Technological advancement in the late 1950s and early 1960s enabled the US and Soviet Union to develop submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Reacting to impending limits set by SALT on their land-based ICBMs, the Soviets expanded their nuclear missile submarine fleet dramatically. In response, DOD upgraded and enhanced the SLBM warning network. The Air Force installed eight mechanical, pulsed conical scan tracker radars, designated AN/FSS-7, at strategic points along the US coast.
To provide timely warning against Soviet SLBMs, the Air Force began work on an interim SLBM detection network consisting of several AN/FSS-7 radars located on the Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf coasts. The network, eventually controlled by the 4783rd Surveillance Squadron of the 14th Aerospace Force, was fully operational by May 1972.
- Mt. Hebo, Washington 850
- Mill Valley, California
- Mt. Laguna, California
- MacDill Air Force Base, Florida
- Ft. Fisher, North Carolina
- Charlestown, Maine
In the early 1980s the Air Force expanded the SLBM network. It completed two AN/FPS-121, modified PAVE PAWS systems, located in the southeastern and southwestern US. The first site is at Robins AFB, near Warner Robins, Georgia, and attained IOC in November 1986. After activation of this new PAVE PAWS southeast radar, the Air Force deactivated the last of the old AN/FSS-7 radars operated by Detachment 1, 20 MWS, at MacDill AFB, Florida.
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