16th Electromagnetic Warfare Squadron

The 16th Electromagnetic Warfare Squadron, formerly the 16th Space Control Squadron, defends the space domain with space electromagnetic warfare systems for our Nation, the Joint Force, and Allies. The squadron is assigned to Space Delta 3, located at Peterson Space Force Base, Colo.



The 16th EWS is the Space Force’s premier defensive space control unit. The squadron protects critical satellite communication links to achieve a near-global capability to detect, characterize, geolocate and report sources of electromagnetic interference (EMI) on U.S. military and commercial satellites. The squadron also provides combat-ready crews to deploy and employ defensive space control capabilities for theater combatant commanders. Operating space control capabilities to rapidly achieve flexible and versatile space superiority in support of theater campaigns.


Activated in 1966 as the 16 Surveillance Squadron out of Shemya Air Force Station, Alaska, under Air Defense Command, the unit’s mission was to operate the Cobra Dane long-range early warning radar system, used to track Soviet missile launches. It was assigned to the 73rd Aerospace Surveillance Wing in January 1967 as the 16 Space Surveillance Squadron and then reorganized under to the 14th Aerospace Force in April 1971. 

The squadron was again reassigned in 1983, this time to the 1st Space Wing as one of the original squadrons in the newly established Air Force Space Command. In 1991, it was assigned to the 73rd Space Group. In 1992, the unit was designated the 16th Space Surveillance Squadron. The unit was inactivated in 1994. 

The squadron was reactivated at Peterson AFB in May 2007 under the 21st SW to operate the Air Force’s premier defensive counterspace system. 

In 2018, a Bounty Hunter was delivered to INDOPACOM to expand a near global ability to detect, characterize, geolocate and report sources of EMI on U.S. military and commercial satellites in direct support of combatant commanders. In 2019, the Bounty Hunter weapon system was delivered to USCENTCOM for added capability in support of Operation SILENT SENTRY. 

The squadron was re-aligned under the 721st Operations Group in October 2019 and reassigned to Space Delta 3 in 2020 as the 16 Electromagnetic Warfare Squadron. Under the newest branch of the military, the 16 EWS's mission became to support new force structure changes to improve how the Space Force protecta U.S. and Allied space capabilities and ensure freedom of action in the space domain. 

On April 15, 2022, the 16th Space Control Squadron was redesignated as the 16th Electromagnetic Warfare Squadron. 

(Current as of December 2023)