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San Pedro Hill Air Force Station
Part of
1961-1968: Airdefensecommand-logoAir Defense Command
1968-1979: USAF - Aerospace Defense CommandAerospace Defense Command
San Pedro Hill, Rancho Palos Verdes, California
(highest elevation of the Palo Verdes Hills)[2]
San Pedro JSS site California
San Pedro Hill AFS in 1988.
Type USAF General Surveillance Radar Station
Coordinates Latitude:
Location code RP-39: 1950 ADC permanent network[1]
Z-39: 1963 July 31 NORAD network
J-31: 1983 Joint Surveillance System
In use 1960-1979
radar site of Los Angeles ARTCC
Controlled by 1960-79: USAF 670th Radar Squadron
1979-97: Federal Aviation Administration

Ground Equipment Facility J-31 (San Pedro Hill Air Force Station during the Cold War) is a Joint Surveillance System radar site of the Western Air Defense Sector (WADS) and the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic control radar network [1] for the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center. The facility's Air Route Surveillance Radar Model 1E with an ATCBI-6 beacon interrogator system are operated by the FAA[3] and provide sector data to North American Aerospace Defense Command. The site provided Semi-Automatic Ground Environment data to the 1959-66 Norton AFB Direction Center for the USAF Los Angeles Air Defense Sector. The site also provided Project Nike data to the 1960-74 Fort MacArthur Direction Center ~3 mi (4.8 km) away for the smaller US Army Los Angeles Defense Area[4]—as well as gap-filler[specify]

radar coverage for the 1963-74 Integrated Fire Control area of Malibu Nike battery LA-78  on San Vicente Mountain.[5]


The "ADC/FAA joint-use facility" began operations in 1961 with an FAA ARSR-1C radar.[1] After the April 1, 1961, move of the 670th Radar Squadron (SAGE)--formerly the 670th AC&W Squadron—from San Clemente Island Air Force Station, the Los Angeles Air Defense Sector was activated June 1.[6] The squadron was assigned to the "Fort MacArthur AI"[6] (Army Installation) and operated the San Pedro Hill radars which included a General Electric AN/FPS-6B Radar and an Avco AN/FPS-26 Radar for height finding. In 1964, the station's Westinghouse AN/FPS-27 Radar was installed (removed 1969) and the AN/FPS-6B was modified to an AN/FPS-90.[citation needed] In April 1976 the squadron was redesignated Detachment 1 of Luke AFB's 26th Air Defense Squadron[6] (the AN/FPS-26A was removed in this time frame).[citation needed] The radar station with 18 military & 5 civilians was planned for transfer after the 1978 Base Realignment and Closure Commission.[7] After the station transferred to the FAA when Aerospace Defense Command was inactivated, the Air Force continued to operate the AN/FPS-90 height-finder by then modified to an AN/FPS-116 (removed c. 1988).[8] In the late 1990s, the Air Force terminated the data-tie at San Pedro Hill and established a data-tie with the new Navy-installed ARSR-4 radar at San Clemente Island's Mount Thirst. The Raytheon ARSR-1E Radar at San Pedro Hill was in use by November 2010.[3]

Nuvola apps kview.svg External images
Searchtool.svg 1970s w/ 2 radomes & empty pedestal
Searchtool.svg San Pedro AN/FPS-116
Searchtool.svg 2005 FAA image w/ 2 radomes


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Winkler, David F; Webster, Julie L (June 1997). Searching the Skies: The Legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program (Report). U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  2. wikimapia. San Pedro Hill Air Force Radar Station (Map). ""Coordinates: 33°44'46"N 118°20'10"W"" 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Pace, Joe (November 2010). "The President Paces Himself" (K6PV newsletter). Palos Verdes Amateur Radio Club. p. 2. Retrieved 2012-05-08. "an Air Route Surveillance Radar Type 1E…by Raytheon…in continuous service by the FAA since it’s installation in 1959. [sic] I…visit[ed] with one of the FAA engineers that has taken care of its operation for more than 30 years… This is a primary radar facility for high-altitude (en-route) air traffic control, with a range of 200 miles. Coupled…is the beacon interrogator system (ATCBI-6)… The San Pedro Hill facility is one of 22 in the FAA system using ARSR-1E" 
  4. Kenyon, Ed (March 17, 1963). "It's a Different World Inside Radar Facility" ( image). p. 15. "The Army's missile master control center at Fort MacArthur uses the data for its Nike missile defense network." 
  5. Berhow, Mark A; Gustafson, David (2011-electronic edition). Fort MacArthur (Report). Fort MacArthur Military Press. p. 55. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 compiled by Johnson, Mildred W. (31 December 1980) [February 1973: Cornett, Lloyd H. Jr]. A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980. Peterson Air Force Base: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. p. 33 ("1961…1 April - Los Angeles ADS became operational."). Retrieved 2012-03-26 669th Radar Sq (SAGE): assigned 1 Jan 51 at Ft. MacArthur, CA,…moved to Santa Rosa Island, CA 11 Feb 52;…moved to Lompoc AFS, CA 1 Apr 64 … 670th Radar Sq (SAGE):…redesignated to 670th Radar Sq (SAGE) (from AC&W Sq) 1 Apr 61; moved to Ft. MacArthur AI, CA in Apr 61. 
  7. "Western bases" (Google News Archive). April 27, 1978.,6178108&dq=san-pedro-hill+usaf&hl=en. Retrieved 2012-03-26. "Mt. Laguna -- Air Force station transferred to FAA affecting 133 military and 30 civilian." 
  8. [specify] PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

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