5th CS tackle big project

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Airman 1st Class David Quelland, 5th Communications Squadron radar maintenance journeyman, swithches out a battery on a radar at the end of the flightline Oct. 27. Airman Quelland is switching out the battery as part of an upgrade to the airport surveillance radar system that assists the radar and approach controllers directly responsible for the safe and expeditious movement of air traffic here, Minot International Airport and 10 surrounding satellite airports. When the radar is incorporated into the RAPCON’s air traffic equipment, it allows for real-time tracking and monitoring of all air traffic encompassing 4,800 square miles from Minot up to 23,000 feet.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Boitz)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Airman 1st Class David Quelland, 5th Communications Squadron radar maintenance journeyman, swithches out a battery on a radar at the end of the flightline Oct. 27. Airman Quelland is switching out the battery as part of an upgrade to the airport surveillance radar system that assists the radar and approach controllers directly responsible for the safe and expeditious movement of air traffic here, Minot International Airport and 10 surrounding satellite airports. When the radar is incorporated into the RAPCON’s air traffic equipment, it allows for real-time tracking and monitoring of all air traffic encompassing 4,800 square miles from Minot up to 23,000 feet. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Boitz)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Members of the 5th Communications Squadron recently replaced a 600-pound antenna drive motor assembly and rotary coupler that will ensure safe air traffic control operations at Minot Air Force Base, Minot International Airport and 10 surrounding satellite airports throughout the upcoming winter months. 

Working through the weekend to avoid interruption to the base's flying mission, the 5th CS team, with the assistance of Tobyhanna Army Depot personnel, replaced the entire motor assembly in less than two days and returned the system to full operation. 

"The radar system is the 'eye in the sky' and a vital technological asset to aviation and homeland security," said Staff Sgt. Cory Killian, radar approach control watch supervisor with the 5th Operations Support Squadron. 

The radar, first fielded in the early 1970s, was installed at Minot AFB in 1977 and is the last one remaining in the continental United States. Although past its normal life expectancy, maintainers have consistently exceeded Air Combat Command's operational standard. With it, air traffic controllers maintain surveillance for approximately 24,000 annual sorties within almost 15,000 square miles of airspace. 

Minot AFB is scheduled for a state-of-the-art digital airport surveillance radar upgrade in 2009.
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