Manual AC&W Operation
The primary AC&W radar site missions were to track and identify unknown aircraft within their 200+ nautical mile range (surveillance) and to conduct ground controlled intercepts (GCI) of potentially hostile aircraft by directing fighter aircraft to those targets. With the GCI mission, fighter aircraft were directed to potential targets by weapons controller teams using voice commands over ground-to-air radio links. These operations became known as the "manual" Aircraft Control & Warning system. Most radar sites had the surveillance mission but only selected sites had the GCI mission.
At each radar site a operations building housed a darkened room containing the radar scopes and communications equipment necessary to track the aircraft. Tracks were manually plotted on a large plexiglass plotting board overlaid with map of the covered area. Grease pencils were used to plot the path of the radar tracks across the plexiglass map. Telephone headsets were to communicate the track positions from the radar scopes to the plotters and to adjacent radar sites.