FPS-100.
  8. ^[dead link]
  9. ^ The source for this quotation is not identified in Forty Years of Research and Development at Griffis Air Force Base.
  10. ^ a b c[dead link]
  11. ^ "MSQ-1's married The MPS-9 to the OA-132 MSQ-2's married the MPS-9 to the OA-215 "
  12. ^ "A man [is] surveying and aligning each member on the 45DG scanner face with delicate optical equipment."
  13. ^ "AN/FPS-85 Spacetrack Radar".
  14. ^ Bate, Mueller, and White (1971) [origyear tbd]. Fundamentals of Astronautics (Google books). ISBN 9780486600611. Retrieved 2014-03-05. BMEWS…fan-shaped beams, about 1° in width and 3½° in elevation… The horizontal sweep rate is fast enough that a missile or satellite cannot pass through the fans undetected.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "Atlas B".
  16. ^ Article title[bare URL PDF]
  17. ^ a b c Del Papa, Dr. E. Michael; Warner, Mary P (October 1987). A Historical Chronology of the Electronic Systems Division 1947-1986 (PDF) (Report). Archived (PDF) from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved 2012-07-19.
  18. ^ a b Article title[bare URL PDF]
  19. ^[bare URL PDF]
  20. ^ North American Air Defense Command Historical Summary (Report).[specify]
  21. ^ "AN/TRN-26 (Deployable TACAN)".
  22. ^ Engineering Panel on the PAVE PAWS Radar System (1979). Radiation Intensity of the PAVE PAWS Radar System (PDF) (Report). National Academy of Sciences. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  23. ^ Boehm, Barry; Prasanta Bose (1998-08-15). "KBSA Life Cycle Evaluation: Final Technical Report" (PDF). Contract No: F30602-96-C-0274. USC Center for Software Engineering. I. Retrieved 4 January 2014.
  24. ^ Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from Air Force Research Laboratory. United States Air Force.

External links[edit]