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Vandenberg radar transfers to Army missile range

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Personnel from White Sands Missile Range, N.M., removed Vandenberg’s decommissioned AN/MPS-39 Multiple Object Tracking Radar from the rooftop of Building 175 on Tranquillian Peak here Feb. 2. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Personnel from White Sands Missile Range, N.M., removed Vandenberg’s decommissioned AN/MPS-39 Multiple Object Tracking Radar from the rooftop of Building 175 on Tranquillian Peak here Feb. 2. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Personnel from White Sands Missile Range, N.M., removed Vandenberg’s decommissioned AN/MPS-39 Multiple Object Tracking Radar from the rooftop of Building 175 on Tranquillian Peak here Feb. 2. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Personnel from White Sands Missile Range, N.M., removed Vandenberg’s decommissioned AN/MPS-39 Multiple Object Tracking Radar from the rooftop of Building 175 on Tranquillian Peak here Feb. 2. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Personnel from White Sands Missile Range, N.M., removed Vandenberg’s decommissioned AN/MPS-39 Multiple Object Tracking Radar from the rooftop of Building 175 on Tranquillian Peak here Feb. 2. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Personnel from White Sands Missile Range, N.M., removed Vandenberg’s decommissioned AN/MPS-39 Multiple Object Tracking Radar from the rooftop of Building 175 on Tranquillian Peak here Feb. 2. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Personnel from White Sands Missile Range, N.M., removed Vandenberg's decommissioned AN/MPS-39 Multiple Object Tracking Radar from the rooftop of Building 175 on Tranquillian Peak here Feb. 2.

The radar, which provides digital data output of position versus time on up to 40 simultaneously tracked objects, was hoisted by a crane and placed onto a trailer designed for transporting radar systems.

AN/MPS-39 Multiple Object Tracking Radar was designed by Lockheed Martin to Department of Defense specifications under a contract with the U.S. Army's White Sands Missile Range.

"This radar will be supporting multiple operations throughout the range at White Sands," said Louie Garcia, White Sands Missile Range radar branch chief. "We are going to get a lot of use out of this radar. With this radar's capabilities, we are going to be able to shutdown several radar systems on the range. This will save the government money in maintenance and manpower hours."

The radar's transfer to White Sands Missile Range is projected to save the U.S. government approximately $30 million, said Garcia.

Vandenberg is losing one of only five models of the radar ever built. Now, prototypes of the radar can be found in only three places worldwide: White Sands Missile Range, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., and the United Kingdom.

The AN/MPS-39 Multiple Object Tracking Radar was in operation at Vandenberg from 1991 to 2008. In 2008, the radar's operations ceased due to funding reasons.

"We are able to keep other systems running here because we are not paying to keep this radar running," said Steven Daly, the 30th Range Management Squadron radar systems manager. "Per the requirements we have here, the radar was great should we have to destruct a missile or rocket, but it didn't have the tracking range and accuracy required for long-range tracking."

Vandenberg's Building 175 is currently being considered as a potential location for a next generation command destruct transmitter.