Lyndonville Air Force Station
Lyndonville Air Force Station (1956-1963) - A Cold War Air Force Radar Station first established in 1956 near Lyndonville, Essex County, Vermont. Initially named North Concord Air Force Station renamed Lyndonville Air Force Station after the nearby location. Initially assigned a Permanent ID of M-103, later a Sage ID of Z-103. Abandoned in 1963.
Established in 1956 and became operational in 1956 as Lyndonville Air Force Station manned by the 911th AC&W Squadron. The station initially had both a Ground Control Intercept (GCI) and early warning mission. The early warning mission involved tracking and identifying all aircraft entering their airspace while the GCI mission involved guiding Air Force interceptors to any identified enemy aircraft. Controllers at the station vectored fighter aircraft at the correct course and speed to intercept enemy aircraft using voice commands via ground-to-air radio.
This configuration established the basic requirements for the transition to the SAGE System operation.
SAGE System Transition
The transition of the manual GCI system to the automated SAGE system began with the 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 air conditioning, 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.
SAGE System Operation
The site began operation as a SAGE site in 1959 initially feeding the Topsham SAGE Direction Center DC-05. Two new radar towers were built in 1962, one for a FPS-27 search radar and one for a new FPS-26 height-finder radar. The FPS-26 was installed in early 1963 just before the March 1963 announcement of the site closure. The FPS-27 was never installed.
Lyndonville AFS and the 911th were deactivated on 1 Aug 1963.
The physical plant of the site was divided into the main site, a cantonment area, a housing area and a radio site. The main site housed the operations buildings, the radar towers, and the backup generators. The cantonment area housed the enlisted barracks, the bachelor officer's quarters, the orderly room, the dining hall, the motor pool and other support buildings. Apart from the main site was a small 9/27 unit housing area for married personnel.
A separate radio site housed the radio equipment for directing aircraft intercepts. Like most early radar stations, Lyndonville originally had a radio transmitter site and a separate radio receiver site 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.
Abandoned by the Air Force and sold to private parties. Most of the upper main site radar towers remain in place but in deteriorated condition. The cantonment area has some buildings remaining also in deteriorating condition. The housing area is in private hands.