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Eastern Air Defense Sector
Eastern Air Defense Sector emblem.jpg
Eastern Air Defense Sector Emblem
Active 1956—1966, 1987—present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Air Defense

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award

Air Force Organizational Excellence Award

EADS Region shown in NORAD Region/Sector Configuration

The Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) is a United States Air Force unit and a component of the New York Air National Guard. It is stationed at the former Griffiss Air Force Base in Rome, New York.



Battle Control System – Fixed (BCS-F) display, used at the EADS Sector Operations Control Center (SOCC) at Rome, New York.

The Eastern Air Defense Sector is one of two Sectors responsible to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the Continental NORAD Region for peacetime air sovereignty, strategic air defense, and airborne counter-drug operations in the continental United States. The other sector is the Western Air Defense Sector (WADS).

It operates a Sector Operations Control Center (SOCC) at Rome, New York, as part of the Joint Surveillance System (JSS) which had replaced SAGE in 1983. This system enjoins state-of-the-art air defense systems and cutting-edge computer technology to significantly increase surveillance and identification capabilities, and better protect the nation's airways from intrusion and attack. It relies on digitized radar inputs from Air Route Surveillance Radar (ARSR) sites jointly operated by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Air Force, and Tethered Aerostat Radar System balloons. It is fully integrated with the E-3A Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) system and the Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (E-8 Joint STARS).

The SOCC employs 27 NORAD contingency suites, and 50 Battle Control System-Fixed (BCS-F) displays. A next-generation air sovereignty system, BCS-F fuses data from airborne, ground and naval elements and civil air traffic sensors into an integrated air picture. This allows commanders to surveil and monitor the airspace above, beyond and within U.S. and Canadian borders, providing a major component for homeland defense.

It also incorporates a newly-developed situational awareness system that gives EADS unprecedented tools and technology to assist state and local responders in dealing with natural disasters. It has the redundant capability to cover the WADS if the call arises.

EADS is a New York Air National Guard unit which reports directly to First Air Force (Air Forces Northern) at Tyndall AFB, Florida. The Sector reports to Air Combat Command (ACC) and to NORAD headquarters, in Colorado Springs, Colorado in its federal role. NORAD is a bi-national United States and Canadian organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America.

Other NORAD air defense organizations include the Western Air Defense Sector (WADS), the Hawaii Region Air Operations Center (HIRAOC), the Alaska Region Air Operations Center (AKRAOC) and the Canada Air Defense Sector (CADS).[1]


The Sector’s primary mission is Guarding America’s Skies. This 24/7 guardian role involves the use of radar and communications systems to monitor air traffic from the Mississippi River east to the Atlantic Ocean, and from the Canadian border south to the Gulf of Mexico.

The EADS air sovereignty and executes counter-air operations over the eastern United States. Directs the employment of 178 sensors, 8 fighter alert locations, AWACS aircraft, a Battle Control Center (BCC), and joint air defense artillery assets to defend one million square miles, 16 major cities, and adjacent seas. Supports NORAD's Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment, NORTHCOM Homeland Defense Mission. It works closely with other federal agencies including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Secret Service and U.S. Customs Service as well as its sister military services – the U.S. Navy, U.S. Army and U.S. Coast Guard.

As part of the New York Air National Guard, EADS reports to the Governor through the New York National Guard offices when directed by state authorities. It provides protection of life and property, and preserves peace, order and public safety. State missions, which are funded by the state, include disaster relief in times of earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and forest fires; search and rescue; protection of vital public services; and support to civil defense.


Air National Guard units aligned under 1AF (AFNORTH) with an air defense mission under EADS are:


539th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron Convair F-106A-64-CO Delta Darts McGuire AFB, New Jersey October 1959

332d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron North American F-86D-45-NA Sabre 52-3901, 4709th Air Defense Wing, McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 1956

Emblem of the historical New York/Northeast Air Defense Sector

Emblem of the historical Montgomery/Southeast Air Defense Sector

Cold War

The sector's history begins on 1 April 1956 when the 4621st Air Defense Wing was organized.[2] The sector's predecessors, the 4709th Defense Wing (later 4709th Air Defense Wing) and the 52d Fighter-Interceptor Wing had performed the air defense mission at McGuire AFB, New Jersey since 1949.[3]

The wing operated a Manual Air Direction Center (MDC) at Roslyn AFS, New York. It was redesignated as the New York Air Defense Sector (NYADS) on 1 October. The sector's mission was to train and maintain tactical flying units in state of readiness in order to defend Northeast United States while initially continuing to operate the MDC.

The organization was in large part responsible for one of the foundational projects of the computer era: the development of the SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) air defense system, from its first test at Bedford, Massachusetts, in 1951, to the installation of the first unit of the New York Air Defense Sector of the SAGE system, in 1958.

The idea for SAGE grew out of Project Whirlwind, a World War II computer development effort, when the War Department realized that the Whirlwind computer might anchor a continent-wide advance warning system.[4] Developed during the 1950s by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lincoln Laboratories engineers and scientists for the U.S. Air Force, SAGE monitored North American skies for possible attack by manned aircraft and missiles for twenty-five years. Aside from its strategic importance, SAGE set the foundation for mass data-processing systems and foreshadowed many computer developments of the 1960s. The heart of the system, the IBM AN/FSQ-7 computer, was the first computer to have an internal memory composed of "magnetic cores," thousands of tiny ferrite rings that served as reversible electromagnets. SAGE also introduced computer-driven graphic displays, online keyboard terminals, time sharing, high-availability computation with a redundant AN/FSQ-7 to fail over if the primary system went down, digital signal processing, digital transmission over leased telephone lines, digital track-while-scan, digital simulation, computer networking, and duplex computing.

The SAGE Direction Center DC-01 40°01′51″N 074°34′32″W / 40.03083°N 74.57556°W / 40.03083; -74.57556 (NYADS-SAGE DC-01) was activated on 1 July 1958, the first sector to achieve this status. In a ceremony marking this achievement, General Curtis E. LeMay was the guest speaker. He described SAGE as, "A system centralizing many air defense functions, minimizing manual tasks and allowing electronic devices to perform hundreds of complex computations accurately and simultaneously to improve air defense capability."

On 1 April 1966, the NYADS was inactivated, as were the other 22 sectors in the country. The SAGE system remained active until replaced in 1983 by newer technology Joint Surveillance System (JSS). The 3-story DC-01 SAGE building, with reinforced 3' concrete walls and roof now hosts the Headquarters, 21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Force, Air Mobility Command at McGuire AFB.

Modern era

On 1 July 1987, four of the previous ADCOM Air Defense sectors were reactivated, redesignated, assigned and colocated with the four remaining air divisions.

  • The Montgomery Air Defense Sector (MOADS) became the Southeast Air Defense Sector or SEADS; assigned to 23d Air Division
  • The Los Angeles Air Defense Sector (LAADS) became the Southwest Air Defense Sector or SWADS; assigned to 26th Air Division
  • The Seattle Air Defense Sector (SEADS) became the Northwest Air Defense Sector or NWADS; assigned to 25th Air Division
  • The New York Air Defense Sector (NYADS) became the Northeast Air Defense Sector NEADS; assigned to 24th Air Division

The ADTAC Air Divisions were inactivated.

The Air Defense Sectors were reassigned to the Air National Guard. All reported to First Air Force.

On 1 November 2005, the NEADS and SEADS consolidated, giving the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) the responsibility of providing detection and air defense for the entire eastern half of the United States. NEADS was officially redesignated the Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) on 15 July 2009.

The Continental NORAD Region (CONR) has responsibility for the Western Air Defense Sector and Eastern Air Defense Sector. It is headquartered at Tyndall AFB, Florida.


Wisconsin ANG 115th Fighter Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard over Wisconsin's capital city of Madison

F-16A 'Vipers' of the South Carolina ANG's 169th TFG, 1989

  • Designated and organized as 4621st Air Defense Wing, SAGE, 1 April 1956
Redesignated as the New York Air Defense Sector on 1 October 1956
Discontinued and inactivated on 1 April 1966
  • Redesignated as Northeast Air Defense Sector and activated on 1 July 1987
Redesignated as Northeast Air Defense Sector (ANG) on 1 December 1994
Redesignated as Eastern Air Defense Sector on 15 July 2009


  • 26th Air Division, 1 April 1956
Attached to 4709th Air Defense Wing 1 Apr 1956 – 18 October 1956
  • Eastern Air Defense Force, 8 July 1956 – 1 October 1956
  • 26th Air Division, 1 October 1956 – 1 April 1966
  • 24th Air Division, 1 July 1987
  • First Air Force (Later First Air Force (ANG)), 30 September 1990
Attached to First Air Forces Northern (Provisional), 28 February 2006 – 1 November 2007


  • McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 1 April 1956 – 30 September 1968
  • Griffiss AFB, New York, 1 July 1997
Base Closed, location name changed to Rome, New York, 30 September 1995 – present



Suffolk County AFB, New York, 1 July 1963 – 1 April 1966


Suffolk County AFB, New York, 18 October 1956 – 1 July 1963
New Castle County Airport, Delaware, 18 October 1956 – 8 January 1958
Dover AFB, Delaware, 8 February 1957 – 1 July 1958
McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 8 February 1957 – 1 August 1959

Interceptor Squadrons

Dover AFB, Delaware, 1 March 1956 – 8 February 1957
Dover AFB, Delaware, 1 July 1963 – 1 Apr 1966
Dover AFB, Delaware, 1 October 1956 – 8 February 1957; 1 July 1958 – 1 February 1959; 1 July 1961 – 1 July 1963
Suffolk County AFB, New York, 1 July 1963 – 30 September 1968
McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 1 October 1956 – 8 February 1957
McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 1 October 1956 – 8 February 1957; 1 August 1959 – 1 April 1966

Missile Squadrons

Suffolk County AFB, New York, 1 February 1959 – 15 December 1964
McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 1 January 1959 – 1 Apr 1966

Radar Squadrons

Highlands AFS, New Jersey, 18 October 1956 – 1 April 1966
Palermo AFS, New Jersey, 8 June 1957 – 1 October 1961
Montauk AFS, New York, 18 October 1956 – 1 April 1966


Northeastern Air Defense Sector (ANG), 1 June 1998 – 31 May 1999
Northeast Air Defense Sector, 1 July 1987 – 1 April 1989
Northeastern Air Defense Sector (ANG), 1 January 1990 – 1 January 1992
Northeastern Air Defense Sector (ANG), 1 June 1994 – 31 May 1996
Northeastern Air Defense Sector (ANG), 1 January 2001 – 30 April 2002
Northeastern Air Defense Sector (ANG), 31 July 2005 – 31 May 2007

See also


  1. "North American Aerospace Defense Command". US Air Force. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  2. AFHRA Factsheet, Eastern Air Defense Force (accessed 22 January 2012)
  3. Mueller, Robert (1989). Air Force Bases, Vol. I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 414–415. ISBN 0-912799-53-6. 
  4. See generally Redmond, Kent C; Smith, Thomas M (2000). From Whirlwind to MITRE: The R&D Story of The SAGE Air Defense Computer. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-18201-0. 
  5. Ravenstein, Charles A (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947–1977. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 85. ISBN 0-912799-12-9. 
  6. Maurer, Maurer, ed (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 114. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. 
  7. AFHRA Factsheet, 52nd Operations Group (accessed 3 March 2012)
  8. Maurer, Combat Units, p. 148
  9. 9.0 9.1 Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980. Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. p. 89. 
  10. Maurer, Maurer, ed (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 204. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. 
  11. Cornett & Johnson p. 121
  12. Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 327
  13. Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 410
  14. Maurer, Combat Squadrons, P. 646
  15. 15.0 15.1 Factsheet, Eastern Air Defense Force
  16. Cornett & Johnson, p. 156
  17. 17.0 17.1 Cornett & Johnson pp. 166–167


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

External links

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SAGE facilities

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