San Nicolas Island USN Radar Site

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San Nicolas Island USN Radar Site (1960s-Active) - A U.S. Navy (USN) Long Range Radar (LRR) site first established in the 1960s on San Nicolas Island, Ventura County, California. 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. Active USN Radar Site.


This site became a USN radar site in the 1960s, furnishing radar track data to the USN facilities and to the Western Test Range facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The initial ARSR-1 search radar remained in operation until it was replaced with an ARSR-3 radar and that was later modified to become a CARSR radar. There is some indication that the ARSR-3 was a new installation and that the ARSR-1 was left in place where it remains today.

The use of FAA developed radars in the Western Test Range both on San Nicolas Island and at Vandenberg AFB may be tied to the use of air traffic controllers to manage the airspace over the range from the Area Control Center (ACC) Air Controller Display Position (ACDP) Consoles.

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 1981 the site was equipped with an ARSR-1D search radar and a FYQ-47 or FYQ-49 Common Digitizer. The site was reportedly data-tied into the Joint Surveillance System (post 9/11) but it is unclear if the site feeds data to any FAA ARTCCs. This site does not appear in available FAA lists of sites.


The nationwide replacement program converting FAA legacy radar systems to the CARSR radar configuration was completed by 17 Aug 2015 and San Nicolas Island 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 San Nicolas Island FAA Radar Site is now operating with the CARSR radar. The CARSR radar was reportedly commissioned on 17 Sep 2013.

San Nicolas Island USN Radar Site Major Equipment List
Search Radar Height Radar Data Systems IFF/SIF/Beacon

Current Status

Active USN facility on San Nicolas Island in Ventura County, California. No public access.

Location: On San Nicolas Island in Ventura County, California.

Maps & Images

Lat: 33.24610 Long: -119.51934

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  • Elevation: 905'

GPS Locations:

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