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Empire Air Force Station is a former United States Air Force Aerospace Defense Command (ADC) long range radar site located about a mile south of Empire, Michigan.

The radar site was operated by the 752nd Aircraft Control and Warning (AC&W) squadron, starting in late 1951. The unit operated and maintained an AN/CPS-6B radar at this site. In 1958 this radar was replaced by an AN/FPS-6. A second height-finder radar arrived a year later.

In 1960 Empire site began operating an AN/FPS-7 radar, and joined the SAGE system. One of the AN/FPS-6 height-finder radars was supplanted by an AN/FPS-26A in 1963.

In 1964 Empire site became an ADC/FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) Joint Surveillance System (JSS) site.

The 752nd Radar Squadron (SAGE) was deactivated in April 1978, and the AN/FPS-26A height-finder was decommissioned in this time frame. The FAA assumed control of the radar operations area except for the AN/FPS-6 height-finder radar (now modified to the AN/FPS-116 variant). The National Park Service assumed control of the rest of the property.

Circa 1980 or 1981, the AN/FPS-7 search radar was replaced by an FAA model ARSR-3 search radar. The AN/FPS-116 height-finder radar was removed circa 1988. The ARSR-3 was replaced by an ARSR-4 in the late 1990’s.

Many of the veterans of this site still reside in the area and in Traverse City, Michigan, approximately 26 miles east of Empire. The museum in Empire has a full history of the air station, including a historical marker and the original rock marker for the Dining Hall on display. Reunions are held annually for the veterans of Empire AFS.


External links

Coordinates: 44°48′07″N 86°03′05″W / 44.801944°N 86.051389°W / 44.801944; -86.051389



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