Radar Sites near Cedar Gate

There are quite a few radar sites and ground threats in the area south and west of Cedar Gate Road, as well as mobile radar sites around the gate itself. As it turns out these sites are mostly Russian models. They are part of a training range with threat simulators for pilots during Red Flag and other exercises. They are also used to test new stealth developments that operate out of Area 51 or in a later stage out of TTR. The location, between Area 51 and TTR and almost in a straight line with the north end of the Groom runways, in an uninhabited valley, makes this an ideal spot for such tests. There are similar mobile sites near the Area 51 North Gate (see link below). During Red Flag and also during Area 51 night missions the red and blue warning lights that indicate that the sites are active are easy to spot.

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A Russian Fan Song radar site for Fire Control and Target Tracking. It can track up to six targets simultaneously at a range of 60-120km. Its typical use is in connection with an SA-2 SAM site and a SPOON REST target acquisition radar. Photo by Hank Shaw, with friendly permission.

This one is a Russian "PRV-11 SIDE NET" height finding radar, similar to the one at the Area 51 North Gate. It was designed for use with the Russian "S-200 SA-5 GAMMON", which is a medium to high altitude surface-to-air missile system. It is also used with the SA-2/3 SAM. It has a range of 28 km and a max. altitude of 32 km. The radar operates in the E-band.
The red and blue warning lights on top of the ramp indicate when the site is active. Thanks to our reader Bryan Coish for identifying the system.

A new addition to the Cedar Gate radar collection, seen in February 2004. Looks like a AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder or similar model.

More radar sites in the vicinity of Cedar Gate, photographed in September 2001. Both are located in the northern Kawich Valley, southeast of Cedar Gate.
A Soviet "SA-6 GAINFUL" SAM site with a "STRAIGHT FLUSH" radar. The site provides medium-range air defense against low- and medium- altitude aircraft. The radar has a detection range of 60-90 km at an altitude of up to 10 km. It operates in the G and H bands.
References like "SA-6 active" can often be heard during Red Flag from pilots warning others of the simulated threat.
A Soviet 36D6 "Tin Shield" (ST-68) 3D S-band target search and acquisition radar. According to FAS the range is 200km. The system was used in former East Germany, which is a possible source for this particular unit. Thanks to our reader Per Nyström for identifying the system.

High resolution photo or the SA-6 site (left) and the "Tin Shield" radar site taken 07/24/2021 by a photographer who wishes to remain anonymous.

Threat simulator including a Russian 9K33 Osa (NATO name SA-8 Gecko) surface-to-air missile launcher near Cedar Gate. Photo taken 07/24/2021 by a photographer who wishes to remain anonymous.

Another threat simulator site near Cedar Gate. Photo taken 07/24/2021 by a photographer who wishes to remain anonymous.

Tower near the threat simulators above. It looks like there is some weather station equipment on top, but given the size and massive build of the tower we can assume that it serves or served another purpose as well. Photo taken 07/24/2021 by a photographer who wishes to remain anonymous.

The site above is located on Ragged Ridge, about 4 miles southeast of Cedar Pipeline Ranch just inside the perimeter. Photo taken 07/23/2021. Click in the image to zoom in. For more information about this site please see our Ragged Ridge Radio Site page.

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