Pine Gap Research Area
An Introduction In to The US Pine Gap Base In Australia

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The SIGINT gathering station at Pine Gap near Alice Springs "Australia" is quite possibly, one of the most secretive satellite ground stations in the world, and is one of the largest in the world. Pine Gap recieves data from a number of geostationary SIGINT satellites, most notably from the satellite's that were manufactured by TRW Space Systems at Redondo Beach, California. These satellites are under the control of the CIA which in turn answers to the National Reconnaissance Office "NRO". 

The original code name for the Pine Gap facillity was MERINO but by now would almost be obselete. 

THE BASE:
Pine Gap as stated before is one of the largest ground satellite stations in the world, at the present time the facility currently contains eight large radomes an extremly large computer room and 20 or so service,support buildings. 

The radomes that cover the rather large anntenna array's serve two purposes, one being to keep dust,sand and other forign objects out of the delicate equipment and two being to conceal the antenna's position from enemy spy satellites. 

The computer room at the base is also unbelivebly large encompassing almost 5,600 square metres, so large in fact that the operators use headsets to communicate with each other, also as a matter of interest the computers at the station are mainly IBM. The computer room itself is principly divided into 3 different divsions: 

The Station Keeping Section, which has responsibility for keeping the satellites at their correct geo-stationary orbit.
The Signals Processing Office (SPO)
The Signals Analysis Section (SAS) 

COMMUNICATION:
The Pine Gap facility has a wide range of communication services at it's disposal, (HF) radio, underground cable, Telstra telephone and telix link, 2 satellite comm's terminals. As well as this the base is serviced by the US Military Airlift Command which physically carry tapes of intercepted signals back to the US for further study. 

The primary landline communication link for the base is provided by TELSTRA, via the trans Pacific under-sea cable sea system which links the US and Australia, while AT&T maintain their end of the deal. 

Around 1968 a HF antenna was installed in the northern edge of the facillity, with the international call sign VL5TY, this provides a direct link to the US base Clark Field in the Philippines this service operates on an estimated 16 freq's from 4.048 MHz to 23.69 MHz. 

The following freq's were used in 1987 for these comm's: 

4.048, 5.92, 6.766, 6.866, 8.093, 8.17, 9.224, 9.915, 10.587, 12.21, 14.782, 15.895, 17.523, 17.623, 23.355, 23.69 MHz 

All comm's to or from Pine Gap are encrypted in either the Signals Processing Office or the National Cypher and communication's room. Two Univac computers are used to encrypt the transmissions, while two cryptographic machines (a KW-7 and a KG-13 for teletype and voice encryption respectively) communicate with the TRW's buildings in Redondo Beach, California. Note these methods are only used for general signals rather than SIGINT traffic, it is only when prompt action is required from the US that the SIGINT traffic is directed through this way. The Communications Vault in TRW's building M-4 code named PEDAL is a major point in the Pine Gap communications system, of the 25 to 30 messages sent from Pine Gap each day about half of these are directed to CIA (code named PILOT) headquarters in Langley Virginia. 

Occasionally SIGNIT data is directed directly to the NRO headquarters in the Pentagon or to the NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland, since 1969 there have been twice weekly flights of C-141 Starlifter and Galaxy aircraft, these have 2 purposes 1 to deliver parts and supplies and 2 to collect the thousands of reels of SIGINT gathered at Pine Gap each week. 

OVERVIEW:
This short overview is only merely intended to give a brief idea of what this base is about, Pine Gap is still essentially a BLACK project designed purley for espionage and covert intell gathering, but a number of questions still remain, does the Australian goverment really know what goes on out there? Just how big is this base?, undoubtably there would be underground levels, as a SIGNIT station there is a big possibility that it would be a nuclear target, going underground would certianly be a wise choice. 

UPDATES:
Pine Gap is still the most important US installation in Australia. It's purpose and functions is still the most secret. Where as "all" other US installations in Australia have been acknowledged, the Pine Gap SIGNIT satellite program still remains a BLACK program. The Australian public have been treated like fools, led only to believe that this area is only a "defence space research facility". This is a gross untruth. 

The undeniable truth is that PINE GAP is invovled with espionage.

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