Cudjoe Key Air Force Station (earlier Cudjoe Key Missile Tracking Annex, Eglin AFB Site "No D 8") is a Formerly Used Defense Site of 68.5 acres (27.7 ha) in Monroe County, Florida, 7 mi (11 km) Northeast of Perky, Florida.
In February 1959, the county commissioned approved a water line to the "missile tracking site on Cudjoe Key" being built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Activated on 16 Jun 1959 by the Army, the site was "to track missiles traveling over the Eglin Gulf Test Range. The Air Force assumed operations in 1960" (the initial site code J-08 was changed to Z-399 in 1963.)
On 30 June 1967, the station transferred from the jurisdiction of Eglin AFB to Goodfellow AFB after beginning a May 1967 classified mission for the USAF Security Service. On 30 September 1970 the military installation transferred to Tyndall Air Force Base, and in 1973 the first aerostat of the Tethered Aerostat Radar System was deployed at the site.
By 1977 the site had transferred under "the 671st Radar Squadron [at] Homestead" Air Force Base, and the site manager was John Workman in a unit that worked for the Patrick AFB Range Measurements Laboratory. In 1981 the aerostat broke free while being brought down prior to a storm, and it was later shot down by an F-4 Phantom, and the aerostat broke free again in 1989 and 1991. in 2007 a private Cessna crashed into the tethers, killing 3 passengers. In 2013, petition signatures were being gathered to keep the "Fat Albert" Aerostat at the station.
- Mueller, Robert (1989). "Eglin Air Force Base". Air Force Bases (PDF) (Report). Volume I: Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. Office of Air Force History. p. 136. ISBN 0-912799-53-6. Retrieved 2013-08-15.
- "title tbd". February 4, 2009. Retrieved 2014-07-09.
50 YEARS AGO…The Monroe County Commission approved a request by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to lay a water line to the missile tracking site on Cudjoe Key.
- Winkler, David F; Webster, Julie L (June 1997). Searching the Skies: The Legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program (Report). Champaign, IL: U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories. LCCN 97020912. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
The [PAVE PAWS] structure consists of two AN/FPS-115 phased-array radars mounted on a triangular building. … Installed at Laredo AFB in Texas, the first AN/FPS-17 was used to track rockets launched from White Sands, New Mexico.(transcription available at the Federation of American Scientists website)
- Linhardt, Adam (January 23, 2013). "Keys icon deflated in name of progress: Blimp, seen as crime deterrent, has storied past". Retrieved 2014-07-09.
There are actually two TARS blimps at Cudjoe Key, according to the Air Force. Both are low-level surveillance systems. One was formerly used by the State Department to transmit TV Marti, an American television signal, into Cuba. The other blimp is used in counter-drug operations and by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), according to the Air Force.
- Detachment 3: Southeast Air Defense Sector, Cudjoe Key AFS (military designation sign with aerostat in background), Radomes.org, year tbd for webpage image, retrieved 2014-07-09 Check date values in: