North Bay SAGE Direction Center DC-31

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North Bay SAGE Direction Center DC-31 (1963-1983) - A Canadian Cold War SAGE System underground Direction Center first established in 1963 on Canadian Forces Base North Bay, Ontario. Named North Bay SAGE Direction Center after the location. Assigned a Sage ID of DC-31. Deactivated as a SAGE Direction Center in 1983.

History of North Bay SAGE Direction Center

Established in 1963 and became operational on 1 Oct 1963 as North Bay SAGE Direction Center DC-31. DC-31 was unique in several respects, the major difference from all the other SAGE direction centers was that it was located deep underground and could become self-sufficient if attacked. The other major difference was that it was configured and programmed to perform the tasks of both a Direction Center (FYQ-7) and a combat center (FYQ-8).

SAGE System Data Flow

Direction center equipment included the duplex FSQ-7 computer system and associated communication equipment. The FSQ-7 computer system assembled digitized inputs from USAF Radar Sites to provide tracking and identification of all aircraft within their sector of responsibility. The digitized radar inputs came from USAF Radar Sites, airborne radar pickets, Texas Towers, Gap Filler Radar Sites and other radar sources. The total picture of aircraft in the sector was assembled and any unknown aircraft were checked out and hostile aircraft were engaged by USAF fighter aircraft, Bomarc missiles or NIKE missiles. The primary defense was against the Soviet threat of a mass nuclear bomber attack on the US. The system evolved before the advent of ICBMs and provided no missile defense against them.

The computer technology was first generation vacuum tube equipment and required significant power and air conditioning. The physical plant of the direction center was enclosed in a large multi-story concrete blockhouse that housed the duplex FSQ-7 computer, communications equipment, a powerhouse, air conditioning systems and operational areas. The operational areas included radar mapping, air surveillance, identification, communications and weapons direction.

The enormous cost of the radar sites, direction centers, personnel, and training caused an immediate reevaluation and almost as quickly as they were built some facilities were closed. The first mass closures began in the 1960s when many radar sites and virtually all the gap filler sites were closed. The first round of direction center closures came in 1963 when six were closed, a second round in 1966 and a third in 1969 that closed a total of 17 out of 23. The remaining six direction centers became SAGE Regional Control Centers (RCCs) still using the massive FSQ-7 vacuum tube computers. As the direction centers and radar sites closed the remaining sites were realigned into ever-increasing sectors.

A new Joint Surveillance System (JSS) evolved as a partnership between the Air Force and the FAA to provide nationwide radar coverage. When completed in 1983 it consisted of only forty-six radar sites feeding into four new Region Operation Control Centers (ROCCs) with FYQ-93 computer systems. With the activation of the four U.S. ROCCs and the two Canadian ROCCs, the last seven of the SAGE direction centers were deactivated and this signaled the end of the SAGE system. Of the remaining forty-six radar sites, thirty-one had FAA-operated search radars and USAF operated height finders. Five sites just had FAA search radars and only ten sites were operated by the Military. With the deployment of forty FAA ARSR-4 3D radar sets in the 1990s, the earlier military and FAA radars were replaced.

The Canadians closed their underground SAGE Direction Center and created two ROCCs (CAN-East and CAN-West) using the FYQ-93 computers in the underground facility.

North Bay SAGE Direction Center DC-31 Radar Sites

North Bay SAGE Direction Center DC-31 Radar Sites (edit list)
Location Type State Unit ADC NORAD JSS From To GPS Notes
Caswell AFS ME 766th P-80 Z-80 1969-11-19 1980-07-01 46.97083,
Gander CFS NL 222 N-25 C-25 R-54 1966-11-01 1983-00-00 48.94333,
Baldy Hughes AFS BC 54 C-20 C-20 R-33 1966-00-00 1983-00-00 53.61833,
Kamloops AS BC 825th SM-153 Z-153 C-32 1963-04-01 1983-00-00 50.8022,
Senneterre AS QC 34 C-8 C-08 1963-00-00 1983-00-00 48.36139,
Saint Margarets AS NB 21 C-05 C-05 1969-00-00 1983-00-00 46.90917,
Beaverlodge AS AB 919th C-21 C-21 1963-04-0 55.23083,

North Bay Region Operations Control Center (ROCC)

In 1983 the SAGE FSQ-7 computers were shut down in the underground facility and replaced with solid-state FYQ-93 computers that took only a fraction of the space and power. This system was a part of the United States JSS system and the underground facilities became two Region Operations Control Centers (ROCCs), one for eastern Canada (CAN - East) and one for western Canada (CAN - West).

CAN - East Radar Sites

Canada East SOCC Radar Sites 30 Dec 1995 (edit list)
ID Site State Equip Type GPS Notes
J54 Bucks Harbor ME 4 J 44.62944,
R51 CFS Barrington NS 1 M 43.45223,
R52 CFS Sydney NS 1 M 46.1675,
R54 CFS Gander NFLD 1 M 48.94333,
NF0 Hall Beach NWT 1 MC 68.76083,
NF1 Cape McLoughlin NWT 8 MC
NF2 Lailor River NWT 8 MC
NF3 Rowley Island NWT 8 MC
NF4 Bray Island NWT 8 MC
NG0 Dewar Lakes NWT 1 MC 68.65056,
NG1 Longstaff Bluff NWT 8 MC
NG2 Nadluardjuk NWT 8 MC
NG3 Kangok Fiord NWT 8 MC
NH0 Cape Dyer NWT 1 MC 66.66445,
NH1 Cape Hooper NWT 8 MC
NH2 Broughton Island NWT 8 MC
NJ0 Brevoort Island NWT 1 MC 63.34,
NJ1 Cape Mercy NWT 8 MC
NJ2 Loks Land NWT 8 MC
NK0 Saglek NFLD 1 MC 58.489081,
NK1 Resolution Island NFLD 8 MC 61.59673,
NK2 Cape Kakiavik NFLD 8 MC
NK3 Cape Kiglapait NFLD 8 MC
NL0 Cartwright NFLD 1 MC 53.55111,
NL1 Big Bay NFLD 8 MC
NL2 Tukialik Bay NFLD 8 MC 69.44344,
D01 Greenwood NS 3 M
S01 Goose Bay NFLD 7 TC
S04 Stevenville NFLD 7 TC
S06 Halifax NS 3 TC
S08 Moncton NB 3 TC
M50 3 ere, Bagotville P.Q. 1 M
ECRS Bangor ME 5 MC in storage

1 Search/SIF, Height, G/A/G)
2 Search/SIF, Height
3 Search/SIF
4 Search/SIF, G/A/G
5 Search only
6 GATR only
7 SIF only
8 Search, G/A/G
M = Military
J = USAF/FAA joint use
MC = Military Contract
TC = Transport Canada

CAN - West Radar Sites

Canada West SOCC Radar Sites 30 Dec 1995 (edit list)
ID Site State Equip Type GPS Notes
J80 Makah AFS WA 4 J 48.37167,
R02 CFS Holberg BC 1 M 50.64028,
D10 Comox BC 3 M 49.72566,
S34 Prince George BC 3 TC
S35 Kamloops BC 3 TC 50.80222,
S36 Vancouver BC 3 TC
S37 Victoria BC 3 TC
S39 Sandspit BC 7 TC
M01 CFS Cold Lake AB 1 M 54.43487,
A21 Barter Island AK 1 MC
NA0 Shingle Point YT 1 MC
NA1 Komakuk Beach YT 8 MC
NA2 Stokes Point YT 8 MC
NA3 Tuktoyaktuk NWT 8 MC
NA4 Storm Hills NWT 8 MC
NA5 Liverpool Bay NWT 8 MC
NB0 Cape Perry NWT 1 MC
NB1 Nicholson Peninsula NWT 8 MC 69.92481,
in storage
NB2 Horton River NWT 8 MC
NB3 Keats Point NWT 8 MC
NB4 Croker River NWT 8 MC
NC0 Lady Franklin Point NWT 1 MC
NC1 Harding River NWT 8 MC
NC2 Benard Harbour NWT 8 MC
NC3 Edinburgh Island NWT 8 MC
ND0 Cambridge Bay NWT 1 MC
ND1 Cape Peel West NWT 8 MC
ND2 Sturt Point North NWT 8 MC
ND3 Jenny Lind Island NWT 8 MC
ND4 Hat Island NWT 8 MC
NE0 Sheperds Bay NWT 1 MC
NE1 Gladman Point NWT 8 MC
NE2 Gjoa Haven NWT 8 MC
NE3 Simpson Lake NWT 8 MC
NE4 Pelly Bay NWT 8 MC
NF0 Hall Beach NWT 1 MC
WCRS Mountain Home ID 5 MC

1 Search/SIF, Height, G/A/G)
2 Search/SIF, Height
3 Search/SIF
4 Search/SIF, G/A/G
5 Search only
6 GATR only
7 SIF only
8 Search, G/A/G
M = Military
J = USAF/FAA joint use
MC = Military Contract
TC = Transport Canada

North Bay Battle Control System–Fixed (BCS-F)

In 2005 the FYQ-93 system was replaced with FYQ-156 computers in a system designated as the Battle Control System–Fixed (BCS-F). This system was not placed in the underground facility but is situated in a new above ground facility near the north tunnel entrance. The new facility was originally planned to be a small operations center, but it was built as a much larger two story facility known as the North Bay Regional Air Operations Centre. Cost of this last Canadian NORAD modernization program was estimated to be $156 million.

Physical Plant

The underground complex has two separate facilities, the SAGE facility and a utilities facility both located in man made caves 600' below the surface designed to withstand a 4-megaton nuclear blast.

North Bay SAGE Direction Center DC-31 Underground Complex.

The SAGE facility is a three story, figure-eight-shaped building inside a large cave. It initially housed the masive dual SAGE FSQ-7 computers, communications equipment and support facilities for the some 400 personnel who might be sealed in during wartime.

The utilities facility provides life support and utility services to the complex. Six 750-kilowatt generators furnished backup power for the SAGE computers and the air handling equipment should the commercial power fail. Since any power failure would be catastrophic to the vacuum tube computers, two banks of batteries provided interim power while the generators picked up the load. The six 750 kw generators were replaced in the 1990s by three 1.2 megawatt generators.

Access to the two underground facilities is provided by a 6,600' North Tunnel from the air base, and a 3,150' South Tunnel. The tunnels are connected in-line so that a nuclear blast at the base would shoot down the North Tunnel and out the South Tunnel. The two main facilities were located at right angles to the tunnel and protected by three 19-ton steel blast doors.

Construction and installation of equipment and furnishings took four years, August 1959 to September 1963. The cost was estimated to be $51 million, shared by the Canadian and U.S. Governments (1/3-2/3).

Current Status

Underground Sage Direction Center abandoned for a new above ground facility on Canadian Forces Base North Bay.

Location: Canadian Forces Base North Bay near the Town of North Bay, Ontario.

Maps & Images

Lat: 46.3375 Long: -79.41167

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: .....'

See Also:


  • Winkler, David F., Searching the Skies: the Legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program, USAF Hq Air Combat Command, 1997, 192 pages, Pdf.
  • Cornett, Lloyd H. & Johnson, Mildred W., A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization (1946-1980), Office of History ADC, Peterson AFB, Colorado, 31 Dec 1980, 179 pages, Pdf.
  • Ulmann, Bernd, AN/FSQ-7:the computer that shaped the Cold War, 2014, Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG, ISBN 978-3-486-72766-1, 272 pages.


Visited: Area 28 Jun 2016

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