The 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale’s host wing, is responsible for providing national and theater command authorities with timely, reliable, high-quality, high-altitude reconnaissance products. To accomplish this mission, the wing is equipped with the nation’s fleet of U-2 and RQ-4 reconnaissance aircraft and associated support equipment. The wing also maintains a high state of readiness in its expeditionary combat support forces for potential deployment in response to theater contingencies.
The wing’s U-2 Dragon Lady aircraft provide high-altitude, all-weather surveillance and reconnaissance, day or night, in direct support of U.S. and allied forces. At any given moment, day or night, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, there is probably a U-2 aircraft from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing flying an operational mission somewhere in the world.
The RQ-4 Global Hawk is an unmanned, remotely piloted, high-altitude reconnaissance platform. It can linger over a target for 24 hours. The RQ-4 provides Air Force and joint battlefield commanders near-real-time, high-resolution intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance imagery.
940TH AIR REFUELING WING
The 940th Air Refueling Wing is an Air Force Reserve tenant unit at Beale AFB. The wing has a long and distinguished history dating back to 1963. Beginning with troop carriers, the mission transitioned to air transport, military airlift, tactical airlift, air refueling, the C2ISR (command, control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) mission and back to air refueling. The wing fulfills this mission with the KC-135 Stratotanker.
The KC-135 Stratotanker provides the core aerial refueling capability for the U.S. Air Force and has excelled in this role for more than 50 years. This unique asset enhances the Air Force’s capability to accomplish its mission of global reach. It provides aerial refueling support to Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and allied nation aircraft. The KC-135 is also capable of transporting litter and ambulatory patients using support pallets during aeromedical evacuations.
548TH INTELLIGENCE, SURVEILLANCE AND RECONNAISSANCE GROUP
The 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group has a proud history dating back to World War II. The group’s mission is to deliver combat power from the air with intelligence that assures allies and wins wars. The group operates and maintains a $1 billion Air Force Distributed Common Ground System weapon system, providing combatant commanders with processing, exploitation and dissemination of actionable intelligence data collected by U-2, MQ-1, MQ-9, RQ-4 and MC-12W aircraft and other platforms as required.
The group is organized into two sections: operations and support. The operational side includes the 13th and 9th intelligence squadrons, which are responsible for the production and exploitation of the tangible intelligence. The 48th Intelligence Squadron provides maintenance and sustainment of in-garrison and deployed segments of the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System weapon system.
7TH SPACE WARNING SQUADRON
The 7th Space Warning Squadron guards the U.S. west coast against sea-launched ballistic missiles. The unit is a geographically separated unit of the 21st Space Wing at Peterson AFB, Colorado.
The squadron is primarily responsible for detecting sea-launched ballistic missiles fired from submarines in the Pacific Ocean. The unit then determines how many missiles were launched and their probable destination, and reports that to the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s missile warning center, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station; U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt AFB; and national command authorities. This unit helps form a two-layered, worldwide network of missile warning systems that also detects intercontinental ballistic missiles launched toward North America.
The squadron’s corollary mission of missile defense supports the ground-based midcourse defense element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System. In addition, the squadron helps track earth-orbiting satellites, and reports the information to the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg AFB, California.
The squadron uses a Phased Array Warning System radar, known as PAVE PAWS. It uses nearly 3,600 small active antenna elements coordinated by two computers. One computer is online at all times, while the second automatically takes control if the first fails. The computers control the distribution of energy to the antennas to form precise patterns, allowing the radar to detect objects moving at a very high speed since no mechanical parts limit the radar sweep.
The radar can change its point of focus in milliseconds, while conventional radars may take up to a minute to mechanically swing from one area to another. The main building is shaped like a pyramid with a triangular base 105 feet on each side. The two radiating faces are tilted back 20 degrees. PAVE PAWS radar beams reach outward for nearly 3,000 nautical miles in a 240-degree sweep. At its extreme range, it can detect an object the size of a small car. Smaller objects can be detected at closer range.
713TH COMBAT OPERATIONS SQUADRON
As part of 10th Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, the 713th Combat Operations Squadron is a geographically separated unit assigned to the 610th Air Operations Group, March Air Reserve Base, California. The unit is split between two locations: the 713th Combat Operations Squadron at Beale AFB and its subordinate unit, the 713th Combat Operations Squadron Detachment 1 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.
The mission of the 713th Combat Operations Squadron is to provide steady state, contingency and wartime augmentation to the Air Force forces staff of Headquarters Pacific Air Forces through direct augmentation, reach-back capability and the ability to deploy throughout the Pacific theater. The squadron delivers
mission-essential, operational-level command and control capability and continuity across the entire spectrum of military operations from humanitarian assistance to combat operations. The squadron is the only U.S. Air Force Reserve unit designated to support the Air Force forces staff mission role.