Ground Equipment Facility J-36A

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Ground Equipment Facility J-36A

Part of
1951: Air Defense Command.pngAir Defense Command
1960: United States Navy

c. 1998:[1] Joint Surveillance System
Locations
USAF station: 3.7 mi (6.0 km) SSE of landing field

USN/FAA radar: Mount Thirst

USGS activity: tbd
Coordinates

32°58′37″N 118°33′10″W / 32.97694°N 118.55278°W / 32.97694; -118.55278 (San Clemente Island AFS P-39) (AFS)[2]

32°53′04.95″N 118°27′04.05″W / 32.8847083°N 118.4511250°W / 32.8847083; -118.4511250 (Mount Thirst ARSR-4) (ARSR-4)[2]
Type radar station
Code ADC: LP-39, P-39
USGS: D-4-66-SC
JSS: J-36A
Site information
Controlled by  United States Air Force
Site history
Built 1951
In use ADC: 1951-1960
USGS: 1966
USN: 1972-present
Garrison information
Garrison 670th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
Ground Equipment Facility J-36A is located in southern California
Ground Equipment Facility J-36A
San Clemente Island is the location of an ARSR-4

Ground Equipment Facility J-36A (San Clemente Island Air Force Station until 1960) is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar station of the Joint Surveillance System (JSS) in the Western Air Defense Sector (WADS) of NORAD.

History[edit]

In World War II, Los Angeles Harbor Defenses included posts on some islands of Southern California, e.g. in March 1942, "a 200-man Army detachment set up two radar stations" on San Clemente Island, and in March 1944, Navy "Seabees built two permanent radar installations[where?] on the island."[3]

USAF radar station[edit]

San Clemente Island Air Force Station was Permanent System radar station LP-39 which began operations in November 1951 with an AN/TPS-1C general surveillance radar. Designated as one of two offshore radar stations at the Southern California coast, the 670th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron was activated at the station on 1 February 1952 by the 27th Air Division. As an AC&W radar station, the facility provided radar tracks for a Manual Air Defense Control Center to direct Ground control interception (GCI) of unidentified aircraft.

The Air Force Station was upgraded to designation P-39 with a single AN/FPS-3 radar in May 1952 and an AN/FPS-4 height-finding radar the following year. In 1955 an AN/FPS-8 was added and subsequently converted to an AN/GPS-3 and in 1956, an AN/FPS-6 height-finder replaced the AN/FPS-4. As with other ADC stations replaced by facilities of the joint-use site system (JUSS), San Clemente Island AFS was replaced in 1960, and 670th operations moved to the JUSS RP-39 station at San Pedro Hill AFS with barracks at Ft MacArthur near the Nike direction center.

In 1960, San Clemente Island[verification needed] transferred to the Navy[4] and the USAF operations building was subsequently used as a Navy photo lab (the AFS site is vacant, deteriorating and difficult to reach.)[opinion]

USGS radar station[edit]

In 1966 (July 30-August 9), field activity D-4-66-SC of the United States Geological Survey in the Coastal and Marine Geology Program used San Clemente Island with a Western Electric M-33 radar for a study of the Bathymetry and Structure of San Clemente Island (e.g., the "CURV vehicle of Naval Undersea Research and Development Center, was...used for seafloor sampling.")[5]

Mount Thirst radar station[edit]

In 1972 south of the former AFS, the Navy installed an AN/FPS-20 general surveillance radar at Mount Thirst (32°53′03″N 118°27′03″W / 32.88417°N 118.45083°W / 32.88417; -118.45083 (San Clemente Island J-36A)). The FPS-20 was later modified to an AN/FPS-93A in an Arctic Tower for range safety and bombing exercises.[6]

Joint Surveillance System[edit]

In the late 1990s, an Air Route Surveillance Radar (ARSR-4) radar at Mount Thirst replaced the AN/FPS-93A, and is now shared with the Air Force for the JSS program[2] (the FAA maintains the radar for the Navy, but reportedly does not use the data).[citation needed]

Station Tombstone[edit]

The late 1980s Station Tombstone Radar, an AN/SPS-73 surface search radar, is located north of Mt. Thirst.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [full citation needed] This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.
  2. ^ a b c "Information for San Clemente Island AFS, CA" (Radomes.org database webpage). Air Defense Radar Stations. Retrieved 2013-03-24. 
    Information for San Clemente Island (Mount Thirst), CA
  3. ^ Shettle, M. L.; Jr. Naval Auxiliary Air Station, San Clemente Island (Report). MilitaryMuseum.org.  (transcribed at "San Clemente Island Range Complex". Historic California Posts. The California State Military Museum. Retrieved 2013-03-24. 
  4. ^ Winkler, David F; Webster, Julie L (June 1997). Searching the Skies: The Legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program (Report). U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories. p. [verification needed]. LCCN 97020912. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  5. ^ Geological and Geophysical data of field activity D-4-66-SC in San Clemente Island, CA from 07/30/1966 to 08/09/1966 (Report). USGS.  (abstract retrieved 2013-03-22)
  6. ^ compiled by Johnson, Mildred W (31 December 1980) [February 1973 original by Cornett, Lloyd H. Jr]. A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980 (PDF). Peterson Air Force Base: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. p. [verification needed]. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  7. ^ San Clemente Island Range Complex (SCIRC) Range Sites - Location (Map). publisher tbd.  (published in Southern California Offshore Range (SCORE) (pdf) (Report). 2007.  )