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
http://www.wsmr.army.mil/ 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
http://www.holloman.af.mil/ Just six miles southwest on U.S. Highway 70, Holloman Air Force Base is a unique national asset. With more than 52,000 acres, Holloman is an exciting, evolving center of research, development, cutting-edge technology, and combat power. Parent unit 49th Fighter Wing is re-equipping with the Lockheed-Martin F-22A Raptor, the world’s leading stealthy fighter. Around 11,000 people make up the daytime population of the base. Major tenants include the Air Force Reserve 301st Fighter Squadron, a formal training unit for unmanned aerial vehicles, the 46th Test Group, Det. 1 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, 4th Space Control Squadron, and more than 13 other units. Holloman is Otero County’s largest employer. Last year the base contributed more than $1.4 million per day to the local economy. About 65 percent of Alamogordo-area residents are related to the base in some way.
Resident aircraft include the F-22, McDonnell-Douglas QF-4 Phantom II pilotless target aircraft, and U.S. Army helicopters. Other aircraft are scheduled to arrive in the near future, including more unmanned aerial vehicles.
Its history starting in 1942 as a WWII bomber-training base, Holloman has been a center of research and development since 1947. Its contributions to America’s space programs are legendary, such as the training of America’s first two astronauts, chimpanzees Ham and Enos. Among its unique facilities are the world’s premier, record-setting, high-speed test track; a powerful centrifuge; the Air Force’s central storage facility of materiel for equipping bases in remote locations; and a national radar cross-section lab.
Naval Air Warfare Center
http://www.nawcwpns.navy.mil 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.