Radar Branch operates eleven instrumentation tracking radars throughout the range. Two phased AN/MPS-39 Multiple Object Tracking Radars and ten AN/FPS-16 radars form the basic radar instrumentation network. These are supplanted by a special purpose CW Doppler radar.
The AN/MPS-39 Multiple Object Tracking Radars are White Sands Missile Range´s most modern instrumentation radars. WSMR operates two MOTR systems. They are phased array radars, each capable of simultaneously tracking up to 40 objects within a scan volume of 60 degrees by 60 degrees.
Each MOTR phased array antenna is mounted on an azimuth over elevation pedestal so that full hemispheric coverage is possible. The precision of the radar is 0.2 mils (approximately 0.2 milliradians) in angles and 1.5 yards in range. The peak power of the radar is one-megawatt, but a mix of six different waveforms provides for a total average transmitted power of 5000 watts, the highest of any of the WSMR radars. The MOTR is capable of tracking a six-inch sphere to a range in excess of 120 km.
WSMR also operates up to ten AN/FPS-16 instrumentation tracking radars. The FPS-16 is a pulsed radar that operates at C-Band frequencies between 5.4 and 5.9 GHz. It is capable of tracking a single target as small as a six inch sphere with a precision of better than 3 yards to a distance of almost 100 kilometers. The radar can track in two modes: echo, where the radar locks onto the reflected energy from a target, and transponder mode, where an active on-board device is used for the tracking signal. Normally, the FPS-16 requires a crew of three to four technicians.
The Continuous Wave CW Doppler Radar is a special purpose radar designed to record the Doppler Signature of a target. It is used primarily for measuring the exit velocity of ground launched missiles and muzzle velocity of direct fire weapons.
WSMR operates two C-band Radar Transponder shops. One is located at WSMR main post and the other is at HAFB. The transponder test facility provides and effectuates all transponder support on White Sands Missile Range, both on and off range, as to ensure positive, reliable, repeatable target tracking necessary to meet Missile Flight Safety and customer requirements.