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Fort Heath radar station
military installation
The Fort Heath Direction Center for the Boston Defense Area (planned as the "Boston-Providence" area)[1] controlled Nike batteries transferred to the National Guard (B-03, 15, 55, & 63 in 1959 and 36 & 73 in 1964)--Nike Hercules sites B-05, 36, & 73 remained after the Nike Ajax sites closed.
Country United States
Command Army Air Defense Command
Defense Area 1960-1962: Chicago-Gary
1962-1974: New England
State Massachusetts
1960: AN/FSG-1
1965: AN/GSG-5
1968: AN/TSQ-51
Nearest town Winthrop, Massachusetts
Location ARSR-1A radar[2]
Code B-21DC
The DC was in the nuclear bunker, the largest building of the radar station.

The Fort Heath radar station was a USAF radar site and US Army Missile Master installation of the joint-use site system (JUSS) for North American Air Defense. The Cold War radar station had 2 USAF AN/FPS-6B height finding radars, 2 Army AN/FPS-6A height finders,[3] an FAA ARSR-1 radar emplaced 1958-9,[4] and an Army nuclear bunker. Arctic Towers were the pedestals for the FPS antennas[5] and radomes, while the Air Route Surveillance Radar was on a 50-foot extension temperate tower[6] adjacent to the Federal Aviation Administration building.[5] For Boston Air Defense Sector operations (e.g., for radar tracks supporting the 26th ADMS BOMARC surface-to-air missile site at 41°40′56″N 070°32′21″W / 41.68222°N 70.53917°W / 41.68222; -70.53917 (26th ADMS Bomarc site)), the USAF also used an Air Defense Command operations shelter (42°23′20″N 070°58′10″W / 42.38889°N 70.96944°W / 42.38889; -70.96944 (SAGE MM-1 (Ft Heath)))[citation needed] for controlling the FPS-6Bs to process height requests from the sector's "Air Defense Control and Coordination System" (DC-02).[4] Activated at the fort in 1959 was the headquarters for the 820th Radar Squadron which, instead of being designated a "SAGE" radar squadron as with other units, was renamed an AC&W Sq in 1961. The 820th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron inactivated in 1962 after the operation—instead of using a "P" (Permanent) or "Z" (SAGE) designation as with other NORAD/ADC sites—had used the "MM-1" designation for the ADDC planned for collocation with the Army's 3rd operational Missile Master.

Planned Air Defense Direction Center[edit | edit source]

The Ft Heath "Joint Manual Direction Center" was planned by January 24, 1957,[7][8] and the site plan was approved on October 31, 1957. NORAD/CONAD used the "MM-1" designation for the JMDC in the June 1958 historical summary.[9] The summary estimated the AADCP and USAF ADDC would be operational in August 1960 with "Air Force operating consoles" in the Army bunker after the estimated March 1960 installation of the ARSR-1.[9] A General Electric AN/GPA-37 Radar Course Directing Group GPA-37 was to be completed by April 1960 to allow manual USAF ADDC ground-controlled intercept operations until SAGE DC-02 was operational for the Boston Air Defense Sector (forecast August 1960).[9] The modification to the ARSR-1A configuration (Amplitron, "antenna gear box modification", etc.) was to be complete by November 1960.[9]

Radar station construction had begun by September 22, 1959,[10] and by the end of 1959, Ft Heath was designated to be a Category 1a NORAD Control Center with the AN/GPA-37 to have the data processing computer for the SAGE TDDL to/from equipped interceptors.[11] However, since Ft Heath ADDC operation would have only been used for a few months until SAGE DC-02 had ground-controlled interception capability, the AN/GPA-37 installation was never completed.[citation needed] For the SAGE/Missile Master test program, NORAD requested an abbreviated AN/FSG-1 "be made avail­able…in the Boston area by 1 Ju.l.y 1959" and during Ft Heath bunker construction, 5 of 7 Glenn L. Martin pallets of FSG-1 equipment were assembled at the nearby Fort Banks[12] for testing with the Experimental SAGE Subsector (XD-1 prototype AN/FSQ-7 at Lexington, Massachusetts) for the Second Phase NORAD SAGE/Missile Master test (September 1959) to assess the Automatic Targeting and Battery Evaluaiton algorithm.[12]:40

Missile Master nuclear bunker[edit | edit source]

The Fort Heath Direction Center (B-21DC) was the Army Air Defense Command Post for the Boston Defense Area housed in the partially underground nuclear bunker and manned by the Air Defense Brigade[which?] headquartered at Fort Banks. To network the local "Missile Master organic radars"[13] and several remote Nike batteries' radars, the Direction Center (DC) became operational c. April 1960[14] at the site[specify]

formerly used by the MIT research building.[15]  The DC included a Martin AN/FSG-1 Antiaircraft Defense System with consoles and overhead displays of the tactical display and tracking subsystems within an Antiaircraft Operations Center ("Blue Room") recessed in a pit with a stage.  Instead of an underground decontamination water supply beneath the AAOC as with the nominal bunker plan,[16] the Army Corps of Engineers (New England District)[citation needed] had exterior emergency water tanks built in addition to a 210,000 gallon freshwater tank.[4]  The typical FSG-1 crew was 22 soldiers and 5 company grade officers, and the bunker had an office[17] for the Army Air Defense Commander.[13]  Army maintenance was by the January 4, 1960-December 1964 Army Signal Missile Master Support Detachment with 3 officers, 2 WOs, and 12 enlisted men.[citation needed]  In 1962 the Boston Defense Area merged with the Hartford & Providence areas to become the New England Defense Area,[citation needed] and in early 1965[18] the vacuum tube AN/FSG-1 was replaced with a solid-state Martin AN/GSG-5 BIRDIE (than a Hughes AN/TSQ-51 by July 1968).[19]   The "control site" was demolished in 1969[20] (the bunker remained in 1971),[21] and after a Rhode Island AN/TSQ-51 had opened by July 1, 1970,[19] Project Concise closed the remaining Nike batteries in 1974.

The site of the former radar station now includes a small park and a complex of large apartment buildings.

ARSR-1 on tower behind FAA building
B-21DC Missile Master bunker

References[edit | edit source]

  1. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=3OxGAAAAIBAJ&sjid=RjMNAAAAIBAJ&pg=504,4357202&dq=boston+missile-master&hl=en "the Army said [the bunker] uses SAGE (semi-automatic ground environment)--such as that at Stewart Air Force Base"
  2. [verification needed]http://www.radomes.org/cgi-bin/museum/acwinfo2x.cgi?site=%22Fort+Heath,+Winthrop,+MA+%28MM-1%29%22&key=FortHeathWinthropMAMM-1&pic=FortHeathWinthropMAMM-1&doc=FortHeathWinthropMAMM-1 Fort Heath, MA
  3. Air Defense Radar Stations. Radomes.org. Retrieved on 2013-09-18.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Butler, Gerald W; Shaner, Mary; Shaner, Richard (year tbd). The Guns of Boston Harbor. http://books.google.com/books?id=okCNGLr7920C&pg=PA351. Retrieved 2013-03-01. "In 1958, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) constructed long-range acquisition radar at Fort Heath. Commissioned in 1959, the ARSR-1 radar was used to track aircraft 220 miles distant for flight-following" purposes. …the army and air force also used this surveillance radar for Air Defense Control and Coordination Systems (ADCCS)." 
  5. 5.0 5.1 U.S. military (1970). 1961 Plan of Fort Heath (Map). Cartography by tbd. 
  6. Nike Sites of Boston: Fort Banks and Fort Heath B-21 HA. Ed-thelen.org (2000-07-10). Retrieved on 2013-09-18.
  7. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=TyQtAAAAIBAJ&sjid=c6QEAAAAIBAJ&pg=1094,1427806&dq=boston+missile-master&hl=en
  8. "'Missile Master' Survey Completed". Red Bank, New Jersey. May 2, 1957. p. 13. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Preface by Buss, L. H. (Director) (1 October 1958). North American Air Defense Command Historical Summary: January–June 1958 (Report). Directorate of Command History: Office of Information Services.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "NORAD1958" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "NORAD1958" defined multiple times with different content
  10. "Missile Master Field Installations in Boston Area". September 22, 1959. "Field Technicians and Service Engineers" 
  11. NORAD/CONAD Historical Summary: July -December 1959 (Report). http://www.northcom.mil/FOIA/docs/1959%20NORAD%20CONAD%20History%20Jul-Dec.pdf. Retrieved 2013-05-04. "NORAD required an AN/GPA-67 at each of these NCC's so as to provide a capability for control of Time Division Data Link-equip­ped interceptors when the sector converted to TDOL. NORAD had expressed its initial requirment on 1 May 1959 for the AN/GPA-67 at all ten collocated Missile Master/ADDC sites." 
  12. 12.0 12.1 NORAD/CONAD Historical Summary: July–December 1958 "In September 1956, CONAD proposed to the JCS the collocation of the Missile Master and the Air Force's AN/GPA-37 in ten areas. The Office of the Secretary ot Defense concurred on 30 October 1956. ... On 19 December 1958, NORAD directed that the experimental tests be carried out with the abbreviated Missile Master at Fort Banks."
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Missile Master…". United States Army. February 1963. "AN/FSG-1 … f. Utilizes reference track data from local radars and voice communications with the NORAD sector direction center (NSDC) … 22. Normal Tracking The S & E officers and the trackers monitor the SAGE reference track data … 34. General … The two surveillance and entry consoles…are separated by a channel status unit … "Missile Master organic radars:" … SAGE SELECTOR two-position switch: Selects SAGE 1 or SAGE 2 (primary or secondary SAGE DC) as the source of SAGE data. … 45. Range-Height Subsystem a. Equipment. The range-height equipment consists of two RHI consoles (fig. 15) and two antenna control units" 
  14. "Boston Center May Control Conn. Missiles" (Google News archive). July 15, 1960. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=x85HAAAAIBAJ&sjid=lP8MAAAAIBAJ&pg=752,1532635&dq=highlands+air+force&hl=en. Retrieved 2013-03-04. "The Boston missile master, although operational, is still being tested and has not been hooked up with any Connecticut missile sites." 
    "Base is Dedicated: 'Blue Room' at Missile Master Gives Eerie But Secure Feeling". Red Bank, New Jersey. June 7, 1960. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2011-09-30. "In addition to the New York area, Missile Master sites are now operational in the Baltimore-Washington area, Seattle and Boston."  (photograph caption).
  15. "Fort Heath". FortWiki.com. 11 June 2012. http://www.fortwiki.com/Fort_Heath. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  16. Selfridge Field, Building No. 1050… (Report). Library of Congress: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/MI0684/. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  17. "Missile Master Air Defense System". March 1958. pp. 54–5. http://coldwar-c4i.net/Missile-Master/RTN0358-054.html. Retrieved 2011-09-26.  (page 55)     Liebing, Ralph. "History of the 2d Artillery Group (Air Defense)". Unit Histories. http://ed-thelen.org/unit-histories.html. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  18. Winkler, David F; Webster, Julie L (June 1997). Searching the Skies: The Legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program (Report). U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories. LCCN 9720912. http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf&AD=ADA331231. Retrieved 2012-03-26. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 McMaster, B. N., et al (December 1984). Historical Overview of the Nike Missile System (Report). Environmental Science and Engineering, Inc.. http://www5.hanford.gov/pdw/fsd/AR/FSD0001/FSD0037/D199049898/D199049898_19126_147.pdf. Retrieved 2011-09-16.  NOTE: The annual July 1 maps in McMaster's report show 6 AN/TSQ-51 Missile Mentors in 1966 at former AN/FSG-1 sites, with Ft Heath instead shown with the following: an AN/FSG-1 Missile Master in 1964 (near a separate Massachusetts BIRDIE), then a Ft Heath BIRDIE in 1966 & 1967, a Ft Heath Missile Mentor in 1968 & 1969, and no Ft Heath AADCP in 1970 (a Rhode Island Missile Mentor was depicted in 1970; but not in 1971.)
  20. "Harbor Defenses of Boston (MA)". keyhole.com. http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&source=hp&q=%22Became+a+MISSILE+MASTER+control+site+in+the+1950%27s+(demolished+1969).%22&pbx=1&oq=%22Became+a+MISSILE+MASTER+control+site+in+the+1950%27s+(demolished+1969).%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=6459l9298l1l9782l3l3l0l0l0l0l687l1217l2-2.5-1l3l0&fp=1&biw=1600&bih=704&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&cad=b. Retrieved 2011-09-13. "Became a MISSILE MASTER control site in the 1950's (demolished 1969). The FAA obtained a radar site here from 1965 to 1986" 
  21. http://www.HistoricAerials.com image

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