MSQ-T43 Threat Simulator near Cedar Gate


In 6/2001, while looking for construction for the new Cedar air field (see link below), we noticed some new equipment about 1.2 miles north of Cedar Gate near the fence inside the boundary. The equipment is shown in the photos below. It turns out to be a mobile radar site with "Smokey SAM" launchers. Smokey SAMs are practice surface-to-air missiles used in the air exercises around the Nellis Ranges. This new radar/SAM site is a threat simulator for Red Flag exercises, in particular for the new airfield, which will be located nearby.

It turns out to be a MSQ-T43 Version 1 threat simulator, a brand-new system being tested in the ranges. From an official document: The MSQ-T43 is an electronic warfare threat simulator used by combat ranges to train aircrews on how to effectively engage or defend against enemy surface-to-air threats. The T43 Version 1 provides signals that emulate the SA-6 (Straight Flush and Gainful); the newer T43 Version 4 provides signals that emulate the SA-8 (Landroll and Gecko).


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The control trailer for the new MSQ-T43 site near the Cedar Gate fence. This photo was taken in September 2001. Since June, when the photo below was taken, a second trailer has been added, which features a large antenna.
The trailer on the left is an explosives storage unit for "Smokey SAM" surface to air practice missiles. We found lots of burned out Smokey SAMs in that area. Thanks to Keith Watkins for identifying the triangular explosives markings.


Closer look at some of the equipment. There are two mobile generator units and a fuel tank on the right, a group of several large electric switch boxes in the center and an air-conditioned trailer that houses the controls on the left. Notice the heavy duty cables from the generators to the switch boxes. Photo taken in June 2001.


The actual MSQ-T43 radar unit. Massive motors can move it in two directions. It is not designed as a rotating search radar, but rather as a targeting radar that points in the assumed direction of the approaching aircraft. The round cylinder on top is an optical target tracking system.


These are the launchers for the Smokey SAMs. One is sticking up on the pole in the foreground.


The sign on the access road says: "WARNING. RF RADIATION HAZARD. A RF radiation hazard to personnel exists. Check with operating personnel before proceeding BEYOND THIS POINT."


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