San Clemente Air Force Station

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San Clemente Air Force Station (1951-1961) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Radar Station established during the Korean War. This Radar site was located on San Clemente Island near Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California. San Clemente Island is wholly owned by the U.S. Navy and the Air Force operated the Radar unit as a tenant organization. The site was initially assigned a temporary Lashup-Permanent ID of LP-39 and later a Permanent ID of P-39. The station was deactivated in 1961 and the 670th AC&W Squadron was relocated to San Pedro Hill Air Force Station (RP-39).


The Lashup-Permanent radar station LP-39 began operations in November 1951 with a TPS-1C general surveillance radar awaiting the installation of Permanent System radar equipment. The 670th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron were activated on 1 Feb 1952. The facility provided radar tracks for a Norton Manual Direction Center P-84 to direct Ground control interception (GCI) of unidentified aircraft.

In May 1952 a FPS-3 search radar was added to the site. In 1953 an FPS-4 height-finder radar was added. In 1955 a FPS-8 search-radar was added to the site and was subsequently modified to become a GPS-3. In 1956 an FPS-6 height-finder radar replaced the FPS-4.

Norton Manual Air-Defense Control Center (ADCC) (P-84) (1955-1960)

From activation until 1 Oct 1959 the 670th reported to the Manual Direction Center at Norton Manual Direction Center. In 1959, as the adjacent Norton SAGE Direction Center DC-17 came online, control of the 670th was changed to fall under the new Norton SAGE Direction Center DC-17 and the Los Angeles Air Defense Sector.

At the time of this change, San Clemente Island AFS had neither the SAGE qualified radar sets (except for one FPS-6) nor the SAGE annex to the operations center that housed the FST-2 required for automatic SAGE operation. The 670th could only provide manual inputs to the Norton SAGE Direction Center DC-17. The decision was made not to upgrade San Clemente Island AFS to automatic operation but to build an entirely new station at San Pedro Hill Air Force Station that would replace San Clemente Island AFS.

Abandoned Norton SAGE Direction Center DC-17 on the Former Norton AFB, California

The San Pedro Hill AFS was activated in 1960 and the site became operational in 1961 as a SAGE site that bypassed manual operations.


San Clemente AFS was deactivated in April 1961 and the squadron relocated to the San Pedro Hill Air Force Station.

San Clemente AFS Major Equipment List
Search Radar HF Radar
Unit Designations
  • 670th Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron (1951-1961)
670th Assignments
  • 1 Jan 1951 - Assigned at Camp Cooke, CA, assigned to the 544th AC&W Gp.
  • 1 Feb 1952 - Moved to San Clemente Island, CA.
  • 6 Feb 1952 - Transferred to 27th AD. Norton Manual Direction Center P-84
  • 1 Oct 1959 - Transferred to Los Angeles ADS. Norton SAGE Direction Center DC-17
  • 1 Apr 1961 - Redesignated to 670th Radar Sq (SAGE) (from AC&W Sq).
  • Apr 1961 - Moved to Ft. MacArthur AT, CA.
  • 1 Apr 1966 - Transferred to 27th AD.
  • 19 Nov 1969 - Reassigned to 26th AD.
  • 1 Feb 1974 - Redesignated 670 Radar Sq.
  • 1 Apr 1976 - Inactivated.

Current Status


Location: San Clemente Island in Los Angeles County, California.

Maps & Images

Lat: 32.97694 Long: -118.55278

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: ......'

See Also:


  • 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, page 159.
  • 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, page 103.


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