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The Air Force Technical Applications Center’s Detachment 46 provides AFTAC and Air Force Space Command with the best possible state-of-health information for the Global Positioning System/Nuclear Detonation System constellation in support of the U.S. Atomic Energy Detection System and AFSPC’s Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment mission.


To perform its mission, Det. 46 personnel monitor the Nuclear Detection System sensors located onboard satellites in the Global Positioning System and Defense Support Program satellite constellations. Detachment personnel interface with the 50th Space Wing’s 2nd Space Operations Squadron, which is responsible for command and control of the GPS constellation. 2 SOPS members assist Det. 46 by helping troubleshoot anomalies and commanding satellites. Together, they ensure the nation’s key space-based systems continues to operate at maximum effectiveness, while providing on-time reporting of nuclear detonation data to national decision makers. This 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week operation provides a crucial data link for the USAEDS.


Detachment 46 is the backup site for AFTAC Detachment 45’s Integrated Correlation and Display system, where real-time DSP and GPS data are received on a continuous basis.




Detachment 46 originated at Falcon AFB Colorado, in 1985 when Falcon AFB became a fully operational base. At that time, its mission was providing an operational research and development location for new space-based NDS sensors on-board the GPS constellation. In 1992, Det. 46 was subordinate under AFTAC’s Det. 45 and redesignated as an operating location (OL-CO). Around this time, the NDS system was declared operational for the AFSPC Integrated Tactical Warning/Attack Assessment (ITW/AA) mission. On Sept. 1, 1996, OL-CO was redesignated Detachment 46 and no longer subordinate to AFTAC's Det. 45.




Det. 46 consists of 22 active duty military personnel: one officer and 21 enlisted. Enlisted NDS Payload Specialists and technicians ranging in grade from E-2 through E-6 perform core unit operations. The detachment’s staff consists of a superintendent and five other staff positions which handle the following functional areas: operations, training, evaluation, engineering, and unit administration. The officer is designated the detachment commander.


Point of Contact

AFTAC Public Affairs

(321) 494-7688


(Current as of July 2016