Patrick Air Force Base Radar Site
Patrick Air Force Base Radar Site (1957-1996) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Radar Station established in 1957 to support BOMARC/SAGE System integration testing. Located on Patrick Air Force Base between Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach, Brevard County, Florida. Assigned a Sage ID of Z-211 and later a JSS ID of J-05. Became Patrick Air Force Base FAA Radar Site on 1 Apr 1976. Closed in 1996.
This radar site was established in 1957-1958 at Patrick Air Force Base to support BOMARC/SAGE System integration testing. Operated and maintained by the Boeing Field Test contractor personnel. This SAGE site was not a part of overall SAGE System but was connected directly to the IBM/SAGE System test bed FSQ-7 computer in the IBM Military Products Division Plant at Kingston, New York. According to the IBM test documentation, the site contained a FPS-20 Search Radar, a FST-2 Coordinate Data Transmitter and a FPS-6 height-finder radar. The FST-2 at Patrick was connected to the IBM FSQ-7 computer at Kingston over 1,500 miles of leased telephone lines.
This elaborate test environment was established to test the integration of the BOMARC Missile System into the SAGE System. Since the BOMARC was nuclear capable, evidence was required that the system worked as designed. At least two successful test were conducted with BOMARC missiles launched from Cape Canaveral under SAGE control against target drones in 1958. The BOMARC missiles were under SAGE Control from target acquisition by the FPS-20 and FST-2 to interception controlled by the FSQ-7 controllers. The first successful BOMARC IM-99A intercept under SAGE control took place on 7 Aug 1958 and on 15 Aug 1958 a SAGE directed missile scored a direct hit on a QB-17 drone. See the IBM diagram below for the configuration.
With proof of concept established, the BOMARC/SAGE integration program was moved from Cape Canaveral/Patrick AFB to Santa Rosa Island/Tyndall AFB for further development and testing. Testing was then done over the Gulf of Mexico. Tests at Cape Canaveral and Patrick AFB continued through June 1960.
In 1961 the Patrick AFB radar site is identified as an operational joint use FAA/ADC radar site manned by Detachment 1 of the 679th AC&W Squadron at Jacksonville NAS Radar Site. The 645th Radar Squadron (SAGE) was activated at the Patrick Air Force Base Radar Site on 28 Jun 1962, assuming operations and maintenance responsibilities from Det 1, 679th AC&W Squadron.
Initial equipment included the FST-2 Coordinate Data Transmitter, the FPS-20 search radar, later upgraded to a FPS-66 and one FPS-6 height-finder. A second FPS-6 height-finder radar was added. Later, one of the two FPS-6 height-finders was removed and the remaining FPS-6 was modified to become a FPS-116 about 1977.
SAGE System Operation
The site began operation as a normal SAGE site in 1961, initially feeding the Gunter SAGE Direction Center DC-09. In 1962 the 645th Radar Squadron (SAGE) was reactivated at the radar site. With the closure of Gunter SAGE Direction Center DC-09 in the fall of 1969, control shifted to the Fort Lee SAGE Direction Center DC-04.
The FST-2 was probably replaced by February 1973 with a FYQ-47 Common Digitizer. The initial 18-month FYQ-47/49 replacement program was completed in February of 1973 and the Patrick FYQ-47 would have been in place by then.
645th Radar Squadron Deactivation
On 1 Apr 1976 the 645th Radar Squadron was deactivated and replaced by detachment OLA-A of the 20th Air Defense Squadron. The USAF height-finder radar was removed about 1988, leaving the site as an FAA operated joint use radar site.
The FAA continued to operate the FPS-66 search radar until about 1998. On 31 Dec 1995 NORAD listed the Patrick AFB radar site as a operational Joint use site J-05 with search, SIF and Ground-Air-Ground (GAG) radio capability. During this period of time the site was connected to the Southeast Air Defense Sector (SEADS) at the Tyndall JSS ROCC at Tyndall Air Force base and to the appropriate FAA Air route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC)s at Atlanta, Fort Worth, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Memphis, Miami and Washington. This site was replaced about 1998 by the new Melbourne FAA Radar Site at Melbourne, Florida with a new ARSR-4, 3D radar. The new Melbourne site was designated site J-05A.
Patrick Air Force Base FAA Radar Site was closed circa 1998.
Note: Reported dates overlap and may be incorrect or reflect periods of intermittant temporary command.
All three radar towers are gone but the operations buildings remain in place. The GATR radio site building remains.