Clear Air Force Station (Clear AFS) is located 8km south of Anderson in east central Alaska, US. It is operated by the 213th Space Warning Squadron of the Alaska Air National Guard. The primary purpose of the station is to provide surveillance and tracking of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
The Air Force Station is spread over an area of 11,438 acres, of which the developed portion covers about 350 acres. It is surrounded by George Parks Highway in the east, Nenana River in the west, Alaska Range in the south, and the community of Anderson in the north. The installation is accessed from the George Parks Highway, which also links the municipality of Anchorage and the city of Fairbanks.
Clear AFS is home for the 13th Space Warning Squadron (SWS) and the 213th SWS (Air National Guard), a unit of the 21st Space Wing, Peterson Air Force Base. The installation employs about 300 personnel including on duty members, Air National Guard, Department of Defence (DoD) civilians, and contract employees.
History of Clear Air Force Station
The land was acquired by the Department of the Interior (DOI) in 1949. The area was used as a gunnery range by the Alaskan Air Command until it was returned to DOI in the 1950s.
The site was acquired by the USAF in 1958 to set up a site for the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS). Construction began in the same year and was completed in March 1961. The Site II became fully operational in November 1961 as the Second Detachment (Det 2) of the 71st Missile Warning Wing (MWW).
The Det 2 became the 13th Missile Warning Squadron (MWS) in January 1967. The 13th MWS was reassigned from the 71st MWW to the 14th Aerospace Force in 1971 and Clear AFS was upgraded with advanced facilities such as state-of-the-art radome and equipment in 1981. The 13th MWS was re-designated 13th Space Warning Squadron and reassigned to 21st Space Wing in 1992.
Clear AFS garrison facilities
Minot Air Force Base, United States of America
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The Clear AFS is divided into four major zones including composite area, camp area, SSPARS site and old technical site area. The composite area houses administration, recreation and permanent living quarters. Civil engineering and security police offices are located in the camp area, while the SSPARS site houses the radome. The technical site area is home to the power plant as well as operations and maintenance facilities including the radars and associated equipment.
The 13th SWS provides early missile launch warning information. It detects, tracks and identifies over 9,500 man-made objects orbiting the Earth. The squadron also provides total coverage of the North American continent in the event of ground-based or sea-launched ballistic missile attack.
Clear AFS radar facilities
The AN/FPS-123 Solid-State Phased Array Radar System (SSPARS) is housed in an 11-storey building at the Clear Air Force Station. The SSPARS detects and warns about sea-launched and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The USAF plans to upgrade the Early Warning Radar (EWR) and associated facilities at the SSPARS at Clear AFS by 2016. In September 2012, Raytheon was awarded a $125.3m contract by MDA and USAF to upgrade the EWR system. The upgraded EWR (UEWR) will be equipped with a new capability to effectively work along with other elements of the MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMDS).
Other facilities and services
Unaccompanied Housing (UH) is provided for all active duty Air Force and all Active Duty Guard who live more than 35 miles away. The Airmen of E-1 to E-6 rank are offered with an independent sleeping room, furnishings, bed linens and amenities.
The Officers and Airmen of E-7 rank are provided with a suite. The permanent party UH campus offers suites, one plus one rooms and four independent rooms (quads) with separate bath and common kitchen. Recreational facilities are located in the composite site area.
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