Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

13th Intelligence Squadron

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Country  US
Garrison/HQ  Beale Air Force Base
13th Intelligence Squadron
Branch  United States Air Force
Type  Reconnaissance and Surveillance
Part of  Air Force ISR Agency 480th Intelligence Wing 548th Intelligence Group

The 13th Intelligence Squadron (13 IS) is part of the 548th Intelligence Group at Beale Air Force Base. It is one of the exploitation units for the Lockheed U-2 (operated out of Beale AFB), MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper (operated out of Nellis, NV) and RQ-4 Global Hawk (operated by the 12th Reconnaissance Squadron, also at Beale AFB) unmanned aircraft conducting reconnaissance and surveillance missions.



The mission of the 13 IS is to operate Distributed Ground Station-2 (DGS-2), and conduct exploitation of intelligence data collected by the U-2 and Global Hawk and Predator unmanned aerial vehicles, while providing actionable, multisource combat intelligence to combatant commanders.


Activated in 1994, the 13th has exploited intelligence from the deployable, long-endurance RQ-4 Global Hawk (which is operated by the 12th Reconnaissance Squadron to fulfill training and operational requirements generated by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in support of unified commanders and the Secretary of Defense). The 1st Reconnaissance Squadron (Beale AFB, CA) currently trains all RQ-4A pilots and sensor operators. The 13th Intelligence Squadron has a proud history dating back to the Second World War. The unit was originally constituted on 1 February 1945, as the 13th Photographic Technical Unit at Maastricht, the Netherlands. In April 1945, the unit reported to France. In May 1945 following the allied advance, the 13th reported to Germany where it was assigned to the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Group. On 20 November 1945, at the close of World War II, the 13th was inactivated. The unit was reactivated as the 13th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron on 10 April 1963 at Ton Son Nhut Airfield, Republic of Vietnam. The 13th conducted tactical reconnaissance photo-processing and exploitation focused on Vietnam. On 15 June 1967, the unit moved to Clark Air Base, Philippines until it was again inactivated on 15 June 1971. In 1992, the 548th Air Intelligence Group (AIG) Detachment 1 was activated at Beale AFB, CA to prepare a site for Contingency Airborne Reconnaissance System (CARS), Deployable Ground Station Two (DGS-2). On 29 September 1994, the 548th AIG Det. 1 was re-designated the 13th Intelligence Squadron. The unit was charged with conducting near-real-time imagery exploitation and all-source analysis of U-2 derived intelligence. Using state-of-the-art ground and satellite relays, DGS-2 crews pioneered the practice of “reach-back” collection, using sensors on board a U-2 aircraft operating half-way around the world as if they were virtually on board the aircraft. In August 1995, the 13th IS, as part of DGS-2, supported operation DELIBERATE FORCE, a brief NATO air campaign in the former Yugoslav Republic of Bosnia- Herzegovina. In November 1995, DGS-2 began participating in Operation JOINT GUARDIAN to support multi-national peacekeeping forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Because of its outstanding performance, completing over 450 successful missions, the 13th Intelligence Squadron was awarded the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency’s National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation for 1996 and 1997. In January 1998, the 13th IS conducted the first Joint Chiefs of Staff operational tasking utilizing the Extended Tether Program (ETP) architecture. ETP provide DGS-2 with a worldwide, quickly deployable two-way satellite link to the U-2 aircraft. This operation, known as BITTER DISTANT, was a counter-drug operation in the USSOUTHCOM area of operations. In October 1998, DGS-2 began 24/7 surveillance and reconnaissance operations to monitor the deteriorating situation in Kosovo. On 24 March 1999, NATO-led Operation ALLIED FORCE was launched with the aim of expelling Serbian forces from the province of Kosovo. DGS-2 participated in operation ALLIED FORCE for its duration, supporting 190 U-2 sorties over 78 days. In addition, DGS-2 conducted processing, exploitation, and dissemination for the PREDATOR unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) during the first combat employment of a UAV to laser designate targets for precision-guided munitions. DGS-2 is credited with the destruction of 39 SAM systems and 28 aircraft during this operation. During its 53-year history, the 13th Intelligence Squadron has been recognized for many milestone accomplishments. Together with the 48th Intelligence Squadron, DGS-2 leads the cutting edge of the United States military’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Operations.


  • World War II
  • References

    13th Intelligence Squadron Wikipedia

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