Starting in 1957 the US Air Force began operating a small fleet of Missile Range Instrumentation Ships to support missile test ranges. They were designated "ORV" for Ocean Range Vessel. They used the ship name prefix "USAF" (e.g.: USAF Coastal Crusader (ORV-16)).
The initial twelve Atlantic Missile Range ships were modified World War II cargo vessels. Six were FS-type ships and six were C1-M-AV-1 vessels. All were equipped with telemetry systems. Two of the C1-M-AV-1 types, Coastal Sentry and Rose Knot, were equipped with command/control transmitters.
The smaller FS types were retired by 1960. In 1964 the US Navy took over operation of the larger C1-M-AV-1 type, and redisgnated them as AGM. The original larger ORV were out of service on the Eastern Test Range by 1969.
The U.S. Air Force does still operate a small fleet of drone recovery vessels nicknamed the "Tyndall Navy". These ships recover pieces of wreckage from drones and aerial targets from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The largest of these vessels are three 120 foot ships operated by the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, which is based at Tyndall AFB, Florida.
US Air Force ship list
- FS Type
- USAF Echo
- USAF Foxtrot
- USAF Golf
- USAF Hotel
- USAF India
- USAF Kilo
- C1-M-AV-1 Type
- VC2-S-AP3 Type
- C4-S-A1 Type
- EC2-S-C1 Type
- "DEVELOPMENT OF THE 45SW EASTERN RANGE". http://www.patrick.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=4516. Retrieved 2007-04-27.
- "USAT PVT. Joe R. Hastings/USAF Coastal Crusader (ORV-16)/AGM-16 / AGS-36 Coastal Crusader". http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/53/5316.htm. Retrieved 2006-08-19.
- EIA - FY2003
- "USS General Harry Taylor (AP-145) / USAT General Harry Taylor / USNS General Harry Taylor (T-AP-145) / USAFS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg / USNS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg (T-AGM-10)". http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/22/22145.htm. Retrieved 2006-04-27.
- "AP-139 / USAT / T-AP-139 General R. E. Callan USAF / T-AGM-9 H. H. Arnold". http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/22/22139.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-27.
- "NavSource: USAS American Mariner/USAFS American Mariner/USNS American Mariner (T-AGM-12)". http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/53/5312.htm. Retrieved 2007-04-27.
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