Prior months' guestbooks:
Email: jime AT gci.net
The latest upgrade to the AN/FPS-117 Radar System is near completion her in Alaska.
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah (AFNS) -- A Battle Management program to improve Air Force long-range radar systems recently reached full operational capability when all long-range sites were certified and deemed effective.
The AN/FPS-117 is a 3-D radar system that provides advanced warning and air traffic surveillance. The Essential Parts Replacement Program replaces four major subassemblies: maintenance and control system, beacon system, uninterruptable power supply/communications rack, and local control terminals, which allow remote monitoring, troubleshooting and control of the radars.
According to program officials, it also reduces the line-replaceable unit count by about 80 percent, easing maintenance and the number of parts on the shelf.
"Prior to the EPRP modification, the radars, which were originally installed in the 1980s, suffered from excessive parts obsolescence and diminishing manufacturing sources," said Capt. Nicholas Cusolito, a former program manager. "The focus of the program was to eliminate many of the obsolete components in the radar and to ensure continued supportability through 2025 to meet NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense) mission objectives.
“Furthermore, the modification provides the hardware necessary for the eventual implementation of Mode 5 (identification, friend or foe) capability," Cusolito continued.
More than 25 radar systems were upgraded, including Hill’s engineering facility, with the last site in Hawaii being returned to service in late June after all personnel overseeing operations and maintenance had been trained.
As many of the sites are located in locations that experience severe weather, the teams faced many challenges.
"Install teams had to brave exceptionally harsh conditions in the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic, including subzero temperatures, during the dead of winter in order to keep the install schedule on track," Cusolito said. "Once on station they were isolated and confined to relatively tight quarters for five to six weeks at a time and had to remain self-sufficient during that timeframe. Many members were not able to go home for months."
In addition, a change to the Canadian radar operations and management contractor during the middle of installs was also a challenge. According to Cusolito, the team had to shift their focus entirely to the Alaskan theater until the new contractor was in place and up to speed.
He added that users in the field and the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training, also came up with innovative solutions to obstacles faced during the installs, including how to move electronics cabinets, which weigh several hundred pounds each, up narrow stairwells without damaging the walls, cabinets or sensitive electronic equipment.
"Our exceptionally dedicated and passionate users out in the field were extremely flexible in adapting and accommodating to help solve the predicaments that came up," Cusolito said. "This truly was a team effort where all stakeholders contributed equally to the successful outcome of the program, allowing the capability to be delivered on time and well within budget."
Cusolito also said the improvements are showing their worth.
"It was critical that these upgrades got completed in order to maintain key situational awareness for the U.S.," he said.
From here, software updates will be ongoing. Also, a contractor logistics support program will be established to continue sustainment of the system's hardware and software beyond the current warranty period. During this time, the program office will also look at transitioning to organic sustainment of the hardware to meet the Air Force's core logistics capabilities and save on repair and replacement costs.
Name: John Tianen
Email: jtianen AT earthlink.net
To all 656th Radar Squadron veterans (and all others), the dedication ceremony for our recently installed historical marker can now be viewed on YouTube. It's a little over an hour long.
Here's the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmyaRqxwfZI
Name: Ron Lansing
Email: Rlpublic001 AT aol.com
Very interesting site, Thanks
These are some pictures of the Kodiak Tracking Station, if interested.
I put together in a short video. We were able to track Apollo 10, in moon orbit with the new SGLS gear back then.
Name: Tom Page
Email: historian AT radomes.org
Here is a link to a recent news item for the former SAGE Direction Center blockhouse at Duluth, MN:
Name: John Tianen
Email: jtianen AT earthlink.net
Radar veteran Donald R. Doty recently passed away. Use this link to view his obituary.
Email: hq AT afrmaonline.org
I got a very intriguing email today.
"Just picked up one of these for the museum in very good condition. Came from of all places the town landfill. Needs new wires but have fifty feet of black if they need it and enough red to replace the positive lead.
Speaking of the museum, I'm still waiting for someone to pick up the
rest of the stuff. Scopes parts tektronix probes galore, three or four tek scopes, various test equipment including nixie desplays, uniforms including my parka, original issue tool chest, foot locker, tons of BNC cables and connectors and much more.
Selling the house and if I have a buyer it has to go and I'd prefer our museum."
Here's a link to a page on the meter:
Is there anybody in the New England area who can collect these things for our museum, so that they aren't lost? If so, please contact Fred Boulin and get'er done. We can figure out how to get it to Ohio later. - Gene