Tonopah Test Range

Official website: http://ttr.sandia.gov
FAA information for the Tonopah Test Range: http://www.airnav.com/airport/KTNX

These links open up a new window.

Current weather conditions at the TTR
Ancient History of the Tonopah Ballistic Range (from "Background Information on Nevada Nuclear Tests (1957), DOE document NV0726463)
History of the Tonopah Test Range
Panoramic photos of the TTR
TTR odds and ends.
Photos of S4.
The TTR as seen from the space shuttle
Energy 29 (Department of Energy plane N229DE?) lands at the TTR (audio clip)
CV-22 at the TTR
Book a flight to the TTR
Anchor links
Area 52 or Area 54
Populated Places around the Tonopah Test Range...like Area 51
Tonopah Test Range open for business
The Official Story of the Tonopah Test Range from the USAF
The Official Cover Story for the Tonopah Test Range from the DOE
Yet Another Official Cover Story for the Tonopah Test Range from the DOE
30th Reconnaissance Squadron activated at the Tonopah Test Range
Quiet Eyes Test (Directed Infrared Countermeasures)
That famed missile sign
Plaque on the Tonopah Fire Department
Contrail from a missile launch at the TTR
Civil Air Patrol photo of the TTR runway and base
Who is in charge here....?
So what does this all cost....?
Think you want to do business with the Tonopah Test Range....?
Trend Western’s Range Support Services: Keeping America’s Warriors The Best
Family Day at the TTR
Statement from the TTR director
A trip down Sandia Drive... well, until you reach the border
Janet Aircraft at the Tonopah Test Range
Scud Launcher
Radar at the TTR
ICAO for the Tonopah Test Range: TNX and XSD, plus TKM for good measure
Open hangar doors and unidentified objects
Radio facility to the south of S4
Brainwash Butte
MI-24 Hind
A few planes seen at the TTR
Map to Brainwash Butte
Telemetry
USAF Annex and Sandia housing  in Tonopah
Dyncorp
Washington Group International
Range 74 Weather Station
Nike Launch at the TTR
NAVY INSTALLATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH THE NAVY’S COLD WAR GUIDED MISSILE PROGRAM
BVM
More TTR links

Articles related to the TTR
"When Secrets Crash " from Airforce Magazine Online
"The Secret Doings at Tonopah"  from Airforce Magazine Online
"The Black Jet" from Airforce Magazine Online

Area 52 or Area 54


There are documents indicating the Tonopah Test Range (TTR) is Area 52 and Area 54. We report...you decide.

TTR as  area 54

tonopah test range area 52

Populated Places around the Tonopah Test Range...like Area 51

From:
    Environmental Assessment
    Tonopah Test Range
    Energy Research and Development Administration
populated places around the tonopah test range

There is an Air Force installation called Area 51 near the TTR. Who knew? ;-)


TTR Mission Statement per 2013 EIS
TTR image statement

Proposed new missions. Note infrared testing has already taken place at the TTR. Further the USAF has based UAVs there. So the future is probably reality.
future missions at the TTR


From Sandia Lab News:, March 2010

Tonopah Test Range open for business

Nevada site has supported weapons flight testing for more than 50 years

By Bill Murphy

To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the demise of Sandia’s Tonopah Test Range have been greatly exaggerated.

Given the recurring discussions over the years about retiring the range, it’s understandable that some Sandians might think the TTR has entered the history books as part of Sandia’s storied past. But that isn’t the case. It’s still very much a going concern.

Ajoy Moonka, senior manager of the Stockpile Support and Test Group (2910), wants to get out a simple message: Tonopah Test Range is open for business. It’s serving the nation’s nuclear weapons mission and, through work for others agreements, conducts tests for customers in a number of federal agencies, including Man Portable Air Defense System (ManPADS) tests that help protect American forces in war zones.

Tonopah Test Range, established in 1957, occupies 280 square miles tucked in the northwest corner of the 4,687-square-mile Nellis Air Force Range. Currently, 113 personnel are assigned to TTR, including 22 Sandia employees, with the remainder being contractors who provide site support (security, maintenance and operations, medical, fire, rescue, and hazmat response). The nearest town is Tonopah, Nev., which is more than 30 miles from the TTR operations center.

Understandably, Ajoy notes, personnel at TTR sometimes feel like “a neglected cousin,” a sentiment that probably isn’t helped any by the fact that the range has been on the proposed chopping block many times over the past couple of decades. But a pervasive uncertainty about the TTR’s status hasn’t deterred staff at the range from keeping their eye on the ball, Ajoy says. “They are very dedicated to the mission and make the best of rather old equipment, facilities, and infrastructure that exists due to lack of investment for over a decade,” he says.

One example of the TTR team’s focus and dedication is that the range, working in partnership with Center 4100, completed self assessments, followed by an Independent Verification Review, and received authorization to restart JTA operations with an extensive 90-day effort after operations were stood down following the October 2008 sled track accident. (In the wake of that accident, all Sandia organizations involved with energetic materials work were required to go through a complex and rigorous restart process to ensure operations were being done safely and in accordance with Labs policies and procedures.) After an extended period of uncertainty about its future, it appears that TTR may be in for a time of relative stability.

Record of Decision affirms support

In December 2008, NNSA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) affirming support for the test range as part of the complex transformation effort. The ROD calls for a continuation of the flight test activities at TTR, revitalization of some facilities and infrastructure, and possible changes to the footprint and operating model. Additionally, the Obama administration’s FY11 congressional budget request — that is, the budget the president submits to Congress — has language specifically addressing TTR. It reads, “Funding in FY2011 also supports the Tonopah Test Range (TTR) in Nevada, providing unique capabilities to air drop nuclear bomb test units. These capabilities allow TTR to support DSW’s [Directed Stockpile Work] ability to perform surveillance testing on nuclear bombs and their compatibility with US Air Force bombers and fighters . . . .” Over the years, Ajoy notes, NNSA and DOE have conducted numerous studies — Ajoy has a PowerPoint chart that lists no less than 12 such studies since 1992 — to determine the feasibility of closing the range. Those studies, Ajoy says, come to strikingly similar conclusions time after time. Among recurring findings: The flight test mission at TTR in support of stockpile surveillance is a vital one, and one that is not likely to go away; TTR infrastructure is old and should be upgraded; the nuclear weapons flight testing mission could be transferred to DoD and performed elsewhere, but for a number of reasons, the programmatic risks (mission priority) and costs to make the transition far outweigh the benefits.

Given the consistency of study results over an extended period of time, the 2008 December NNSA ROD concluded authoritatively that flight testing will remain at TTR.

That’s good news for the Labs as work on the B61 Life Extension Program ramps up. The B61 project, if it progresses as planned, will rank among the biggest weapon-related efforts at Sandia in 20 years. That program will likely require a number of developmental flight tests. With the NNSA ROD, there is now no question about where those tests will be conducted.

In speaking about the advantages of keeping the TTR open, Ajoy cites the “wonderful relationship” with the US Air Force at the Nellis Test and Training Range, adding that a new TTR business model may involve Sandia procuring some support services from the USAF when it’s mutually advantageous.

The TTR of the future won’t look exactly like the TTR of the past, Ajoy says. How could it, when during the height of the Cold War, the range conducted approximately 300 development and surveillance flight tests each year and had five departments with a senior (group) manager. Rather, the TTR of 2010 and beyond, which currently conducts 12 to 15 surveillance flight tests and two WFO test series of four to six weeks’ duration, will operate in a new business/operating model. A number of options are being explored, including operating in a “campaign mode,” with a core of Sandians assigned full time to keep the range operational, supported by a cadre of others — Sandia employees and contractors — who staff the site during test weeks.


Information about the Sandia operation at the Tonopah Test Range from an employment advertisement

Department 02915 operates the Tonopah Test Range for the National Nuclear Security Administration under Sandia?s Prime contract. The Department consists of 22 Sandia personnel and 34 contractors responsible for the technical operations associated with the nuclear weapons flight test mission and the maintenance of a 280 square mile integrated test range facility with an instrumentation suite of precision tracking radars, telemetry ground stations, optical tracking mounts, meteorological data systems and numerous pieces of support, test and communications equipment.

Work locations exist at both the Tonopah Test Range and Nevada Site Office in Las Vegas, and employees are allowed to work from either location based on their work assignment. The normal work week is Monday through Thursday, 10 hours a day. Deviations to the normal schedule occur to facilitate mission requirements and may require personnel to remain away from home 4 days and 3 nights or possibly longer at a remote location. Work schedules may change as required to meet organizational needs.


This is from an employment add in 2/2013. The hours have changed, but that might be related to the job, or it indicates a slight change in the base operations.

Department 02915 operates the Tonopah Test Range for the National Nuclear Security Administration under Sandia?s Prime contract. The Department consists of 22 Sandia personnel and 34 contractors responsible for the technical operations associated with the nuclear weapons flight test mission and the maintenance of a 280 square mile integrated test range facility with an instrumentation suite of precision tracking radars, telemetry ground stations, optical tracking mounts, meteorological data systems and numerous pieces of support, test and communications equipment.

Work locations exist at both the Tonopah Test Range and Nevada Site Office in Las Vegas, and employees are allowed to work from either location based on their work assignment. The normal work week is Tuesday through Thursday, 13/14 hours a day. Deviations to the normal schedule occur to facilitate mission requirements and may require personnel to remain away from home 4 days and 3 nights or possibly longer at a remote location. Work schedules may change as required to meet organizational needs.

The Official Story of the Tonopah Test Range from the USAF

This data from from the document entitled
 
WING INFRASTRUCTURE  DEVELOPMENT OUTLOOK (WINDO)
Final Environmental Assessment
Nellis Air Force Base
June 2006
 
The TTR is situated in the northern portion of the NTTR (Nevada Test and Training Range) and covers about 336,000 acres within the  NTTR.  Its facilities are located about 40 miles southeast of Tonopah.  It is accessed from Route 6 along both a paved and improved gravel road.  The TTR consists of a runway, airfield, and associated support facilities (refer to Figure 1-3).  Nellis AFB manages the TTR; Sandia National Laboratory (Department ofEnergy [DOE]) a tenant of TTR, conducts aeronautical research and development on the TTR.

 TTR consists of approximately 336,665 acres of  operational, maintenance, and administrative facilities. Activities on the TTR include projectile firings, ground-launched rockets (both high and low altitude), air launched rockets, explosion effects tests, earth penetration tests,  cruise missile flights, and many miscellaneous activities requiring a remote location for non-nuclear DOE research and development projects.  As with the other locations mentioned previously, infrastructure improvements have been identified in the WINDO program.
 
TTR.  This test range covers approximately 336,000 acres of withdrawn land in the northern portion of NTTR.  Activities on the TTR include projectile firings, ground-launched rockets, explosion effect tests, and a variety of other research and development projects.  Most of the TTR consists of safety zones and buffer areas, but it also contains lands supporting:
° Dining facilities;  
° Overnight housing for site personnel; 
° An airfield and air transportation terminal;
° Administration and range control offices;  
° Emergency services such as fire stations;  
° Vehicle maintenance shops;  
° Facilities maintenance shops including woodworking shops, sign shops, electrical/communication shops, boiler and generator maintenance shops;  
° Vehicle refueling areas;  
° Fuel storage areas; and  
° Aggregate quarries.
Situated around the flightline, these facilities account for less than 10 percent of the TTR.

Electric Power and Natural Gas.  The Sierra Pacific Power Company supplies electrical power to DOE  facilities at the TTR via two supply lines.  One is 120 kV, and a backup line is 60 kV.  Sierra Pacific transformers step the voltage down to 13.8 kV for the DOE distribution system.  The remaining power line supplies the Air Force facilities.  All remote operations are supplied with electrical power by portable generators (DOE 1996).  There is no natural gas system on the TTR.

Potable Water.  Five water wells (BLM, EH-7, EH-2, 3A, and 3B) drilled on or near the TTR provide water supply to the TTR.  The wells are monitored for compliance with drinking water standards on a regular basis by personnel from the Bio-environmental Squadron at Nellis AFB.  Two additional wells (Sandia Well 6 and Sandia Area 9) are monitored by Sandia/DOE.  Annual metered historic groundwater use at the TTR reported in 1997 totaled 106.5 afy or 34.7 million gallons per year (gpy) (NAFB 1998a).

Wastewater Treatment.  Sewage at the TTR is collected and pumped to the wastewater treatment unit  (aerated facultative lagoons) located approximately 1.5 miles southwest of the main gate.  Effluent lines and three lift stations connect all DOE and Air Force facilities to the wastewater treatment unit.  This  treatment unit is designed to treat raw sewage in compliance with secondary treatment standards.  Treatment is accomplished by an aerobic stabilization pond, followed by two parallel evaporation basins.   The system allows for final disposal of the wastewater by evaporation and percolation.  Five septic tanks are still in use at remote locations.  These remote septic tanks are occasionally pumped into vacuum trucks and transported off site for ultimate disposition (DOE 1996).  Permitted capacity is 0.375 million gallons per day for a 30-day average.  The TTR operates under a NPDES general permit (NEV20001) as issued and administered by the Nevada DEP (Roe 2005).

TTR.  The primary highway access to the main entry gate of the Tonopah Test Range is via US Highway 6 to north-south alternate Road 504.  US-6 links US-95 and US-93 and is an all-weather, two-lane paved roadway.  A total of 298 miles of roads on the TTR are used on a regular basis (DOE 1996).  The TTR consists of 118 miles of primary paved roads, 23 miles of secondary paved roads, 113 miles of primary compacted dirt roads, and 39 miles of secondary dirt roads.  The two primary traveled paved roads on the TTR traverse north-south and east-west.  These roads support the majority of the daily traffic, as well as traffic during operations.  The dirt roads are used for secondary daily travel, but are primarily used during testing activities.  
 
The roadway system on the TTR is jointly maintained by the DOE and the Air Force.  No personally-owned vehicles are permitted on the site.  Workers either drive government-supplied vehicles from the main entry of the TTR or ride government-supplied bus transportation to the work site.  The majority of the on-site traffic is attributed to security support and facility operations (DOE 1996).

figure 1.3 

The Official Cover Story for the Tonopah Test Range from the DOE

(or perhaps the truth)

From Annual Site Environmental Report for Tonopah Test Range, Nevada and Kauai Test Facility, Hawaii (2003)

Tonopah Test Range

Sandia Corporation (a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy [DOE]), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Sandia Site Office (SSO), operates the Tonopah Test Range (TTR) in Nevada. Westinghouse Government Service, TTR’s operations and maintenance contractor, performs most environmental program functions.

Sandia Corporation conducts operations at TTR in support of the DOE/ NNSA’s Weapons Ordnance Program. Sandia Corporation’s activities involve research and development and testing of weapon components and delivery systems. Many of these activities require a remote test range with a long flight corridor for air drops and rocket launches. Other activities include explosive tests and gun firings.

TTR is located within the boundries of the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) withdrawal. The principal DOE activities performed at TTR are stockpile reliability testing, research and development (R&D) testing support of structural development; arming, fusing, and firing systems testing; and testing nuclear weapon delivery systems.


Yet Another Official Cover Story for the Tonopah Test Range from the DOE

Due to DRM, the text can't be cut and paste. Note the TTR used to be 336,000 acres, but now it is listes as of 2011 as 179,200 acres. Presumably this is a transfer between the Tonopah Test Range and the Nevada Test and Training Range, i.e. more like an accounting change than anything changing hands. Or perhaps the 179,200 acres is the land available for use by the DOE. This is referred to as the "Permitted Premises" in the report. Security is stilled listed as ASI (Advanced Security Incorporated).


Tonopah test range size (text)

Tonopah Test Range current use (text)

police and fire facilities at the Tonopah Test Range (text)

The map bellow shows much land on the north west side of the base now being part of the NTTR (Nevada Test and Training Range).

TTR border



30th Reconnaissance Squadron activated at the Tonopah Test Range

From the Air Force Times

McVay also acknowledged the existence of a Predator test squadron, the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron, at the Tonopah Test Range, about 145 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Its operations are classified, he said.

The 30th, McVay said, was activated in a low-key ceremony in August.



Official Factsheet on the RQ-170 from the USAF
U.S. Air Force Fact Sheet
RQ-170 SENTINEL

Mission
The RQ-170 is a low observable unmanned aircraft system (UAS) being developed, tested and fielded by the Air Force. It will provide reconnaissance and surveillance in support of the joint forces commander.

Background
The Air Force's RQ-170 program leverages the Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Programs and government efforts to rapidly develop and produce a low observable UAS. The RQ-170 will directly support combatant commander needs for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to locate targets.

The RQ-170 is flown by Air Combat Command's 432nd Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., and the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron at Tonopah Test Range, Nev.


Quiet Eyes Test (Directed Infrared Countermeasures)

From http://www.dtic.mil/descriptivesum/Y2010/OSD/0604051D8Z.pdf

Accomplishments/Planned Program Title:   FY 2008  FY 2009  FY 2010  
Cost Effective Light Aircraft Missile Protection (CELAMP)  (Air Force) 2.479
Outcome:  Demonstrate an integration of the Quiet Eyes turret with AAQ-24(V) Directed Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) components that will provide infrared (IR) threat
protection for sub-sonic platforms such as the A-10 and helicopters. The AAQ-24(V) Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system is not optimized to provide
protection for small aircraft such as helicopters and fighters because of its cost, form, fit and weight.  A light-weight, low-cost Infrared Countermeasures (IRCM) assembly (Quiet
Eyes) was developed that leverages guidance components from the AIM-9X IR missile to provide highly responsive, all-aspect IR protection.  The lead service is Air Force.
 
The primary outputs and efficiencies to be demonstrated are: (1) the ability of the Quiet Eyes turret to handle the higher power laser associated with the AAQ-24; and (2)
demonstrate that the Quiet Eyes turret can successfully be integrated with the DIRCM processor, missile warning system and laser, resulting in a readily available lightweight
IRCM jammer for Army and Navy helicopters while meeting the requirement for the next generation IRCM jammer for the Air Force.
 
FY 2008 Output:  Quiet Eyes turret integrated with missile warning system, laser, processor and power supply demonstrated successfully in lab and at live fire demonstration at
Tonopah Range.

From  http://www.wpafb.af.mil/news/story_print.asp?id=123209358

Sensors Engineers Ever Vigilant in Warfighter Response
by Dr. John McCalmont
Space Vehicles

High resolution photograph http://www.wpafb.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/100339-F-0509T-001.jpg

6/15/2010 - KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, New Mexico -- Using Quick-Reaction Capability funds supplied by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (i.e., the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics) for a new Air Combat Command missile warning system technology, Air Force Research Laboratory fabricated and tested an innovative sensor for detecting the launch and flight of shoulder-fired heat-seeking missiles. Dubbed Vigilant Sentinel, the visible-band, wide-field-of-view sensor subsequently underwent promising demonstration as part of the Navy's Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures missile testing conducted at Tonopah Test Range, Nevada. In addition to its inherent functional advantages, the new sensor is affordable--a characteristic that makes it a likely candidate for use by all military and large commercial aircraft against terrorist missile and hostile fire threats.

During the LAIRCM event, the engineering team tested the newly developed Vigilant Sentinel's performance against a large number of assorted missile types, including guided, ballistic, simultaneous, and countermeasure launches. The sensor exceeded expectations, successfully detecting--and collecting specific data regarding--the various launches at distances well beyond the different missiles' respective kinematic ranges.

In addition to yielding positive indications of Vigilant Sentinel's desired execution, the demonstration results helped engineers understand the novel sensor concept's capacity for maturing subsystem components, identify future improvements to system design, and otherwise advance their work in the direction of an effective and ultimately transitionable MWS capability.



That famed missile sign

The Tonopah Test Range doesn't get much attention because the government makes no attempt to keep it a secret.  As you can see, they even have a sign by the road. Nothing like a missile to get someone's attention. Thanks to the efforts of rec.aviation.military usenet readers, the consensus is this missile is a combination of a Nike Ajax booster (bottom half) and a B57 bomb (top half). It probably never flew as shown, but rather was put together because it looked cool.  [GPS coordinates of the entrance sign are N38 04 46.0 W117 00 38.0] 

Anything left long enough in the desert will get a bullet hole or gather graffiti.  You can see the sign in the above photo is plastered with stickers. This one is interesting in that the group is part of the Navy and based in Norfolk Virginia, so what are they doing in the desert?  The Federation of American Scientists  has some Socacom info here


John Ashcroft was driving along route 6 in Nevada and saw the graffiti covered TTR sign. He didn't understand the graffiti but was convinced it had something to do with the devil, so he ordered that the sign be painted, with the results below: (Photo May 2003)


In August, 2003, the new sign was unveiled. It is clean, and also fenced off. Since nearly all the grafitti was from visitors to the base, I suspect this fence won't stop new stickers from showing up on the sign.


The sign in the dark ages (probably 1970's).


Contrail from a missile launch (June 2007)

missile launch at the TTR

Plaque on the Tonopah Fire Department


Computer generated image of the runway


Civil Air Patrol photo of the TTR runway and base


Who is in charge here....

The Tonopah Test Range is under control of both the USAF and the DOE (Department of Energy). The table below indicates that Detachment 1 of the 98th Operation Group is one of the USAF groups at the TTR. Their mission is listed below:

Operations Group Det 1 (Tonopah Test Range Airfield-Northern Ranges) provides domestic support for internal and external range customers, provides a capability for emergency divert landing, and serves as a forward support location for various Nellis training, testing and tactics development activities.   98 OG/DET 1 3770 DUFFER DRIVE NELLIS AFB NV 89191 7001
Operations Group   (702)652-4108            

Defunct: 

Tonopah Radar Station (866th AF Squadron): was station at the Brock Mountain site in the town of Tonopah, not at the range.

4450th Tactical Group, Tonopah Test Range was the former F117A squad based at the TTR


So what does this all cost....?

The Sandia portion of the Tonopah Test Range goes out to bid.$33 million over 10 years.

ID Number: 195
Procurement Description: Support of Technical Operations for Sandia at the Tonopah Test Range (TTR)- 10 year contract.
Commodity Area: PS
NAICS: 561612, 922160
Estimated Value of Contract ($K): 33,000
Estimated RFQ Release Date: 11/15/2004
Estimated Award Date: 3/5/2005
Competition Type: S
Other Procurement Information: 
Status: Pending


Think you want to do business with the Tonopah Test Range....?

Here are the rules of behavior. At least they don't mention a cavity search.


Trend Western’s Range Support Services: Keeping America’s Warriors The Best

by Stet Reid, RSS Program Manager

[TTR related text highlighted. Trend Western is now owned by Fluor. This article comes from a Del-Jen newsletter no longer on the internet.]

How do I explain Trend Western’s Range Support Services (RSS) contract? The contractual part is easy. Trend Western, as a subcontractor to DynCorp, provides Logistics and Transportation services on the Nevada Test and Training Range. Describing the environment in which we operate and where we are located is the hard part. Picture over 4,500 square miles of land (the size of Connecticut) that has been removed from public use. Now, imagine this entire state being located in the middle of Iraq -- complete with burning desert, blazing heat, bombed-out buildings; destroyed aircraft, trucks, & tanks; and new structures. That’s representative of the RSS environment because the Nevada Test & Training Range exists to accomplish two purposes. First, it provides our nation a place to test new weapon systems and, secondly, it provides our warriors a place to train with and master those weapons once they enter the military inventory. But, don’t be misled. Just because RSS is an AF contract doesn’t mean we support only our Air Force. The truth is, we provide support for every US Armed Service and their weapon systems, plus those of allies across the globe. This means we get to see nearly every aircraft and weapon system existing in the free world...in action!

RSS operates in a highly classified environment. Rumor has it that the infamous Area 51 is located somewhere out here...along with Jimmy Hoffa and Elvis. I’ve yet to find any of them but I keep an eye out....

The classification issue means people can’t enter any range without clearance and prior permission. Even with those arrangements made, computers, cell phones, cameras, Blackberries, etc. are not allowed at any location.

Since weapon systems are noisy, ranges are situated far from populated areas. Maintaining effective communications is a big challenge made even more difficult because TW’s RSS operation is managed from 4 different locations including North Las Vegas, Indian Springs AF Auxiliary Field, Tolicha Peak Electronic Combat Range, and the Tonopah Test Range.

The Las Vegas office, 10 miles west of Nellis AFB is really just a cubicle in the DynCorp RSS Program Management Office. 40 miles north is Indian Springs AF Auxiliary Field (ISAFAF), the site of our first true operating location and home of our P.M.; Secretary, Lori Finch; Business Integration & Safety Mgr., Chuck Maler; and ISAFAF Site Mgr., Lou Gwyn. Under Lou’s tutelage, Trend Western’s Team supports the ISAFAF flight line and the Southern Ranges, which include a dozen locations where weapons are employed. Here, the USAF and allies use conventional bombs, rockets, and bullets to remain current in their profession. ISAFAF also supports specialized desert training for AF Security Forces personnel. TW provides Fuels, Supply, Vehicle Operations, and Vehicle Maintenance at “The Springs.”

110 miles further north is Tolicha Peak Electronic Combat Range (TPECR). Located at the top of a mountain high on a plain where the wind never stops blowing, it’s where Airmen train against electronic combat emitters and hone their skills to win against an electronically sophisticated enemy. While TPECR is our smallest operation, our TW professionals, led by Johnny Scarborough, provide the same four types of support as our ISAFAF Team.

The Tonopah Test and Training Range (TTR) is located another 100 miles north of TPECR and is our newest and largest operation. Because it is where the F-117 Stealth Fighter was fielded and developed, the facilities are exceptional. We support six numbered ranges that are used for both conventional bombing and gunnery missions and also electronic combat missions. As with all our locations, our TTR Site Manager (Sterling “Rip” Ripley) and Team provide Fuels, Supply, Vehicle Operations and Vehicle Maintenance support for the RSS contract.

Hopefully, this has provided you a vision into what may be Trend Western’s and Del-Jen’s most widespread and atypical USAF-support operation. What we accomplish every day makes an important difference. We work to help the free world’s best remain that way so they can continue to win future engagements against enemies who continue to improve every day. In addition, our efforts help ensure these brave men and women have the skills needed to return home safely at the conclusion of any type of combat. It’s a great mission!


Family Day at Tonopah Test Range (TTR)

(From the June 2007 Del-Jen newsletter)

As April 28th approached, RSS employees waited for the word; was this a joke? No one would allow one of the most secretive military installations in Nevada to host a second TTR Family Day!  The only other TTR tour happened 10 years ago. But the buses arrived on time and employee families boarded, anticipating their arrival at the worksite.

As they drove, strange sights appeared.  Large radar sites and a mile-long line of brown hangers were clearly visible from a distance.  This was the home of the F-117A Stealth Fighter back in
the 80s when that program was classified.  In those days, the project contributed significantly to the surrounding community - building a bank, Tonopah High School, a conference center, and several hotels & gas stations...but residents were never allowed to tour the highly classified facility.

The site still maintains operations functioning under a cloak of secrecy but guests got to see the Sandia Live Fire Range where USA Guards fired 50 cal. machine guns through concrete walls; industrial work areas where family members worked; and finally, the TTR ManCamp where dinner was served.  While folks waited for dinner, emergency response vehicles were available for the kids to sound the sirens and shoot water at a target.

Some might expect that the small-town atmosphere of Tonopah runs counter to the high-tech experiments and modern control centers of the nearby Test Range, but this distinction is false. Tonopah residents who work on the ranges are highly educated, firmly established in their professions, and well informed about their unique neighbor.

TTR Family Day was an exceptional effort by our DoD customer to give family members a glimpse into our unique work environment.  Moreover, participating employees reported that they and their families had truly enjoyed the entire day.  Many of them recounted visiting areas and gaining information they had never been introduced to before. This effort solidified the amiable, easygoing rapport the Site has shared with Tonopah residents for six decades. Bottom line: it all adds up to a job well-done...which is not bad for work done in the middle of nowhere! 

From Sandia Lab News, Volume 59, Number12, June 9, 2008

family day at the TTR

The security contract went to ASI at one time, but now appears to be provided by U.S. Security Associates, Inc.


Excerpts from "Statement for the Record C. Paul Robinson, Director Sandia National Laboratories"

The Tonopah Test Range, which Sandia operates under agreement with the Air Force, is absolutely irreplaceable as a flight-test site for air-delivered bomb systems. Without it, we could not continue to assess and certify systems nor perform research and development on new delivery systems. I urge continued Congressional support for joint use of the Tonopah Test Range and the proper level of funding support for range infrastructure to ensure its viability.

Sandia engineers worked around-the-clock to modify the “Steel Eagle,” air-dropped, unattended ground sensor for deployment in Afghanistan. Originally designed under sponsorship of the Defense Intelligence Agency in the 1990s to identify mobile missile launchers, we modified the system to detect light trucks and armored vehicles. The sensors can be deployed from F-15E, F-16, and Predator unmanned aircraft.

Speaking of the Predator, this unmanned aerial vehicle has gained recognition for its ability to capture and transmit in real time high-quality radar images of terrain, structures, and moving vehicles through clouds and in day or night conditions. You may perhaps not be aware that the advanced synthetic aperture radar (SAR) capability on the Predator was substantially developed by Sandia National Laboratories. We began working on miniature radars based on synthetic aperture concepts in 1983 in the nuclear weapons program. In 1985 we became involved in a special-access program for the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop a one-foot-resolution, real-time SAR suitable for use in unmanned aircraft. Sandia flew the first real-time, one-foot-resolution, SAR prototype in 1990. Follow-on work sponsored by DoD continued to improve the system, and a partnership with an industrial firm, which shared program costs, transitioned the technology into the fielddeployable systems used in Afghanistan.

 


A trip down Sandia Drive... well, until you reach the border

This is about as far as you can go on the main road to the Tonopah Test Range. Were you wondering what that truck ahead of you was carrying? Maybe this sign will give you a clue. I've seen missile launchers on this road and unusual looking tanker trucks. [This sign is located at N37 53 36.9 W116 46 04.3. As always, look for the warning signs and only use the GPS coordinates as a rough guide.]


A guard shack is located at the border. What else were you expecting? Remember that this site is run by the Department of Energy, not the USAF. While the cammo dudes are instructed not to interface with visitors unless they cross the border, security at this site may not have the same instructions. I don't know what will happen if you park by the side of the road for a long time. You may get a visit.


You can see some buildings near the border, but I suspect they are just housing.


This photograph was done on a Sunday when the base is closed. The guard shack is still occupied. 


Janet Aircraft at the Tonopah Test Range

The Janet planes that leave from Las Vegas and land at Groom Lake also have regular flights to the TTR. [The official cover story is ALL the Janet flights go to the TTR, even if they go to Groom Lake.] Here are some photos of a Janet plane on the runway. The smaller Beech aircraft also land at the TTR, with flight originating from both Las Vegas (LAS) and the operation near Groom Lake (TKM). In March of 2004, Beech N27RA crashed in a flight from Groom Lake to the TTR, as documented in this Las Vegas Review Journal article.

janet 737 at the tonopah test range


Scud Launchers

While these hangars used to hold the nations F117 fleet, it looks like this particular hangar holds a MAZ-543scud launcher. Thanks to Thud for the identification. Also thanks to the person on the range for leaving the door open long enough for me to take some photographs.


White Sand Missile Range inventory lists several MAZ-543s being housed at the TTR.

Albuquerque Operations Assets      

       

       
SYSTEM NAME SERIAL NUMBER LOCATION QUANTITY REMARKS
MAZ-543 TEL   Tonopah, NV 1 Non-Operational (Carcass, Cannibalization)
MAZ-543 TEL 543 5000 211 1345-2-82 Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (All Original, R-27)
MAZ-543 TEL 543 50000 19 3753-7-77 Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (R-28/Repowered; With Missile)
MAZ-543 TEL 543 50000 19 3769-7-77 Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (R-29/Repowered, With Missile)
MAZ-543 TEL 543 50000 19 1200 3 78 Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (All Original, R-31)
MAN Crane 550 0012 Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (Registration No. NP 04 FP)
ZIL-131,Neutralizer   Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (F-11)
ZIL-131,Oxidizer   Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (F-26)
ZIL-131,Auto Ck-Out   Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (F-30)
ZIL-131,Fuel   Tonopah, NV 1 Non-Operational [F-41, (Needs Ignition Parts & Rear Axle Pinion Seal, F-41)]
ZIL-131,Compressor   Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (F-50)
ZIL-131,Horz Ck-Out   Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (MR-13); Awaiting Wheel Seals
ZIL-131, 5th Wheel 629350 Tonopah, NV 1 Operational [With a Single Missile Resupply Trailer (W/One Missile), No. 344565]
Decoy 1M9EB3621K1217839 Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (MAZ-543 Decoy on a Trailer, 82x10185)
Decoy   Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (MAZ-543 Decoy on a Trailer, 91x17002)
TEL Trailer   Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (Modified M747 Trailer, 74x1002 - ID Number 784)
TEL Trailer   Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (Modified M747 Trailer, 74x1001 - Manufacturer's Serial Number 104)
Triple-Carry Trailer IM9FB362361217091 Tonopah, NV 1 Operational (9026227 - With Two Missiles)
ZIL-131   Tonopah, NV 1 Non-Operational (Used for Parts, Cannibalization, Carcass)
ZIL-131   Tonopah, NV 1 Non-Operational (Used for Parts, Cannibalization, Carcass)

Additional documentation indicates the TTR has an operational Soviet era T-72 tank (serial number MHYT10 TNB). JAMS stands for "Joint Acquisition Management System."
T-72 tank


79. Please briefly explain the operational and maintenance differences between the MAZ 543, the MAZ 543 DECOYS, and the MAZ 543 STIX. How interchangeable are these vehicles in scenario use?

Answer: The MAZ 543 Decoys are custom fabricated, medium fidelity, units which visually replicate the authentic MAZ 543 Scud TEL. They are mounted flat deck trailers (35 foot) which are pulled by Ford F-350 pickup trucks utilizing a 5th Wheel. The vehicle skin is composed of fiberglass. Due to their fragile construction and past experience with damage incurred due to excessive stress while moving on the Interstate system, they are currently utilized on Tonopah Test Range only. This is where they are stored and maintained. The simulated missiles can be raised utilizing a winch system for visual effect. The decoys are only moved into a position which replicates its current operational status (Hide or Launch). It is only mobile in that it can be moved into its exercise location and left until it is retrieved. Since the Ford F-350 is clearly visible, this unit is not utilized in a mobile configuration during exercise execution.

The MAZ 543 STIX is really a MAZ 543 STYX. This is an authentic FSU coastal defense anti-ship surface to surface missile system. The STYX system is mounted on a MAZ 543M chassis which shares great commonality (spare parts and configuration) with the MAZ 543 Scud TEL chassis but varies visually in that the crew compartment is only on the drivers side vs both sides of the Scud. This vehicle is serviceable & operational short of firing a missile however its radar status is questionable and has thus far not been employed.

Interchangeability of the aforementioned vehicles is driven by customer requirements. Any deviation must be approved by the customer due to the impact on customer testing, training or experimentation requirements or criteria.

The MAZ 547A Chassis Only means that this vehicle has no payload on the rear of the vehicle. These vehicles are serviceable (roadworthy), and are available for customer use though without a payload, are limited in their usefulness for other than testing and experimentation. No payload means that the chassis from the drivers cab rearward is devoid of any operational type threat system or stowage compartments.

83. ZILS required for Mission D6 is presumably the same as the ZIL-131 vehicles listed in the Pre-Deployment document and required for Mission A7, B6, C1, C2, C4, and D6. Please verify or clarify.

Answer: The ZILs in question are indeed Zil-131s. TSMO has several variants of this vehicle utilized for Scud operations as well as a troop transport version. They are pre-positioned in multiple TSMO locations. All Scud TEL support versions are located at Tonopah Test Range, NV.

Radar at the TTR 

BAE Systems Technical Services bid a contract for radar maintenance and field support. This portion of the contract dealt with the TTR:

AN/MPS-25 and AN/MPS-36 are C-Band Single Object Tracking Radar

MR 710 is Russian shipboard air search radar

See item 7 in the diagram on this page http://www.okretywojenne.mil.pl/sovremenny.html 

RIR 778C Range Instrument Radar http://www.scsc.navy.mil/slibrary/SinglePagePG.pdf  (really not worth the download)

WF-100 probably weather radar

SA-3107 SA-3105/K334 unknown

EMP 51290 possibly hardware from Level 3 Communications EMP Systems, which makes threat emitters and airborne telemetry 


ICAO for the Tonopah Test Range: TNX and XSD, plus TKM for good measure

The proper ICAOcode for the Tonopah Test Range is TNX.  At  least that is what shows up on flight plans. [Groom Lake often uses the same ICAO code of TNX, though you can tell which base is correct given on the rest of the flight plane.  Flights to the TTR will approach from the north, using the civilian Tonopah airport with ICAO code TPH.  Occasionally Groom Lake uses the code TKM instead of TNX.] Some databases use the code XSD for the Tonopah Test Range. There are two documentable reasons for this. One, a NDB (non-directional beacon) XSD was installed just outside the border of the base, where SD probably stands for Sandia.  This NDB is no longer licensed nor appears on current aircraft sectional charts, but it is still operable. 

Tonopah Test Rage XSD beacon (278kHz) and sectional chart indicating the location

The other reason for using XSD as the ICAO has to do with the DOD nomenclature of ATI (Air Terminal Identifier). Most of the time, the ATI and ICAO are the same, other than the prefix "K" that is used with US ICAOs, i.e. TKM  should really be KTKM.  Here is the official entry for the Tonopah Test Range:

XSD KTNX TONOPAH TEST RANGE TONOPAH US NV

(Documentation was on a Wright Patterson website.)



This FAA documentation links TNX and TKM as follows, indicating TKM is a Tie-In Facility to TNX.

Location/Facility/Hours

Ident

Tie-In Fac

Cntr

TONOPAH, NV,




    TONOPAH ARPT

TPH

RNO

ZLC

    TONOPAH FLTWO

TPH

HHR


    TONOPAH FLTWO

TPH

CDC


    TONOPAH RCO

TPH

RNO


    TONOPAH TEST RANGE ARPT

TNX

RNO

ZLA

    TONOPAH TEST RANGE BASE OPS

TNX

TNX

ZLA

    TONOPAH TEST RANGE BASE OPS

TNX

TKM

ZLA

    TONOPAH VORTAC

TPH

RNO


ZLC and ZLA represent Salt Lake Center and LA Center air traffic control centers.
RNO is the Reno NOTAM facility.
FLTWO = Flight Watch Office
TPH is the civilian Tonopah airtport, included here just because you might find it doing your own search.

This Las Vegas Review Journal article is the most recent public announcement of a missile test at the Tonopah Test Range. 

Open hangar doors and unidentified objects

This open hangar was shot late in the morning in August 2004. These vehicles don't resemble the scud launchers in the photo above. Beyond that, who knows...


More mystery stuff (Oct 2004)

 


This odd looking composite photo consists of an unidentified airplane in the left upper corner and a  C130 for size comparison in the right upper corner. The C130 was scaled by about 9% to compensate for the difference in distance. The ratio of the pixels, 62/212, times the wingspan of the C130, 132ft, yields a width of the unknown object around 38ft. Of course, this is assuming the UID is even an airplane (tailless of course). 

This photo contained the UID highlighted.

This next photo is to give some evidence that the other plane is a C130. On the left is the real thing, and on the right is a virtual reality version of the C130 in roughly the same position.


MI-24 Hind

EXHIBIT F      
Aircraft Serial No. Present Location Flyable
Mi-24 91-32472 Tonopah Yes

The MI-24 is flown during Red Flag training. Apparently it is stored at the TTR. This serial number doesn't seem to be in the USAF database.


From the November 2002 newsletter of  "Research Analysis and Maintenance, Inc."  :
Our Aviation Division has upgraded the Mi-24 and Mi-17 helicopter fleet to allow both types of aircraft to carry actual threat infrared (IR) air-to-air live missile seekers instrumented for use in air-to-air combat exercises. This provides a significant upgrade to TSMO’s capability to support aviation customers in an air-to-air role.

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/ac/row/mi-24.htm 

Photographs of the Mi-24 Hind at the Tonopah Test range can be found here.


foreign aircraft serial numbers, some at Tonopah

The VZ-10/11 are Long-EZ's that can be outfitted to simulate UAVs.


Northrop Grumman - Motor Vehicle Mechanic - Mechanical Technician 1 Las Vegas - NV - USA

Defining the future. Join the men and women of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems in meeting the largest, most complex systems challenges imaginable for government, military and business.The candidate selected for the Mechanical Technician position will support the Threat Systems Management Office (TSMO), Albuquerque Operations at Tonopah Test Range, Nevada.Repairs, rebuilds, or overhauls major assemblies of internal combustion trucks and semi-tractors os US and foreign manufacturers. Work involves most of the following: Diagnosing the source of trouble and determining the extent of repairs required; replacing worn or broken parts such as piston rings, bearings, or other engine parts; adjusting valves; rebuilding carburetors; overhauling transmissions; and repairing fuel injection, lighting, and ignition systems. In general, the work of the Motor Vehicle Mechanic requires rounded training and experience usually acquired through a formal apprenticeship or equivalent training and experience.Experience in the following areas is required: - Must have a minimum of 3 years experience in the development, assembly, integration, test, or operation of engineering equipment and systems. - Should have experience maintaining and operating heavy equipment, specifically heavy haul vehicles. - Must be physically able to climb, walk, and work on and around large, exotic, multipurpose vehicles. - Must populate and maintain a comprehensive maintenance plan and update records in an automated database. - Should be familiar with Microsoft Windows operating system and Microsoft Office applications. - Must be eligible to obtain a Secret Clearance - active Secret clearance desirable.Experience in the following areas is an asset: - Experience with large foreign equipment, particularly Russian-built or powered vehicles preferred. - Experience maintaining U.S. Military tactical vehicles (i.e. HMMWVs, CUCVs, and 2 1/2-ton trucks). - Previous military or DoD civilian experience. - Expertise with Turbo-charged Fuel Injection a plus.An Equal Opportunity Employer, M/F/D/V Security Clearance Required.


Radio facility to the south of S4 

(night shot obviously)

Really grainy photo of the facility (to be replaced by a better one)


This is a small radar site on the west side of the base. The dish was not rotating at time the photo was taken.


Brainwash Butte

The observation point where you can see more of the base is known for some reason as Brainwash Butte. To get to the area shown in this photo, you will need to drive about 25 miles over pretty good dirt roads. A 4WD isn't needed, but as always, you are on your own if you get in trouble this far from the main road. [Directions to the area is discussed below on this page.] It is a relatively easy walk up the hill, though the camera makes it look a bit easier than reality.  The shrub on the left of the trail is known as "GW"; use it appropriately. Follow the trail up to the first plateau, turn right and head up the next hill, then take a left along the top of the hill to see the base. The GPS coordinates where this trail starts are N37 54 20.1 W116 33 23.2. While driving along the main road, this trail is easy to miss. You can see that more than a few 4WD vehicles have gone up this hill, but I wouldn't suggest it. The rocks look kind of nasty. Further, security will notice a SUV on top of this hill. If you insist on driving up the hill, stop at the first plateau, so at least your truck won't show up on the radar screen. Note that while you are on top of the hill, the numerous planes flying overhead can certainly fink you out. So if security doesn't want you on this hill, I suppose they could make a trip and ask you to leave. The hill is public land, so I doubt this is likely.


A few planes seen at the TTR

So can you see any planes from Brainwash Butte? Sure! Here is a B1 bomber that did come cruising in the area, but never landed. I got plenty of photos, but never caught any markings. There are generally 3 B1's at Nellis, though none are based there.

Thanks to "Secret Jet" for identifying this F16 as one from Luke AFB. Many planes from the TTR fly around Brainwash Butte and over the hill to the Cedar Pass area for "flag" events.



This F16 was flying over Site-4 in June 2007.

f16

A rather strange three level exercise was run over Site-4. At the lowest level, C130s were circling. One level up, a B52 was flying loops. Up another level, two unidentified planes were looping.

C-130 over Site-4 (tonopah test range)

C130 over Site-4 (Tonopah Test Range)

C-130 over Site-4 (Tonopah Test Range)


B-52 

B-52

Two unidentified planes flying in close formation, or perhaps one plane is flying chase.

two unidentified planes

two unidentified planes over Site-4 (Tonopah Test Range)




Map to Brainwash Butte

You can click here for a map leading to the Tonopah Test Range. The map was made from a "trail" generated by a GPS. Most of the waypoints are from a CDROM, but a few, such as where the trail ends, was taken at the site.

The point labeled "airwatch" is not an exact coordinate. I noticed that many planes fly over this position on the way to the Cedar Pass area. If you have more that one person in your "observation" party, it may be interesting to have one person park here and take photos while the other hangs out on the "butte". You may get some interesting head on shots at the "airwatch" point. 

The point labled "wickeddip" is just that, a really wicked dip. This is not Groom Road you are cruising. Drive slowly (25mph) unless you want to leave your suspension behind.

A 3D map of the area can be found here. This map shows pretty clearly just how far from the TTR sign that you have to drive to reach the road to Silverbow. 


More links to information on the Tonopah Test Range:

http://www.f-117a.com/Tonopah.html  Nice site for the F117 in general, and the TTR in particular since there is one photo taken on the base. Commercial free too.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/facility/tonapah.htm

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/tonopah.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonopah_Test_Range

http://members.aol.com/thedogss/area51/ttr.html  

BVM Sighting

You always read about those Blessed Virgin Mary sighting on walls, taco shells, etc, but I found her on top of Brainwash Butte! Quick, call the National Enquirer.


Warning: Geeky stuff follows (yes, even more geeky than what you just read)

There is a telemetry signal of sorts on 411.2MHz that originates somewhere near the TTR. The following image is a snippet of this bandpass filtered at 1200Hz (top) and 2180Hz (bottom). This is to emulate mark/space filters. Probably the signal is a bit more complex than CPFSK. You can hear the signal in PCM here. {It's in PCM should anyone want to fiddle with it beyond my simple hacking.] The signal goes off periodically, maybe every 15 minutes, though I didn't time the interval.


USAF Annex and Sandia housing  in Tonopah

The  photo on the left is of the old USAF Annex in Tonopah,  part of the SAGE radar. The facility is located as the base of Brock Mountain.  Most buildings have been converted to federal or state use. A few buildings may still be retained by the USAF, as is indicated by the late model military security truck (right photo).

 

 

The Sandia housing in Tonopah shown in both 1965 and at present (2004). 

View from Brock Mountain.


Dyncorp

Dyncorp is into everything from environmental cleanup to spraying poppy plants in Afghanistan. I'll leave it up to the reader to guess what they are doing in Tonopah. There is considerable information on the net that Dyncorp maintains the water supply at the Tonopah Test Range. The flatbed trunks are used to move "threats" around during Red Flag and Weapons School exercises.

Note that CSC has Dyncorp for sale.


Washington Group International 

Government Technical Services Division

EPD is part of the Government Technical Services Division (GTSD), which also offers operations, maintenance, and other support services to government facilities across the country.

Tonopah Test Range.  GTSD currently provides maintenance, operations, and test support to Sandia National Laboratories at the DOE's Tonopah Test Range, located 150 air miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada, within the boundaries of the Nellis Bombing and Gunnery Range.  Our staff maintains facilities, equipment, and infrastructure throughout the 280-square mile site.  We also supports weapons testing projects conducted by the DOE and DoD.  Our activities include downhole recovery of test articles that penetrate the dry lakebed, equipment staging, test site prep, target construction, setup of mobile data acquisition systems, and operation of cameras and telescopes.


Nike Launch at the TTR:


From "A Brief History of High-Energy Astronomy: 1965 - 1969":

7 Sep 1967 First reported detection of the Earth's X-ray airglow by two proportional counters flown on a Nike-Tomahawk rocket from Tonopah, Nevada. The team from Lawrence Livermore Lab were conducting a daytime flight to detect X-rays from Sco X-1 and the Crab Nebula when their experiment recorded a high count rate which peaked at an altitude of 130 km. Three weeks later, a flight with similar detectors flown at night detected no such emission. The researchers correctly interpreted this anomalous emission as fluorescent emission from nitrogen and oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere which had been excited by solar X-ray emission: see Grader et al. 1968, JGR, 73, 7149 for more details about this discovery.


NAVY INSTALLATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH THE NAVY’S COLD WAR GUIDED MISSILE PROGRAM

NAVAL WEAPONS EVALUATION FACILITY (NWEF)
KIRTIAND AIR FORCE BASE
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
PERIOD OF SIGNIFICANCE: 1948-l 993
RELEVANT THEMES:
Research and Development

The Naval Weapons Evaluation Facility (NWEF), established in 1948, is a tenant activity
at the Kirtland Air Force Base.4’ The Navy facility occupies approximately seven acres of the Air
Force base and contains laboratories, administrative offices, and hangar space. The primary
mission of NWEF focused on the evaluation, safety, and. development of nuclear weapons in
conjunction with the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). The facility’s initial goal was to provide
naval aircraft with nuclear weapon capability. This goal, was expanded to encompass air, surface,
and subsurface-launched nuclear weapons, including Polaris, Poseidon, and Trident submarinelaunched
ballistic missile systems. NWEF also conducted studies on the nuclear versions of
surface-launched weapons, including Talos and Terrier.

In 1963, NWEF was placed in charge of the Navy’s Nuclear Weapons Safety Program, and
conducted extensive studies of nuclear weapon vulnerability. These results were used to establish
safety standards and handling procedures for the Fleet.

Test activities on the missile systems were carried out at various Navy and military-owned
installations, including China Lake, CA; White Sands Missile Range, NM; and Tonopah Range, in
central Nevada. The Tonopah missile range was used to conduct studies of high-speed aircraft
and ballistic-vehicle trajectory.

In 1992, severe cutbacks in the U.S. defense budget, combined with the consolidation of
miscellaneous naval activities, resulted in the creation of a multi-site Naval Air Warfare Center
Weapons Division (NAWCWPNS).


Range 74 Weather Station


The information from this weather station can be heard on 118.2750MHz. 

ID: KBJN
NAME: Las Vegas, Tonopah Range #74 Nellis AFB
LATITUDE: 37.61722
LONGITUDE: -116.26417
ELEVATION: 5761 ft
MNET: NWS/FAA

It is also available on the internet:
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/cnrfc/getObs.php?sid=KBJN&num=48
http://www.met.utah.edu/cgi-bin/roman/meso_table_mesowest.cgi?stn=KBJN&unit=0&time=LOCAL
http://www.met.utah.edu/cgi-bin/roman/time_mesowest.cgi?stn=KBJN&unit=1&time=GMT
http://www.weatherforyou.com/weather/KBJN.html

FCC Licenses

SEVERSON COMPANY INC
Calsign: WNYW746
151.895MHz
This frequency can be used over a 40km radius around N37 51 54.8 W116 42 16.2. The center is about 7 miles northeast of the TTR. It is 1.5 miles inside the restricted range.
Sierra Pacific Power; Sandia Substation
Callsign WNKV914
173.2875MHz
N37 53 08.8  W116 46 42.2
Acme Mapper

Lockheed Martin Corporation
Callsign WQGU581
1441.5 1453.0 1465.5 1477.5 1489.5 1501.5 MHz
The frequency can be used over a  radius of 322kM around N37 46 46.0  W116 46 54.0. The waypoint is at the south end of the TTR runway. The radius extended as far as interstate 80 to the north, Barstow to the south, nearly to Modesto to the west, and Cedar City to the east.  The power is very low (20W), so presumably these signals go to a nearby ground station or chase plane.


Seriously off topic, this is a photo of the moon taken near the Tonopah Test Range. (Click for larger image)