Fort Lawton Air Force Station

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Fort Lawton Air Force Station (1960-1963) - A Cold War Air Force Radar Station first established in 1960 in Seattle, Washington. Relocated from McChord Air Force Base in 1960. Named Fort Lawton Air Force Station after the location. Initially assigned a Permanent ID of RP-1 and later a Sage ID of Z-1. Abandoned by the Air Force in 1963 and turned over to the FAA, now known as Fort Lawton FAA Radar Site.

Fort Lawton Air Force Station Site with FAA Radar


Established in 1960 as Fort Lawton Air Force Station manned by the 635th AC&W Squadron. The site was repositioned from its location on McChord Air Force Base to Fort Lawton in June 1960 as a joint FAA/USAF operation. Initial equipment included the FAA ARSR-1C search radar and two USAF FPS-6A height-finder radars and an FST-2 coordinate data transmission system. A U.S. Army NIKE Missile Master site was co-located with the USAF site and two U.S. Army FPS-6 height-finder radars were placed to support that operation. A USAF FPS-26A height-finder radar was installed just months before the site was closed.

The site began operation as a SAGE site on 11 Jun 1960 initially feeding the McChord SAGE Direction Center DC-12 at McChord Air Force Base.

Fort Lawton AFS was responsible for the maintenance of one remote unattended gap-filler radar sites. The gap-filler sites were placed in locations where the main search radar lacked coverage. These sites sent digitized radar target data directly to a direction center. Maintenance teams were dispatched from Fort Lawton AFS for regularly scheduled maintenance or when fault indicators suggested the site had problems. The Fort Lawton AFS gap-filler site was located at Chehalis but little is known about its equipment or operation.

Fort Lawton AFS was deactivated in March 1963.

Fort Lawton AFS Major Equipment List
Search Radar HF Radar Data Systems
Unit Designations
  • 635th Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron (1960-1960)
  • 635th Radar Squadron (SAGE) (1960-1963)

Current Status

Operating as an unattended FAA radar site data tied to the JSS system.

Location: Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington.

Maps & Images

Lat: 47.6575 Long: -122.41306

See Also:


  • Winkler, David F., Searching the skies: the legacy of the United States Cold War defense radar program, USAF Hq Air Combat Command, 1997, 192 pages, Pdf.
  • Cornett, Lloyd H. & Johnson, Mildred W., A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization (1946-1980), Office of History ADC, Peterson AFB, Colorado, 31 Dec 1980, 179 pages, Pdf.


Visited: 20 May 2014

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