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325th OSS flies under a new sail

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Vesta M. Anderson
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Tyndall Air Force Base achieved a major milestone in air dominance when a 140-foot crane hoisted the new Digital Airport Surveillance Radar Antenna to its home atop a new 75-foot tower.

The DASR antenna, referred to as a "sail" by radar technicians, will update air traffic control and radar approach's aging AN/GPN-20 analog radar system, said Tech. Sgt. Scot Myers, 325th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control training NCOIC.

The upgrade began in January with renovations to the floor support at the radar approach control building. By mid-summer, the construction on the new radar tower began and the antenna was erected in October, Sergeant Myers said.

"Late January we are looking to start running with some of our new capabilities," he said.

The DASR system will provide Tyndall's ATC and RAPCON controllers with airport-terminal area primary surveillance coverage to 60 nautical miles and secondary surveillance coverage to 120 nautical miles, said Mr. Jim Smith, 325th Communications Squadron Plans and Implementation Flight commander.

"The radar's digital processing provides greatly improved target and weather processing to support the improved performance associated with the deployment of the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System," he said.

The increased reliability of the radar's weather capability is a highly-anticipated addition to RAPCON.

"By June of 2008, we will have the weather detection capability," explained Sergeant Myers. "The old system allows us to see the outline of weather but not its intensity. If we want to know the intensity, we call Eglin AFB. They are equipped with the new radar, but once we are running on the DASR, we will have that capability ourselves."

The new radar also allows RAPCON to feed off other ATC agencies' radar surveillance during RAPCON blackouts, Sergeant Myers said.

The STARS terminal-control workstations, referred to as scopes, have a dual capability to be used for live control or simulation.

"The most exciting gain with the STARS is realistic training scenarios," said Chief Master Sgt. Bruce Ash, 325th OSS radar approach chief controller. "The simulators utilized match the equipment the controllers use on a daily basis."

Controllers will now have the ability to build scenarios to meet training objectives, explained Chief Ash. These scenarios can be manipulated to accommodate procedural changes or new approaches.

This new ability maximizes training capabilities, said the Chief.

Raytheon Corporation is currently installing both systems and started controller training last month, said Mr. Smith, and the overall project management is provided by the 325th CS Plans and Implementation Flight.

"The initial operational capability for STARS is February 2008, with DASR commissioning slated for September 2008," he said.