Walker Air Force Base Radar Site
Walker Air Force Base Radar Site (1952-1963) - A Cold War Air Force Radar Site first established in 1952 on Walker Air Force Base (AFB) near Roswell, Chaves County, New Mexico. Initially established as Walker Air Force Base Lashup Radar Site with an ID of L-46 and manned by the 120th Aircraft Control and Warning (AC&W) Squadron. Later the site became one of the Permanent System Radar Sites with an ID of M-90 and was manned by the 686th AC&W Squadron. Abandoned as a radar site in 1963.
History of Walker AFB Radar Site
Established in 1952 and became operational on 13 Sep 1952 as Lashup System radar site L-46 on Walker AFB, New Mexico. The site was manned by the 120th AC&W Squadron which was formed in 1950 from Arkansas National Guard troops called up and Federalized during the Korean War. Initial equipment included the CPS-5 search radar and a TPS-10 height-finder radar. The radar equipment was located adjacent to the squadron cantonment area on the main base. By July 1953 about 3/4 of the assigned personnel were regular Air Force and only 1/4 were ANG airmen. The 120th AC&W Squadron was deactivated 1 Oct 1953 after a transition period with the active duty 686th AC&W Squadron activated on 29 Sep 1953. The ANG troops were returned to the control of the Arkansas Air National Guard.
The site continued in the Lashup role until 1955 when a separate set of radar equipment was installed on the another side of the main runway. This new site became a part of the permanent radar system with an ID of M-90. Initial equipment included the mobile MPS-7 search radar and a mobile MPS-14 height-finder radar.
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.
The Walker AFB Radar Site was responsible for the maintenance of three remote unattended gap-filler radar sites. 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 Walker Air Force Base Radar Site AFS for regularly scheduled maintenance or when fault indicators suggested the site had problems. The Walker AFB Radar Site gap-filler radars were located at Orla, Texas; Santa Rosa, New Mexico and Sierra Blanca, Texas. Information is scarce for the Santa Rosa, New Mexico and Sierra Blanca, Texas sites but while the buildings were constructed they may have not been equipped or activated.
The Walker AFB Radar Site became a BUIC I GCI site in 1962. Walker AFB Radar Site and the 120th AC&W Squadron were deactivated on 1 Aug 1963.
The physical plant of the site was divided into the main site and a cantonment area. The main site housed the operations buildings, the radar equipment, and the backup generators. The cantonment area housed the enlisted barracks, the orderly room, and other support buildings.
No remains of the L-46 main site. May be some remains of the M-90 main site but that area is not accessible to the public. The cantonment area buildings still exist as maintenance buildings for the Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell (ENMU-R).
Visited: 3 Apr 2015