Baldy Hughes Air Force Station

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Baldy Hughes Air Force Station (1953-1988) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Radar Station first established in 1953 during the Korean War near Prince George, British Columbia. One of the Pinetree Line radar sites. Initially assigned a Permanent ID of C-20, later a Sage ID of C-20 and then a JSS ID of R-34. The site was transitioned to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) on 1 Mar 1963, first as RCAF Baldy Hughes and later designated CFS Baldy Hughes. Named after the original homestead the site was built on. Closed in 1988.

Radar Bubble at Baldy Hughes (probably weather radar)
Baldy Hughes Repurposed Barracks
Repurposed Baldy Hughes Lower Site

History

Part of the Pinetree Line radar chain and one of 21 USAF radar stations designated to be turned over to the Government of Canada.

Gated Road to the Baldy Hughes Upper Site

The radar station was constructed between 1953 and 1955 but was occupied in 1953 with the relocation of the 918th AC&W Squadron from Geiger Field WA to the newly constructed radar station. Initial equipment included the FPS-3 search radar and a TPS-502 height finder radar.

In preparation for SAGE System operation a FPS-20 search radar was installed to replace the FPS-3 and FPS-502. In July 1960 a FPS-6 height finder radar replaced the obsolete TPS-502 and in February 1961 a second FPS-6 height finder was added.

This configuration (a SAGE qualified FPS-20 long range search radar and two SAGE qualified FPS-6 height finders) met the requirements for transition to SAGE System operation.


SAGE System Transition

The transition of the manual GCI system to the automated SAGE system began with installation of the FST-2 coordinate data transmitter and search radar upgrades. The FST-2 equipment digitized the radar returns and transmitted the digital returns to the SAGE direction center. Under the SAGE system interceptor aircraft were directed to their targets by the direction center computers and controllers, greatly reducing the need for local controllers and equipment at every radar station.

The FST-2 was a very large digital system using vacuum tube technology. Over 6900 vacuum tubes were used in each FST-2 requiring 21 air conditioned cabinets, 40 tons of airconditioning, 43.5 kva of prime power and usually a large new addition to the operations building. The FST-2B modification added two more cabinets but with newer solid state (transistor) technology to process coded responses from aircraft transponders.

The SAGE annex to house the FST-2 and SAGE operations at Baldy Hughes AFS was started on 1 Nov 1960. Construction of the SAGE annex and installation of the FST-2 equipment was completed in July 1962. July 1962 also marked the completion of the SAGE GATR building.

SAGE System Operation

Former McChord SAGE Direction Center DC-12.

The site had began operation as a SAGE site on in March 1960, initially feeding manual data to the McChord SAGE Direction Center DC-12.

Automatic SAGE operation with DC-12 began on 1 July 63 with the FPS-20 and FPS-6 radar configuration. The search radar was then upgraded to an FPS-27 and that replaced the FPS-20 in May 1964. An FPS-26 height finder radar was installed to replace one of the FPS-6 height finders on 20 Mar 1964. At the end of 1964 Baldy Hughes was operating a FPS-27 search radar, a FPS-26 height finder, a FPS-6 height finder and a UPX-14 SIF/IFF radar.

In December 1971 the obsolete FST-2 was replaced with an FYQ-47 data processor. In April 1975 the FPS-26 height finder was shut down.

In 1983 when the SAGE System shut down, the radar station was connected to the Canada West ROCC until Baldy Hughes shut down in 1988..

Closure

CFS Baldy Hughes was deactivated in 1988.

Physical Plant

The physical plant of the site was divided into an upper main operations site, a lower cantonment area and two radio sites. The main site housed the operations building, the radar towers, the backup generators and later the SAGE Annex. The cantonment area housed the enlisted barracks, the bachelor officer's quarters, the orderly room, the chow hall, the motor pool and other support buildings. Apart from the cantonment area were two trailer courts for married personnel.

A separate radio site housed the radio equipment for directing aircraft intercepts. Like most early radar stations, Puntzi Mountain originally had separate radio transmitter and receiver sites used by local controllers for voice direction of fighter interceptors to their targets. With the SAGE System, the SAGE Direction centers had the primary task of directing intercepts and the local radio sites were reconfigured, usually into a single site that was known as the Ground to Air Transmitter Receiver (GATR) site. The GATR site communicated with the interceptors from either the local site or the SAGE direction center via voice commands and/or a digital data link.


Baldy Hughes AFS Major Equipment List
Search Radar HF Radar Data Systems Comm IFF/SIF
Unit Designations
  • 918th AC&W Squadron (1953-1963)
  • 54 AC&W Squadron (1963-1963)
  • 54 Radar Squadron (1963-1967)
  • CFS Baldy Hughes (1967-1988)
917th Assignments
  • 16 Apr 1952 - Activated at Geiger Field, WA, as the WADF.
  • 16 Feb 1953 - Transferred to 25th Air Division.
  • 1 Jun 1953 - Moved to Baldy Hughes, B.C., Canada.
  • 1 Mar 1960 - Transferred to Seattle ADS. McChord SAGE Direction Center DC-12
  • 1 Mar 1963 - USAF Squadron Discontinued, site transferred to RCAF.
  • 1 Apr 1966 - Assigned to 25th AD.
  • Apr 1988 - RCAF Operations end.


Baldy Hughes Partial Commanders List (edit list)
Assumed Relieved Rank Name Cullum Notes
1952-04-16 1952-05-29 2nd Lt McBride, Wesley W. N/A
1952-05-29 Lt Colonel Pitcher, William E. N/A
1952-08-23 Captain White, Theodore T. N/A
1952-10-14 Captain Calvin, Richard R. N/A
1952-11-01 Captain Rice, Robert E. N/A
1954-06 Major Plain, Harold E. N/A
1955-04 Major Hagan, Ben M. N/A
1956-04 Major Gransee, Orvil G. N/A
1957-12 1959-08-01 Major Lessley, James D. N/A
1959-08-01 1961-05 Major Coleman, Kenneth N/A
1961-05 1963-03-01 Lt Colonel Naigle, Alfred J. N/A
1963-03-01 1965-07-30 Wing Commander Sloat, R. D. N/A
1965-09-10 1967-06-29 Wing Commander Warren, D. N/A
1967-07-27 1969-07-09 Lt Colonel Ackert, D. J. N/A
1969-08-20 Lt Colonel Edwards, J. F. N/A
1971-08-29 Lt Colonel Duguid, G. W. N/A
1973-07-06 Lt Colonel Olsen, H. K. N/A
1975-07-16 Lt Colonel McIntosh, D. F. N/A
1977-07-28 Lt Colonel Walker, G. L. N/A
1979-07-10 Lt Colonel Scott, W. R. N/A
1981-07-03 Major Stanners, L. C. N/A

Note: Reported dates overlap and may be incorrect or reflect periods of intermittant temporary command.

Current Status

Repurposed near Prince George, British Columbia.


Location: At the end of Blackwater Road, 19 miles southwest of Prince George, British Columbia.

Maps & Images

Lat: 53.61833 Long: -122.93556

See Also:

Links:

Visited: 22 Jun 2014


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