The City of Alamogordo is closely linked to Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range. The two bases represent a combined military civilian annual payroll of more than $200 million and an economic impact of more than $450 million to the local economy.
White Sands Missile Range
White Sands Missile Range, located west of White Sands National Monument 47 miles from Alamogordo, is the premier test range in the world. The Army installation range is committed to testing for government agencies, the Department of Defense and both private entities and foreign countries. The Range covers two million acres (3200 square miles).
The Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), Patriot, Army Tactical Missile System and the Theater High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD) are tested at the range on a regular basis.
Also located on the Range is Trinity Site, where the world’s first atomic bomb was detonated on July 16, 1945. McDonald ranch house, where the plutonium core was assembled, remains at the site. Trinity Site is open for public viewing on the first Saturday in April and the first Saturday in October.
Holloman Air Force Base
Holloman is home to the world’s longest, at 50,188 feet (almost 10 miles/16 km), and fastest, approaching 10,000 feet per second (3,050 m/s, Mach 9), rocket sled test track, officially known as the Holloman High Speed Test Track.
The 49th Wing – host wing at Holloman Air Force Base – supports national security objectives by deploying worldwide to support peacetime and wartime contingencies. The wing provides combat-ready Airmen, and trains General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper pilots (including all Spanish and British Reaper pilots), sensor operators and F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots. Additionally, the wing delivers Air Transportable Clinics and Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources while providing support to more than 17,000 military and civilian personnel. The wing has a proud history of service in World War II, Korea, Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia and NATO-led Operation Allied Force. Holloman AFB supports about 21,000 Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, retirees, DoD civilians and their family members.
The Navy has been part of the test community at White Sands since June 14, 1946, when Naval activity was established to participate in research and testing of captured German V-2 rockets. Today, the mission of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division-White Sands includes land-based test of Naval weapon systems missiles and gun munitions) and launch operations for sub orbital space systems and research rockets.
Navy facilities include the U.S.S. Desert Ship. The Desert Ship serves as a primary live fire test bed for today’s surface-to-air weapons including Standard Missile and Evolved Seasparrow Missile (ESSM). The Desert Ship is continually being upgraded to meet live fire testing requirements. The Desert Ship has tested all versions of Standard Missile (SM) including Tartar, Terrier and Aegis variants of SM-1 and SM-2, Seasparrow, Sealance, and Vertical Launched AntiSubmarine Rocket (VL ASROC). Testing is performed at sites other than the Desert Ship.
The Navy’s Launch Complex 34 (LC34) is the land-based test site for the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM). LC34 is a semi-hardened facility, which can be used in self-defense and close-in engagements. Lot acceptance tests for both U.S. and NATO rounds have been conducted at this site. The Navy’s research rocket program supports a variety of government and commercial firms in the launch and recovery of suborbital payloads. Payloads include Theater Missile Defense countermeasures experiments, advanced technology demonstrations, and targets to support testing of theater missile defense systems. The low cost ballistic target alternative supports requirements where low to medium fidelity is acceptable. Navy’s customers at White Sands receive industrial support from modern shops featuring numerically controlled mill and lathe facilities and extensive field construction capabilities. Industrial shops provide quick response prototyping and manufacture of specialized fixtures and other devices to support customer needs. Navy launch facilities, sites and support equipment are also maintained and enhanced by Facility Engineering. Engineering has an electrical/electronic crane, heavy-duty equipment, and mobile heating and air conditioning capabilities. As a part of customer service, specialists assist in preparation of environmental documentation and in the handling of hazardous waste.
The Navy at White Sands has a proud tradition of low-cost, high-quality support of its customers. In an era of defense consolidation and downsizing, the Navy finds the means to continue to provide and to improve the quality, cost and responsiveness of its products and services.