Rock Springs FAA Radar Site
Rock Springs FAA Radar Site (1962-Active) - A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Long Range Radar (LRR) site first established in 1962 on Quaking Aspen Mountain near Rock Springs, Sweetwater County, Wyoming. The site is used to identify and track military and civilian aircraft movements within a 200-mile radius and to provide air-ground radio communication with those aircraft. Assigned a SAGE System ID of Z-218 and an FAA ID of RKS. Active FAA Radar Site.
This site became an FAA radar site in 1962, furnishing radar track data to the FAA ARTCCs and to USAF Direction Centers. The initial FAA ARSR-2 search radar remained in operation until it was modified to become a (CARSR) radar with a 7172 Antenna.
A FYQ-47 Common Digitizer was probably placed in service by February 1973 when the USAF/FAA FST-2 to FYQ-47 replacement program was completed. By 1990 the site was equipped with a ARSR-2 search radar and a CD-2A Common Digitizer. The Rock Springs CD-2A was scheduled to receive an upgrade kit to implement three level weather data processing in March 1992.
Mode S Beacon System
The Rock Springs FAA Radar Site was selected in the 1990s to become one of 21 long-range radar sites to have a Mode S radar beacon system installed. The Mode S system allowed operation in the existing beacon modes but added features to improve beacon operation by allowing aircraft identification with a single interrogation and two-way digital communication between controllers and pilots.
Besides the 21 long-range sites, there were other short-range radars to be upgraded for a total of 137 sites on the implementation list. Rock Springs was #91 on the list, scheduled to receive the Mode S equipment on 30 Aug 1994. Installation required interfacing with the radar system, addition of a beacon antenna on top of the search radar antenna, a new larger radome, interfacing with the Common Digitizer (CD-2) if installed, additional communication lines and equipment.
The nationwide replacement program converting FAA legacy radar systems to the CARSR radar configuration was completed by 17 Aug 2015 and Rock Springs FAA Radar Site was a part of that program. Legacy FAA radars underwent a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) that replaced key components in the vintage ARSR-1, ARSR-2, FPS-20, FPS-66 and FPS-67 radars. The CARSR program replaced legacy klystron radar transmitters with a solid-state transmitter as well as renovating the radar receiver and signal processor. The CARSR modification also included common digitizer functionality making a separate common digitizer unnecessary. The Rock Springs FAA Radar Site is now operating with the CARSR radar. At the time of the CARSR changeout, the legacy radar in place was an ARSR-2 and the CARSR conversion included a 7172 Antenna. The secondary radar for this site is the Mode S beacon set.
The radar site data is now available to the USAF/NORAD Battle Control System-Fixed (BCS-F) operations centers (EADS & WADS) as well as the FAA Salt Lake City ARTCC (ZLC) and adjacent ARTCCs. Other federal agencies have access to the data under the Homeland Security umbrella.