- For the civil use of this facility and airport information, see Hanscom Field
Hanscom Air Force Base (AFB) is a United States Air Force base located approximately south-southwest of Bedford, Massachusetts and was established in 1942. The facility is a joint use civil airport/military base with Hanscom Field which provides general aviation and charter service.
The host unit at Hanscom is the 66th Air Base Group (66 ABG) assigned to Air Force Materiel Command. Electronic Systems Center (ESC) is the primary tenant on the installation.
Hanscom houses Headquarters Electronic Systems Center (ESC), one of the product centers of the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC). In addition to this primary function, which is its host unit, Hanscom supports the Air Force Research Laboratory's Sensors and Space Vehicles directorates, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, the MITRE corporation, and various other companies and groups related to the Department of Defense.
Hanscom's mission is to support research, acquisitions, and electronic systems instead of military aircraft.
Hanscom Field, a civilian general-aviation airport adjacent to the Air Force Base, and MASSPORT, are the primary operators of the air field and runways. Less than one percent of the aircraft that land at Hanscom Field are military aircraft.
Hanscom Air Force Base is named after Laurence G. Hanscom (1906 1941) in honor of the pilot, aviation enthusiast, and State House reporter who was killed in a plane crash at Saugus, Massachusetts when he had been lobbying for the establishment of an airfield in Bedford. Laurence G. Hanscom was a reporter for the Worcester Telegram-Gazette. Hanscom was active in early aviation, founding the Massachusetts Civil Air Reserve. The base was named in his honor on 26 June 1941.
Founded at the start of World War II, the focus of Hanscom had shifted from combat missions to radar technology development by the end of the war. After the war, Hanscom encouraged the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to institute a research laboratory, Lincoln Laboratory, with which it collaborated to develop the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) air defense system. In 1961, Hanscom became the headquarters for the Air Force's Electronic Systems Division. Hanscom developed several important systems for intelligence-gathering aircraft in the 1970s and 1980s, and underwent significant expansion in the 1980s.
- Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office 1961 (republished 1983, Office of Air Force History, ISBN 0-912799-02-1).
- Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947 1977. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: Office of Air Force History 1984. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
- Mueller, Robert, Air Force Bases Volume I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982, Office of Air Force History, 1989
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