San Pedro Hill Air Force Station

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San Pedro Hill Air Force Station (1961-1976) - A Cold War Air Force Radar Station first established in 1961 near San Pedro, Los Angeles County, California. Named San Pedro Hill Air Force Station after the location. Initially assigned a Permanent ID of RP-39, later a Sage ID of Z-39 and a JSS ID of J-31. Became an FAA site in 1976 with USAF Height finders manned by a USAF detachment. Now known as San Pedro Hill FAA Radar Site.

San Pedro Hill Radar Station, FPS-26 Tower on the Left, ARSR-1E Tower on Right

History of San Pedro Hill Air Force Station

San Pedro Hill Radar Site FPS-26A Tower
San Pedro Hill Radar Site Overview 2008

Established in 1960 as a joint use (FAA/USAF/Army) site and became operational in 1961 as San Pedro Hill Air Force Station manned by the 670th AC&W Squadron. Initial equipment included an FAA ARSR-1C search radar, a USAF FPS-6 height-finder and a USAF FPS-26A height-finder.

The 670th AC&W Squadron moved from San Clemente Island to new facilities on San Pedro Hill to begin SAGE operations. The SAGE system used the FST-2 coordinate data transmitter to digitized the radar returns and transmitted them to the SAGE direction center. Under the SAGE system, interceptor aircraft were directed to their targets by the direction center computers and controllers, greatly reducing the need for local controllers and equipment at every radar station.

The FST-2 was a very large digital system using vacuum tube technology. Over 6900 vacuum tubes were used in each FST-2 requiring 21 air-conditioned cabinets, 40 tons of airconditioning, 43.5 kva of prime power and usually a large new addition to the operations building. The FST-2B modification added two more cabinets but with newer solid state (transistor) technology to process coded responses from aircraft transponders. The FST-2 was replaced in the 1970s by the FYQ-47 Common digitizer.

The site began operation as a SAGE site in 1961 initially feeding the Norton SAGE Direction Center DC-17. With the closure of DC-17 on 25 Jun 1966 control was transferred to Luke SAGE Direction Center DC-21 at Phoenix, Arizona.

San Pedro Hill AFS and the 670th were deactivated 1 Apr 1976 and the site was turned over to the FAA. The height-finder radars were then operated by a USAF detachment headquartered at Luke AFB, AZ. Became joint-use site JSS J-31. Replaced by site J-31A (Navy ARSR-4) on San Clement Island in the JSS system. Now data tied to the JSS system. Now known as San Pedro Hill FAA Radar Site.

San Pedro Hill AFS Major Equipment List
Search Radar HF Radar Data Systems
Unit Designations
  • 670th Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Sqdn (1951-1961)
  • 670th Radar Squadron (SAGE) (1961-1974)
  • 670th Radar Squadron (1974-1976)
670th Assignments
  • 1 Jan 1951 Assigned as 670th AC&W Squadron to Camp Cooke, CA
  • 1 Jan 1951 - 6 Feb 1952 Assigned to 544th AC&W Group
  • 1 Feb 1952 Moved to San Clemente Island, CA
  • 6 Feb 1952 - 1 Oct 1959 Assigned to 27th AD
  • 1 Oct 1959 - 1 Apr 1966 Assigned to Los Angeles ADS
  • Apr 1961 Moved to Fort MacArthur AI (San Pedro Hill AFS)
  • 1 Apr 1961 Redesignated 670th Radar Squadron (SAGE)
  • 1 Apr 1966 - 19 Nov 1969 Assigned to 27th AD
  • 19 Nov 1969 - 1 Apr 1976 Assigned to 26th AD
  • 1 Feb 1974 Redesignated 670th Radar Squadron
  • 1 Apr 1976 Deactivated

Current Status

Now San Pedro Hill FAA Radar Site Joint Use site J-31 on San Pedro Hill in Los Angeles County, California.

Location: San Pedro Hill in Los Angeles County, California.

Maps & Images

Lat: 33.746111 Long: -118.336111

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


Visited: Area 5 Oct 2014

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