Beale AFB Pave Paws Radar Site

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Beale AFB Pave Paws Radar Site (1979-Present) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Pave Paws System Missile Warning Radar Site. Established in 1979 on Beale Air Force Base near Marysville, Yuba County, California. Active radar site on Beale Air Force Base.

Pave Paws Computer Maintenance Operations Center, showing duplexed Cyber Computers
Beale AFB Pave Paws Radar Antenna Elements.
Beale AFB Pave Paws Radar Site.


Pave Paws Missile Warning Operations Center (MWOC).
7th Space Warning Squadron Patch
Pave Paws & BMEWS Site Coverage

Established in 1979 and became operational in 1980 as the Beale AFB Pave Paws Radar Site manned by the 7th Missile Warning Squadron. Initial equipment included two FPS-115 phased array radar systems. Subsequent hardware and software upgrades to the FPS-115 changed the designation first to FPS-123 and finally to FPS-132 under the auspices of the Missile Defense Agency and its Upgraded Early Warning Radar (UEWR) program.

The 7th Space Warning Squadron operates and maintains the facility with contractor support. They are primarily responsible for detecting sea-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) fired from submarines in the Pacific Ocean and ICBMs launched toward North America. The operations component of the unit then determines how many missiles were launched and their probable targets, and reports that to:

This unit helps form a two-layered, worldwide network of missile warning systems. This is a warning mission only without any interception or destruction component.

The 7th Space Warning Squadron also supports the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GBMD) element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). This program's objective is the defense of the United States against a threat of a limited strategic ballistic missile attack. The FPS-132 UEWR detects, acquires, and tracks inbound missiles to provide the necessary data to classify and engage the targets. This target data allows the GMD Fire Control and Communications element to generate a weapons task plan, allowing for the engagement, interception, and negation of threat of a ballistic missile reentry vehicle in the exoatmospheric region of space. This is the interception/destruction mission conducted under the auspice of the Missile Defense Agency since its establishment in 2002.

The 7th Space Warning Squadron helps track earth-orbiting satellites, and reports the information to the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. This information is then combined with information from other sensors to form a satellite catalog that tracks the more than 16,000 objects in orbit.

Physical Plant

Pave Paws Technical & Power Building.
Pave Paws Power Control Room, Generators in background.

The two original Pave Paws FPS-115 radars were housed in a 105 foot high building with three sides, two of which were active. Each of the two active sides contained 1,800 individual radar transmitters and receivers. The active sides were tilted back 20 degrees to allow for an elevation deflection from 3 to 85 degrees above the horizon. A computer controlled the activation of individual radar elements providing a moving radar beam. This building is known as the technical equipment building and houses the operations and maintenance components as well as the equipment.

Adjacent to the technical equipment building is the power building housing diesel generators that can supply power to the radars should commercial power become unavailable. A separate building houses communications and satellite equipment linking the site to the agencies using the radar data. A security tower and a security building at the entrance to the compound provide access control. Surrounding the compound are two concentric fences, the inner fence is a security fence to provide access control for the compound and the outer fence creates an exclusion zone to keep people and animals out of the radiation pattern.

Housing and support facilities are provided by Beale Air Force Base.

Beale AFB Pave Paws Radar Site AFS Major Equipment List
Search Radar Data Systems Communications
  • IBM 7090 (2)
  • Cyber 170-876 (2)
  • MODCOMP IV (2)
Unit Designations
  • 7th Missile Warning Squadron (1979-1991)
  • 7th Space Warning Squadron (1991-Present)
7th MWS Assignments
  • 1 Jul 1979 - Activated at Beale AFB, California assigned to 26th AD.
  • 1 Oct 1979 - Assigned to Hq ADCOM.
  • 1 Dec 1979 - Assigned to SAC.
  • 1 Sep 1982 - Assigned Air Force Space Command.

Beale AFB Pave Paws Radar Site Partial Commanders List (edit list)
Assumed Relieved Rank Name Cullum Notes
1996 1998 Ltc Madison, Dale R. N/A
1998 2000 Ltc Shirasago, Dale N/A
2000 2002 Ltc Hollenga, Dane N/A
2002 2004 Ltc Sutton, David N/A
2004 2006 Ltc Pulliam, Russ N/A
2006 2008 Ltc Skinner, Keith N/A
2008 2010 Ltc Keppler, Corey N/A
2010 2012 Ltc Schroff, Scott M. N/A
2012 2014 Ltc Sorapuru, Mark J. N/A
2014 Present Ltc Cruz, Miquel A. N/A

Current Status

Active military site in Marysville, Yuba County, California.

Beale AFB Pave Paws Radar Site Structures (edit list)
Number Building Exists Notes
5760 Technical Equipment Building Yes
5761 Power Plant Building Yes
5762 Guard Tower Yes
5763 Bus Shelter Yes
5764 Main Gate House Yes
5765 Civil Engineering Storage Building Yes
5768 Supply Warehouse Yes
5770 Electrical Substation Yes
5771 Communications Terminal Building Yes
5772 Communications Sat Terminal Yes
Fuel Storage Tanks Yes
Exclusion Fence Yes
Security Fence Yes

Location: Beale AFB near Marysville in Yuba County, California.

Maps & Images

Lat: 39.13611 Long: -121.35083

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 375'

See Also:


  • Cornett, Lloyd H. & Johnson, Mildred W., A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization (1946-1980), Office of History ADC, Peterson AFB, Colorado, 31 Dec 1980, 179 pages, Pdf, page 46, 47, 149.
  • Winkler, David F., Searching the Skies: the Legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program, USAF Hq Air Combat Command, 1997, 192 pages, Pdf, page 54-56, 86, 105.


Visited: area 11 Oct 2015

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