Cut Bank Air Force Station
Cut Bank Air Force Station (Perm ID: P-24, SAGE ID: Z-24) is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 30.4 miles (48.9 km) northwest of Cut Bank, Montana. It was closed in 1965.
|Cut Bank Air Force Station|
|Part of Air Defense Command (ADC)|
|Type||Air Force Station|
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
|Garrison||681st Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron|
The facility was hosted by the 681st Aircraft Control and Warning (AC&W) Squadron, Air Defense Command between April 1952 and June 1965. Cut Bank AFS replaced an earlier radar site at Del Bonita, Montana (LP-24) which had opened in March 1951.
The 681st AC&W Squadron started operating AN/FPS-3 and AN/FPS-4 radars in April 1952, and initially the station functioned as a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and warning station. As a GCI station, the squadron's role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit's radar scopes. In 1958 an AN/FPS-20 search radar replaced the AN/FPS-3 at this site. In the following year two AN/FPS-6B height-finder radars superseded the AN/FPS-4.
In 1961 this site was integrated into the SAGE system, the squadron being re-designated as the 681st Radar Squadron (SAGE). The radar squadron provided information 24/7 the SAGE Direction Center where it was analyzed to determine range, direction altitude speed and whether or not aircraft were friendly or hostile. In 1962 the AN/FPS-20A was further upgraded and redesignated as an AN/FPS-66. In 1963 one AN/FPS-6B was removed and on 31 July, the site was redesignated as NORAD ID Z-24. In 1964 the other AN/FPS-6B was upgraded to an AN/FPS-90, and an AN/FPS-26A height-finder radar was installed.
In addition to the main facility, Cut Bank operated an AN/FPS-14 Gap Filler site:
- Browning, MT (P-24A)
- Sweetgrass, MT (P-24C)
The station was closed on 1 March 1965 as part of a general reduction of ADC. Today it is largely intact, and abandoned.
Air Force units and assignmentsEdit
- Established as 681st Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
- Activated 1 March 1951 at Del Bonita (renamed Cut Bank Air Force Station, Montana on 1 December 1953)
- Redesignated as 681st Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 1 March 1961
- Discontinued and inactivated on 25 June 1965
- Cornett, Lloyd H. and Johnson, Mildred W., A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980, Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson AFB, CO (1980).
- Winkler, David F. & Webster, Julie L., Searching the Skies, The Legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program, US Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories, Champaign, IL (1997).
- Information for Cut Bank AFS, MT