Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Ramirez Does GOML and Radars



A blast from the past from the Usual USAF Source:
Igloo Upgrade: The Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin $46.8 million in contract options to upgrade its Atmospheric Warning System radars throughout the US and Canada. The contract covers initial planning and design work to modernize 29 AN/FPS-117 long-range surveillance radars, which were initially built by Lockheed in the 1980s under the Seek Igloo North Warning program, according to a company release. It includes 15 radars in Alaska, 11 in Canada, as well as individual sites in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Utah. The solid-state L-band radar is capable of continuously covering airspace out to 250 miles using unmanned operations that are reliable even in harsh Arctic climates. Lockheed expects to be awarded follow-on contract options to update the radar's signal and data processing, extending the network life-span through 2025, states the release. The company already has completed similar work at sites in the UK, Germany, Romania, and Kuwait.
That would be a COLD blast from the past.   A lot o' you Gentle Readers know that I spent 16 years in the long-range air defense radar bid'niz, with a couple o' tours off for good behavior which I spent on the periphery o' the Once and Current Evil Empire.  Said tours weren't much of an improvement, actually, when it came to geographic locations, but there were other benefits.

I didn't much like the radar biz, mainly coz it ain't nice living on top of mountains or in close proximity to same, USUALLY out in the boonies somewhere... but not always: there were USAF radar sites in Palos Verdes in El-Eh, Mt. Tamalpais in SFO, and Montauk Point on Long Island, just to name three desirable sites (at which I never served).  So it pleases me to read the current radars use "unmanned operations," which I take to mean minimally attended.  There really isn't such a thing as unmanned ops; maintenance must be performed on a regular basis.  That maintenance is better performed by contractors than Blue Suiters, sez I, coz I know what it means to do that sorta thang.  In environments like this:

I spent one year, three days, eight hours and ten minutes there.  Not that I was counting.


  1. That illustration is exactly what's wrong with so much of the world today. When the Khardashians are more well-known than the latest casualties in Afghanistan (which I'm totally ashamed to admit I had to look up); and the same Khardashians are famous because of a sex tape released BY one of the children, of herself - the world is indeed tilted and skewed and I worry that it will never be truly righted again.

  2. There's a Khardashian SEX TAPE? We must Google now. ;-)

  3. Are you sure the Khardashians are not from Afghanistan?

    Last spring while junking with the Diva, I came across some old frames. In one of the frames was a similar pic as those above. I bought several of the frames and included the radar pic, but somewhere between here and there, then and now, I can't find it.

  4. I wonder why they built those radars with such a low frequency??

    It just made everything bigger. You'd think they would have used microwaves and smaller equipment.

    The height finder there is microwave (5.5 GHz), so the technology was available to do it different.

    By the 70's they could have just put a TPS-43 on the roof and get 3D, and dump the height finder.


  5. Buck - yes, Kim Khardashian released her own sex tape. I haven't seen it (god NO!) so I have no idea what it's all about.I trust your Google search was, um, fruitful. That said, it launched her reality career and foisted the rest of that vacuous, talentless family upon the world.

    The only good thing to come from that clan is the vivid image of just what too much plastic surgery looks like. Yes, I'm talking about you Bruce Jenner.

  6. Lou: You might be the ONLY person I know who ever had a framed picture of a radar site.

    Anon: Almost all of the '50s vintage search radars were L-Band, some were even lower. Our standard height finders were S-Band. The decision to build 'em in that frequency range prolly had a lot to do with state of the art at the time. And the Tipsy-43? Hush yore MOUF. That's the reason I got out of the radar bid'niz... I had NO desire to play sojer and live in tents and stuff.

    Kris: I didn't actually go looking for any Khardashian tape; I was just bein' a smart ass.

  7. Well Buck, Kim Kardashian is a lovely woman; couldn't blame you for trying (if you did).

  8. Speaking of L-Band, you might not know this (or care), but it is a highly popular band today, as you can have radar and Mode-S with the same antenna.

    The new 737 AWACS sold to Australia, Korea, and Turkey can be doing Mode-S/IFF on one side and radar on the other. The radar is very high resolution compared to the old stacked-beam radars along side the tents you successfully avoided.

    Does Mode-S, IFF, bearing, range, altitude, and velocity all in one swoop.

    If I was a dictator, I'd want five myself.


  9. Golf balls north of Havre and some near Opheim back when I was a grade school kid. The Havre ones have been gone a long time now.

    Heroes when I was that grade schooler were named Grissom, Sheppard, Cooper, Glenn, Schirra......guys like that.
    And Mike Cassel SGT USA

  10. Anon: You sound a LOT like a radar guy. ;-)

    Glenn: You can find old retired radar MSgts at the bar in both Havre and Opheim. I knew a few guys who retired up that way after a tour at either or both of those sites.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.