CFS Gander (1953-1993) - A Cold War Pinetree Line Canadian Forces Radar Station first established in 1953 near Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador as RCAF Station Gander. Renamed CFS Gander on 1 Feb 1968 with the reorganization of Canadian forces. Initially assigned an ID of N-25 that later became C-25. Downsized in 1990 and became FGCANRHQ Detachment Gander. Became a minimally attended radar site in 1993 as a part of the Canadian Coastal Radar (CCR) System.
Following the outbreak of the Korean War on 25 Jun 1950 and in response to a perceived Soviet bomber threat the United States Air Force (USAF) created the Northeast Air Command (NEAC), as a major command, to defend the Northeastern air approaches to the US. NEAC was responsible for all air defense forces in Newfoundland, Labrador, eastern Canada, and Greenland. The plan for the NEAC area included the construction of 10 permanent radar stations in Canada and 3 stations in Greenland, all as a part of the Pinetree Line. Of the 10 Canadian stations, 9 were to be manned by USAF personnel and one was to be manned by RCAF personnel The sites were selected and construction began in 1951-52.
Because the permanent stations in the NEAC area would not be completed until 1953-54, five temporary "Lashup" sites were deployed using mobile equipment and called up Air National Guard (ANG) Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadrons. Four of these Lashup Sites were locate on or adjacent to the permanent sites at Stephenville, Red Cliff, Melville, Thule and the remaining site was temporarily located at McAndrew Air Force Base (later to Resolution Island).
The Lashup sites were operational in 1952-53 and the permanent sites were operational 1953-54. NEAC was discontinued on 1 Apr 1957 and the Air Defense Command (ADC) took control of the AC&W radar sites.
222 Aircraft Warning Squadron
CFS Gander was established in 1952 as a U.S. Air Force funded permanent Pinetree Line radar site and became operational on 23 Nov 1953 manned by the Canadian 222 AC&W Squadron.
This station initially had both a Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) and Early Warning (EW) mission. The early warnng mission involved tracking and identifing all aircraft entering their airspace while the GCI mission involved guiding Air Force interceptors to any unknown or enemy aircraft. Controllers at the station vectored fighter aircraft at the correct course, speed and altitude to intercept enemy aircraft using voice commands via ground-to-air radio.
Initial equipment included the FPS-3C search radar and an FPS-502 height finder radar. The initial installation did not have a radome installed to cover the radar antenna and the squadron did not have long distance communications with the next echelon. The search radar was later upgraded to an FPS-20A and then to an FPS-93A. A FPS-6B height finder radar was installed in 1961 and that was replaced with an FPS-26.
On 1 Nov 1966, the squadron was reduced to a NORAD Surveillance Station and on 26 July 1978 CFS Gander completed integration with the SAGE System using the FYQ-47 Common Digitizer to transmit data to the direction center. On that same date the 222 AC&W Squadron became the 222 Radar Squadron.
The 222 Radar Squadron was deactivated on 1 Jul 1990 and portions of it became the FGCANRHQ Detachment Gander.
FGCANRHQ Detachment Gander
FGCANRHQ Detachment Gander formed on 6 Jul 1990 from 21 former members of the 226 Radar Squadron. The unit was disbanded three years later on 6 Aug 1993 with only 10 members remaining. The newly installed FPS-117 radar required only 3 technicians to maintain and they were to be housed in the community. The minimally attended 3D FPS-117 solid state radar set was installed on the site in 1993 and remains in place as a part of the Canadian Coastal Radar (CCR) system.
A Canadian Coastal Radar (CCR) now located on the site at Gander with an FPS-117 3D radar.