Killeen Air Force Station
Killeen Air Force Station (1958-1961) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Radar Station established in 1958. Located near Killeen, Bell County, Texas. Initially assigned a Permanent ID of TM-192. Also known as Gray Air Force Base Radar Site. Closed in 1961.
On 14 Feb 1957, the 814th AC&W Squadron moved to Killeen Air Force Station, assigned to the Oklahoma City Manual Direction Center P-86, 33rd Air Division (Defense) Headquartered at Oklahoma City Air Force Station.
This station was one of eight stations established in the final phase of the Permanent AC&W Radar Program for the 33rd Air Division. The 33rd Air Division would remain a manual operation throughout the transition of the rest of the Air Defense System to the semi-automatic SAGE System. The Oklahoma City Manual Direction Center P-86 remained connected to these sites until they closed down one by one. Because the sites were never destined to become SAGE sites they received older less capable equipment and facilities and they were among the first to be closed when budgets constricted. The eight sites were:
The station initially had both a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and early warning mission. The early warning mission involved tracking and identifying all aircraft entering their airspace while the GCI mission involved guiding Air Force interceptors to any identified enemy aircraft. Controllers at the station vectored fighter aircraft at the correct course and speed to intercept enemy aircraft using voice commands via ground-to-air radio.
Initial equipment included the FPS-3A search radar and a FPS-6 height-finder radar. Both radars were mounted on open frame temperate towers without radomes. The FPS-3A quickly underwent modifications to become a FPS-20A and in November 1958 the 814th AC&W Squadron began operating the FPS-20A in an arctic tower with a radome.
Killeen Air Force Station and the 814th AC&W Squadron were deactivated on 1 Feb 1961.
Killeen AFS was responsible for the maintenance of two remote unattended gap-filler radar sites. The unattended gap filler sites were placed in locations where the main search radar lacked coverage. These sites were equipped with short range FPS-14 or FPS-18 search radars and FST-1 Coordinate Data transmitters that sent digitized radar target data to a SAGE direction center and to the main radar site. Both the radar set and the FST-1 were dual channel to increase site up time. Maintenance teams were dispatched for regularly scheduled maintenance or when fault indicators on the FSW-1 remote monitoring equipment suggested the site had problems. The FSW-1 also allowed remote operation of specific functions such as channel changes for the radar and for the FST-1, it also allowed remote operation of the diesel generators at the gap filler site. The Killeen AFS gap-filler radars were located at Schulenburg, TX and Normangee, TX.
The 814th AC&W Squadron was located in a new two-story combination administrative and barracks building. Nearby Fort Hood provided food, pay, medical support and other base facilities like the Post Exchange and Commissary.
The operational area was reached by driving out the back gate (through another guard post) of Gray AFB, four or five miles, and then up a very steep road to the top of a flat bluff. The only buildings were the operations building, tech supply building, a diesel power generating building and a small radio building.
Sattelite views confirm that all of the AC&W era buildings have been removed and only a commercial/government radio tower occupies the site.
Visited: 24 Sep 2019 Area