Lackland Air Force Base Radar Site
Lackland Air Force Base Radar Site (1952-1969) - A Cold War Air Force Radar Station first established in 1952 on Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Bexar County, Texas. Initially assigned a Permanent ID of P-75 and later a Sage ID of Z-75. Abandoned as an Air Force Radar Site in 1969 and operated after that by the FAA as Lackland FAA Radar Site aka San Antonio FAA Radar Site with an FAA ID of SAT. Closed in 2011.
Established in 1952 and became operational in 1952 as Lackland Air Force Base Radar Site manned by the 741st AC&W Squadron. The station initially had both a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and early warning mission. The early warning mission involved tracking and identifying all aircraft entering their airspace while the GCI mission involved guiding Air Force interceptors to any identified enemy aircraft. Controllers at the station vectored fighter aircraft at the correct course and speed to intercept enemy aircraft using voice commands via ground-to-air radio.
Initial equipment included the FPS-3 search radar and an FPS-4 height-finder radar. The single FPS-4 height-finder radar was replaced by two FPS-6 sets in 1958. The search radar was upgraded to an FPS-20A and the site radar data was being shared with the FAA.
Gap Filler Radar Sites
In 1960 the Lackland Air Force Base Radar Site was responsible for the maintenance of one remote unattended gap-filler radar site. 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 the Lackland Air Force Base Radar Site for regularly scheduled maintenance or when fault indicators suggested the site had problems. The Lackland Air Force Base Radar Site gap-filler radar was located at Mason, Texas.
The Lackland Air Force Base Radar Site and the 741st were deactivated on 31 Dec 1969 and the FAA took over operation of the site.
In 1972, the newly reactivated 630th Radar Squadron at Houston sent a detachment to the Lackland FAA site to operate an FPS-6 height-finder alongside the in place FPS-66A. The site then fed radar track data from both sets to the newly created Southern Air Defense Sector (SADS) manual direction center that was colocated with the Houston ARTCC. See the Houston ARTCC for background information regarding the events that triggered the creation of the Southern Air Defense Sector and direction center. The site was then given a SAGE System designation of Z-241.
A FYQ-47 Common Digitizer was probably placed in service by February 1973 when the USAF/FAA FST-2 to FYQ-47 replacement program was completed. By 1990 the site was equipped with an FPS-66A search radar and a CD-2A Common Digitizer. The Lackland CD-2A was scheduled to receive an upgrade kit to implement three level weather data processing in August 1992.
The FAA stopped using the site search radar data about 2001 and the site became a beacon only site (BOS) until 2011 when all operations ceased and the site was abandoned.
The Air Force site closed in 1969 and the last vestiges of FAA operations ended in 2010. The radome and support buildings have been removed except for two small buildings, the radio building and the power building.
Visited: 20 May 2015