|Thomasville Air Force Station|
|Part of Air Defense Command (ADC)|
|Type||Long Range Radar Site|
|Owner||National Park Service|
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
|Built by||U.S. Air Force|
Thomasville Air Force Station (ADC ID: TM-197, NORAD ID: Z-197) is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 1.9 miles (3.1 km) north-northwest of Thomasville, Alabama. It was closed in 1969.
Thomasville Air Force Station came into existence as part of Phase III of the Air Defense Command Mobile Radar program. On October 20, 1953 ADC requested a third phase of twenty-five radar sites be constructed.
The 698th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron moved to Thomasville on 1 September 1958 when a test model of the AN/FPS-35 radar was installed for evaluation. It was the first of the large radars to be deployed, 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. Two AN/FPS-90 height-finder radars were added in the early 1960s.
The Ground Air Transmitting Receiving (GATR) Site for communications was located at, approximately 0.8 miles east-northeast from the main site. Normally the GATR site was connected by a pair of buried telephone cables, with a backup connection of dual telephone cables overhead. The Coordinate Data Transmitting Set (CDTS) (AN/FST-2) at the main site converted each radar return into a digital word which was transmitted by the GATR via microwave to the Control Center.
In 1959, Thomasville joined the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, feeding data to DC-09 at Gunter AFB, Alabama. After joining, the squadron was redesignated as the 698th Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 1 October. 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-97.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 9th Aerospace Defense Division implemented an improvised missile warning system directed toward the Cuban missile threat called Falling Leaves. In October 1962, the SPADATS AN/FPS-49 radar at Moorestown Air Force Station, New Jersey was reoriented south and directed toward Cuba. A communication network was established with Moorestown, the AN/FPS-78 radar at Laredo Air Force Base, Texas and Thomasville. All three stations were in turn tied into the command centers at NORAD and at Strategic Air Command. This missile detection network remained in operation until 28 November and the Moorestown and Laredo sites were returned to their normal SPADATS mission when Soviet missiles were withdrawn from Cuba. The Thomasville station, retained coverage until late December as a precaution.
The 698th Radar Squadron was inactivated on 30 September 1969 and Thomasville AFS was closed due to a draw-down of ADC and budget constraints. After its closure, the site was the location of the Thomasville Mental Health & Rehabilitation Center, and Alabama Department of Youth Services. However, the former closed completely by November 2003.
Today the former radar site is used by the Alabama Southern Community College. Many of the former Air Force buildings remain, as well as the large AN/FPS-35 search-radar tower, which dominates the site.
The RCA 474L Ballistic Missile Early Warning System was a United States Air Force Cold War early warning radar, computer, and communications system, for ballistic missile detection. The network of twelve radars, which was constructed beginning in 1958 and became operational in 1961, was built to detect a "mass ballistic missile attack launched on northern approaches [for] 15 to 25 minutes' warning time" also provided Project Space Track satellite data.
Point Arena Air Force Station is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 3.7 miles (6.0 km) east of Point Arena, California. It was closed in 1998 by the Air Force, and turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The Southeast Air Defense Sector (SEADS), was a unit of the US Air Force located at Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, Florida. It provided air defense and surveillance of the southeastern region of the US. SEADS closed in winter 2005, giving up surveillance and control of their airspace to the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) and the former Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS).
Aerospace Defense Command was a major command of the United States Air Force, responsible for continental air defense. It was activated in 1968 and disbanded in 1980. Its predecessor, Air Defense Command, was established in 1946, briefly inactivated in 1950, reactivated in 1951, and then redesignated Aerospace rather than Air in 1968. Its mission was to provide air defense of the Continental United States (CONUS). It directly controlled all active measures, and was tasked to coordinate all passive means of air defense.
Ground Equipment Facility J-33 is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar station of the Joint Surveillance System's Western Air Defense Sector (WADS) with an Air Route Surveillance Radar (ARSR-4). The facility was previously a USAF general surveillance radar station during the Cold War.
The 9th Space Division is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Air Force Space Command, being stationed at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida. It was inactivated on 1 October 1991.
Canadian Forces Station Lowther is a closed General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 12.7 miles (20.4 km) east-southeast of Mattice-Val Côté, Ontario. It was closed in 1987.
Tonopah Air Force Station is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 1.1 miles (1.8 km) south of Tonopah, Nevada. It was closed in 1970.
North Charleston Air Force Station is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located in the City of North Charleston, South Carolina. It was closed in 1980.
Roanoke Rapids Air Force Station was a United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is 6.1 miles (9.8 km) southwest of Gaston, North Carolina, near the closed Halifax County Airport. It was closed in 1978.
Dauphin Island Air Force Station is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 1.9 miles (3.1 km) east of Dauphin Island, Alabama, near historic Fort Gaines (Alabama). It was closed in 1980.
Eufaula Air Force Station is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 6.4 miles (10.3 km) west of Eufaula, Alabama. It was closed in 1968.
Olathe Air Force Station is a former United States Air Force radar station that was located in Gardner, Kansas. It was located next to Naval Air Station Olathe, now the grounds of New Century AirCenter.
Ajo Air Force Station is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 6.4 miles (10.3 km) northwest of Ajo, Arizona. It was closed in 1969 by the Air Force, and the radar site turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Mount Lemmon Air Force Station is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 17.2 miles (27.7 km) north-northeast of Tucson, Arizona. It was closed in 1969.
Santa Rosa Island Air Force Station is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 5.6 miles (9.0 km) south-southwest of Lompoc, California. It was closed in 1968 by the Air Force, and turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Keno Air Force Station is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 4.6 miles (7.4 km) south-southwest of Keno, Oregon. It was closed in 1979 by the Air Force, and turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Canadian Forces Station Beaverlodge is a closed General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 4.9 miles (7.9 km) east-northeast of Beaverlodge, Alberta. It was closed in 1988.
Falling Leaves was the improvised ballistic missile early warning system during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis that networked 3 existing CONUS radars—2 Space Detection and Tracking System (SPADATS) radars and an Aircraft Control and Warning general surveillance radar which was modified by Sperry Corporation to 1,500 mi (2,400 km) range, allowing detection in space near Cuba. The "Cuban Missile Early Warning System (CMEWS)" radars were "realigned" to monitor for nuclear missile launches from the new Soviet launch sites after Soviet R-12 Dvina IRBMs arrived on September 8, intelligence sources in Cuba had reported lengthy missiles transported through towns, and three R-12 sites were photographed by Lockheed U-2s by October 19.
Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) was a Unified Combatant Command of the United States Department of Defense, tasked with air defense for the Continental United States. It comprised Army, Air Force, and Navy components. It included Army Project Nike missiles anti-aircraft defenses and USAF interceptors. The primary purpose of continental air defense during the CONAD period was to provide sufficient attack warning of a Soviet bomber air raid to ensure Strategic Air Command could launch a counterattack without being destroyed. CONAD controlled nuclear air defense weapons such as the 10 kiloton W-40 nuclear warhead on the CIM-10B BOMARC. The command was disestablished in 1975, and Aerospace Defense Command became the major U.S. component of North American Air Defense Command (NORAD).
This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/ .