With a maximum range of about 230 miles, COMBAT SKY SPOT radars covered most areas of interest, with the notable exception of northern North Vietnam. The installation of a modified COMBAT SKY SPOT site on LS 85 in 1967 covered this gap. (U.S. Air Force photo)
The enemy moved and attacked under the cover of monsoon rains, low-laying clouds and darkness. The U.S. Air Force was hampered during these times by a limited all-weather and night bombing capability.
The U.S. Air Force adapted an existing system to address this problem. To train its crews, the U.S. Air Force had long used a ground-based radar system to predict the point of impact for a simulated bomb drop. In Southeast Asia, the U.S. Air Force essentially used it in reverse under the code name COMBAT SKY SPOT. The impact point was the target, and the radar team guided the flight crew through to bomb release.
Between 1966 and the end of combat operations in 1973, COMBAT SKY SPOT teams successfully directed thousands of B-52 strikes and tactical bombing missions.