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Southwest Air Defense Sector

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Southwest Air Defense Sector
Southwest Air Defense Sector.jpg
Emblem of the Southwest Air Defense Sector
CountryUnited States
BranchUnited States Air Force
RoleAir Defense
Nickname(s)Sierra Pete

The Southwest Air Defense Sector (SWADS) is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with the First Air Force, being stationed at March Air Force Base, California. It was inactivated on 31 December 1994.

Historical map of Los Angeles Air Defense Sector, 1959–1966
Historical map of Los Angeles Air Defense Sector, 1959–1966

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Los Angeles Air Defense Sector

The Los Angeles Air Defense Sector (SAGE) (LAADS) was designated by Air Defense Command in February 1959 while NORAD's July 25, 1958, SAGE Geographic Reorganization Plan was being implemented.[1] Assuming control of former ADC Western Air Defense Force units, the sector's region consisted of ADC atmospheric forces (fighter-interceptor and radar units) located in southern California north to Santa Barbara and the southern Central Valley. The Manual Air Direction Center (MDC) was at Norton AFB, California, until the Air Defense Direction Center (DC-17) was completed in 1959 for the Semi Automatic Ground Environment.

On 1 April 1966, LAADS was inactivated, as did the other 22 sectors in the country. Most of its assets were assumed by the 27th Air Division.

SWADS Region shown in NORAD Region/Sector Configuration, 1987–2005
SWADS Region shown in NORAD Region/Sector Configuration, 1987–2005

Reactivated as the Southwest Air Defense Sector (SWADS) on 1 July 1987 at March AFB, California, in the 26th Air Division; the sector received the 26th AD assets when it became inactive on 30 September 1990. SWADS was responsible for the atmospheric defense of approximately one-fourth of the Continental United States. Its eastern border was at the intersection of the 36th parallel north and 97th meridian west south to the Gulf of Mexico at the 28th parallel north. Its region extended west to include the region south of the 36th parallel north to the Pacific Ocean at the 122nd meridian west. It came under the Continental NORAD Region (CONR) Headquarters at Tyndall AFB, Florida. The Joint Surveillance System Sector Operations Control Center (SOCC) was at March AFB and Air Route Surveillance Radar (ARSR) data from several JSS radar stations and tethered aerostat radar balloons (e.g., Ground Equipment Facility J-31 near Los Angeles).

On 1 January 1995, the SWADS consolidated with the Northwest Air Defense Sector, headquartered at McChord AFB, Washington and the combined command was designated as the Western Air Defense Sector (WADS).


Air National Guard units aligned under 1AF (AFNORTH) formerly with an air defense mission under SWADS were:


  • Established as
    Emblem of the Los Angeles Air Defense Sector.png
    Los Angeles Air Defense Sector on 1 February 1959 by redesignation of 27th Air Division
Inactivated on 1 April 1966; redesignated as 27th Air Division
  • Redesignated as Southwest Air Defense Sector (SWADS) and activated, 1 July 1987
Inactivated on 31 December 1994, assets reassigned to Northwest Air Defense Sector





Oxnard AFB, California, 1 October 1959 – 1 April 1966

Interceptor squadrons

Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, 1 January 1960 – 1 May 1961
George AFB, California, 1 October 1959 – 1 April 1966
Castle AFB, California, 1 August 1963-1 April 1966

Radar squadrons

Ajo AFS, Arizona, 1 January 1960-1 May 1961
Santa Rosa Island AFS, California, 1 October 1959
Lompoc AFS, California, 1 April 1963-1 April 1966
  • 682nd Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
Almaden AFS, California, 1 August 1963
Madera AFS, California, 1 August 1963-1 April 1966
Vincent AFB, Arizona, 1 October 1959-1 May 1961

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  1. ^ 1959 NORAD/CONAD Historical Summary: January–June
  • A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946–1980, by Lloyd H. Cornett and Mildred W. Johnson, Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
  • Winkler, David F. (1997), Searching the skies: the legacy of the United States Cold War defense radar program. Prepared for United States Air Force Headquarters Air Combat Command.}
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  • Los Angeles Air Defense Sector
This page was last edited on 3 July 2019, at 03:53
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