The 7th Space Warning Squadron (7 SWS), Beale Air Force Base, California, guards the Continental United States, Alaska, and Canada against Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles by detecting both sea-based launches, in-flight missiles and providing mid-course interceptor guidance to eliminate threats. Additionally, the 7 SWS radar tracks and surveils objects in low-earth orbit. The unit is a geographically separated unit of Space Delta 4, Buckley Space Force Base, Colorado.
The mission of the 7 SWS is execute flawless, integrated Missile Warning, Defense and Space Surveillance operations to defend the homeland and our allies.
The vision for the 7 SWS is the premier ground-based RADAR… warfighters at the tactical edge of Missile Warning, Missile Defense, and Space Domain Awareness operations.
EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES
The 7 SWS operates and maintains a $780 million, 10-acre Upgraded Early Warning Radar (UEWR) providing intelligence driven, time critical Integrated Missile Warning, Missile Defense and Space Domain Awareness to CDR USSPACECOM in support of National Leadership situation monitoring and decision making. The 7 SWS phased array radar at Beale AFB is capable of detecting, characterizing and disseminating missile threat information in seconds and is part of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System, providing additional guidance and confirmation of kill for interceptors to destroy enemy missiles. Additionally, the radar is used to detect and track objects in Low Earth Orbit with special emphasis on monitoring and detecting adversary satellite maneuvers and foreign asset custody operations.
The 7 SWS is comprised of military, Royal Canadian Air Force, government civilians and contractors that operate and support its 10 acre radar site. The 7 SWS facility has undergone major upgrades over the past year including a $1.7 million roof overhaul, siding and gantry removal project and new landscaping.
The radar uses nearly 3,600 small active antenna elements coordinated by two computers. One computer is online at all times, while the second automatically takes control if the first fails. The computers control the distribution of energy to the antennas to form precise patterns, allowing the radar to detect objects moving at a very high speed.
The radar can change its point of focus in milliseconds, while conventional radars may take up to a minute to mechanically swing from one area to another. The main building is shaped like a pyramid with a triangular base 105 feet on each side. The two radiating faces are tilted back 20 degrees. The radar beams reach outward in excess of 5,000 kilometers and prove 240-degrees of coverage.
The Air Force finished construction of the PAVE Phased Array Warning System (PAWS) radar site at Beale in October 1979. It attained initial operational capability in August 1980. The unit was originally part of Aerospace Defense Command's 26th Aerospace Division. In December 1979, it became part of Strategic Air Command. In May 1983 the unit transferred to Air Force Space Command, eventually becoming the 7th Missile Warning Squadron (7 MWS). When the Air Force reorganized in 1992, the 21st Space Wing was activated at Peterson AFB, CO. The 7 MWS moved to the 21 SW and was given the current designation as the 7 SWS. In 2007, 7 SWS completed a system upgrade and took on the Missile Defense mission. The radar became known as an Upgraded Early Warning Radar (UEWR). 7 SWS was transferred to United States Space Command in August 2019.
On Dec. 20, 2019, United States Space Force was officially established and 7 SWS became a part of the newest branch of the United States Department of Defense. On July 24, 2020, the 7 SWS was transferred to Space Delta 4, Buckley AFB.