US Air Force ships of the "Tyndall Navy"

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)). Other ships would use the prefix "USAFS", for "United States Air Force Ship".

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.[1]

The smaller FS types were retired by 1960.[1] On 1 July 1964 the USAF tracking ships were transferred to the custody of the Military Sea Transportation Service (MSTS) for operation. (In 1970, the MSTS changed its name to Military Sealift Command (MSC).) The ships were redesignated from USAFS to USNS, along with the hull code "AGM", eg: USAFS Sword Knot (E-45-1852) became USNS Rose Knot (T-AGM-14). MSTS had administrative control of the ships and operational control when the ships were in port. The US Air Force Eastern Test Range had operational control when the ships were at sea.[2] The larger C1-M-AV-1 type ships were redesignated by the Navy as AGM.[3] The original larger ORV were out of service on the Eastern Test Range by 1969.[1]

The US Air Force still operates 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.[4][5]

US Air Force ship list


Rising Star


See also


  1. ^ a b c "DEVELOPMENT OF THE 45SW EASTERN RANGE". Archived from the original on August 25, 2010. Retrieved April 27, 2007.
  2. ^ "10 Range Instrumentation Ships Added to Special Project Fleet". Sealift. Vol. 14, no. 9. Washington, D.C.: Military Sea Transportation Service. September 1964. pp. 11–13. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  3. ^ "USAT PVT. Joe R. Hastings/USAF Coastal Crusader (ORV-16)/AGM-16 / AGS-36 Coastal Crusader". Retrieved August 19, 2006.
  4. ^ EIA – FY2003 Archived October 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Air Force armada all about the ammo".
  6. ^ Kovalchik, Dan (January 2002). "The Rocket Ships". Air & Space Magazine. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  7. ^ Dempefewelft, Richard F. (January 1960). "5,000 Mile Game of Catch". Popular Mechanics. Vol. 113, no. 1. pp. 116–120, 264, 266, 268, 270, 272. Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  8. ^ Silverstone, Paul (April 6, 2011). The Navy of the Nuclear Age, 1947–2007. Routledge. ISBN 9781135864668 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ "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)". Retrieved April 27, 2006.
  10. ^ "AP-139 / USAT / T-AP-139 General R. E. Callan USAF / T-AGM-9 H. H. Arnold". Retrieved April 27, 2007.
  11. ^ "NavSource: USAS American Mariner/USAFS American Mariner/USNS American Mariner (T-AGM-12)". Retrieved April 27, 2007.