Murphy Dome Air Force Station

Murphy Dome Air Force Station
Murphy Dome Long Range Radar Site

Alaskan Air Command.png 11th Air Force.png 611th Air Support Group.png

Part of Eleventh Air Force (PACAF)
Murphy Dome Air Force Station - Alaska.jpg
Murphy Dome Air Force Station
Type Air Force Station
Coordinates 64°57′09″N 148°21′25″W / 64.9525°N 148.35694°W / 64.9525; -148.35694 (Murphy Dome Radars F-02)
Built 1951
In use 1951-Present
Controlled by  United States Air Force
Garrison 744th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron (1953-1983)
Murphy Dome AFS is located in Alaska
Murphy Dome AFS
Location of Murphy Dome AFS, Alaska

Murphy Dome Air Force Station (AAC ID: F-02, LRR ID: A-02) is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 20.4 miles (32.8 km) west-northwest of Fairbanks, Alaska.

The control center station was closed on 1 November 1983, and was re-designated as a Long Range Radar (LRR) site as part of the Alaska Radar System. Today, it remains active as part of the Alaska NORAD Region under the jurisdiction of the 611th Air Support Group, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.



Murphy Dome AFS was a continental defence radar station constructed to provide the United States Air Force early warning of an attack by the Soviet Union on Alaska. It was one of the ten original aircraft control and warning sites constructed during the early 1950s to establish a permanent air defense system in Alaska.

Murphy Dome was initially operated by a detachment of the 532nd Aircraft Control and Warning Group, Ladd AFB (now Fort Wainwright). 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 at Ladd AFB toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit's radar scopes. Radars operated were an AN/CPS-6B, AN/FPS-8, AN/FPS-20, and an AN/FPS-6.

The station site 64°57′12″N 148°21′35″W / 64.95333°N 148.35972°W / 64.95333; -148.35972 (Murphy Dome Station) consisted of a power/heating plant, water and fuel storage tanks, gymnasium and other support office buildings. Two other buildings contained living quarters, work areas, and recreational facilities plus opportunities for such sports as skiing, skating, horseshoes, and basketball. The buildings were connected by enclosed portals so no one needed to go outside in winter unless absolutely necessary. Tours at the station were limited to one year because of the psychological strain and physical hardships.

A 4,500' airstrip was constructed on a plateau east of the ground support station, with a gravel runway during 1951 64°56′48″N 148°19′37″W / 64.94667°N 148.32694°W / 64.94667; -148.32694 (Murphy Dome Airstrip). It appears to have been abandoned when reliable roads were constructed which linked the station into the Alaska highway system. Mail was usually delivered daily after the road connection to Fairbanks was completed. During the 1950s-70s, a ski slope also operated at the site, the trails still visible in aerial photography 64°57′14″N 148°21′27″W / 64.95389°N 148.3575°W / 64.95389; -148.3575 (Murphy Dome Ski Tow). A rope tow was constructed to allow for servicemembers to go up and down the slope.

When the 532nd was inactivated in 1951, the site was then operated by a detachment of the 143rd Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron, Alaska Air National Guard. As part of HQ Alaskan Air Command's (HQ AAC) plan to upgrade all remote sites to full squadrons, the 744th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron was activated at Murphy Dome on 1 February 1953 with an authorized strength of 249 personnel.

Murphy Dome converted to an air defense Direction Center (later renamed NORAD Control Center) on 4 March 1953, and exercised control over Campion AFS (GCI); Indian Mountain AFS, Tin City AFS and Cape Lisburne AFS (surveillance). Beginning in 1958, the Fort Yukon AFS and Kotzebue AFS Ground Intercept Sites were added when they were activated. As an MCC site, its mission was to feed air defense data to the Alaskan Control Center at Elmendorf AFB where it was analyzed to determine range, direction altitude speed and whether or not aircraft were friendly or hostile. The station also operated a number of radars, including AN/CPS-6B, AN/FPS-8, AN/FPS-20, and AN/FPS-6.

Communications were initially provided by a White Alice TD-2 microwave A Route radio link to Clear AFS operated by the Air Force Communications Service (AFCS) 64°57′16″N 148°21′54″W / 64.95444°N 148.365°W / 64.95444; -148.365 (Murphy Dome White Alice). It was inactivated in 1979, and replaced by an Alascom owned and operated satellite earth terminal as part of an Air Force plan to divest itself of the obsolete White Alice Communications System and transfer the responsibility to a commercial firm.

With the creation of NORAD in 1957, Murphy Dome AFS became one of four NORAD Control Centers in Alaska. The squadron supported, administered and trained assigned personnel to perform air defense missions, support tactical missions as directed by HQ AAC, and operate and maintain the station. The USAF shared its radars with the United States Army Air-Defense Command Post (AADCP) for Nike missile-defense system (Fairbanks Defense Area). The AN/CPS-6B radar was removed in July 1958, the AN/FPS-8 was active until the Nike sites were inactivated in 1971.

In 1977, the 744 ACWS was assigned to the newly reactivated 531st Aircraft Control and Warning Group (531 ACWG). The 531 ACWG was later redesignated the 11th Tactical Control Group (11 TCG) in 1981.

In the early 1980s, construction began on a new NORAD Region Operations Control Center (ROCC) at Elmendorf AFB, which would be responsible for managing all air defense operations in Alaska, making all manned remote radar sites redundant. The 744th ACWS was selected to man the ROCC, which achieved full operational status on 15 September 1983.

In 1983, Murphy Dome received a new AN/FPS-117 minimally attended radar under Alaskan Air Command's Seek Igloo program. It was designed to transmit aircraft tracking data via satellite to the Alaskan NORAD Regional Operations Control Center (ROCC) at Elmendorf AFB. No longer needed, the 744th ACWS was inactivated on l November 1983 and the station re-designated as a Long Range Radar (LRR) Site. This left only contractor personnel to maintain the site radar. In 1990, jurisdiction of the Murphy Dome LRR Site was transferred to Eleventh Air Force with the re-designation of AAC.

In 1998 Pacific Air Forces initiated "Operation Clean Sweep", in which abandoned Cold War stations in Alaska were remediated and the land restored to its previous state. After years of neglect the facilities at the station had lost any value they had when the site was closed. The site remediation of the radar, support and White Alice communication station was carried out by the 611th Civil Engineering Squadron at Elmendorf AFB, and remediation work was completed by 2005.

Current status

Today very little of the former Murphy Dome Air Force Station remains. The site is controlled by the Pacific Air Forces 611th Air Support Group, based at Elmendorf AFB. It is generally unattended; a few civilian contractors access the site for maintaining the facilities.

Air Force units and assignments

1950s emblem of the 744th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron


  • 744th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron, 1953–1983


  • 11th Air Division

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Northeast Cape Air Force Station — Part of Alaskan Air Command (AAC) …   Wikipedia

  • Plattsburgh Air Force Base — PAFB redirects here. For the military airport in Alaska with that ICAO code, see Ladd Army Airfield. For the civil use of this facility and airport information, see Plattsburgh International Airport. Plattsburgh Air Force Base …   Wikipedia

  • 176th Air Control Squadron — The 176th Air Control Squadron is a part of the United States Air National Guard, which provides mission ready personnel to operate and maintain the Alaskan Region Air Operations Center (RAOC) of the North American Aerospace Defense Command… …   Wikipedia

  • List of Nike missile locations — Nike Missile family, From left, MIM 3 Nike Ajax, MIM 14 Nike Hercules, LIM 49 Nike Zeus. Map of all coordinates from Google …   Wikipedia

  • List of White Alice Communications System sites — This is a list of White Alice Communications System sites. The White Alice Communications System (WACS) was a United States Air Force telecommunication link system constructed in Alaska during the Cold War. It featured tropospheric scatter links… …   Wikipedia

  • 2000 New Year Honours — The insignia of the Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George: Andrew Wood was awarded the Grand Cross in this Honours list. The New Year Honours 2000 for the United Kingdom were announced on 31 December 1999, to celebrate the year… …   Wikipedia

  • Architecture and Civil Engineering — ▪ 2009 Introduction Architecture       For Notable Civil Engineering Projects in work or completed in 2008, see Table (Notable Civil Engineering Projects (in work or completed, 2008)).        Beijing was the centre of the world of architecture… …   Universalium

  • United Kingdom — a kingdom in NW Europe, consisting of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: formerly comprising Great Britain and Ireland 1801 1922. 58,610,182; 94,242 sq. mi. (244,100 sq. km). Cap.: London. Abbr.: U.K. Official name, United Kingdom of Great… …   Universalium

  • Western architecture — Introduction       history of Western architecture from prehistoric Mediterranean cultures to the present.       The history of Western architecture is marked by a series of new solutions to structural problems. During the period from the… …   Universalium

  • Dates of 2005 — ▪ 2006 January This is a unique case of a people under occupation being asked to hold free and fair elections when they themselves are not free.… It s an important internal test, and I think it s a turning point. Palestinian legislator Hanan… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.