Hamilton Manual Direction Center P-48

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Hamilton Manual Direction Center P-48 (1955-1966) - A Cold War Manual System Direction Center first established in 1955 on Hamilton Air Force Base, Novato, Marin County, California. Named Hamilton Manual Direction Center after the location. Assigned a Permanent System ID of P-48. Deactivated as a Manual Direction Center in 1959 and converted to a Manual Combat Center (MCC-6) in 1962. Reconfigured as a SAGE System Combat Center (SCC-5) in 1966 using BUIC II computer equipment. Closed in 1969.

Hamilton Manual Air-Defense Control Center (P-48) (1955-1959)

Established in 1955 and became operational in 1955 as Hamilton Manual Direction Center (ADCC) P-48.

The Manual System Command Centers were based on the standardized AC&W infrastructure site design of the Chicago design firm of Holabird, Root & Burgee. These designs dated to 1949 but construction did not begin on any facilities until after the beginning of the Korean War. At system completion, 16 of these command centers were built. The Command Center was designated as a Type 4 Site while the most common operations center configuration at the AC&W radar sites was the Type 2. The Type 2 Operations Center had similar characteristics to the Type 4 Direction Center except the operations centers were single story. The site designs included, where appropriate, a power plant, an administrative building and one or two radomes all incorporated into a secure compound. The Command Centers and the Operations Centers can be easily identified by a small louvered ventilation tower that rises above the roof.

Key features of the Type 4 Manual Control Center
  • Reinforced concrete column-and-beam structure, oversized columns and thick beams
  • Flat, reinforced concrete roof (thick)
  • Double concrete-block exterior walls, with intervening airspace
  • Four-inch thick interior concrete-block walls
  • Heavily protected communications cable trenches
  • Exterior pilasters (reinforcing strengthening)
  • Windowless
  • Outer- and inner-lock rooms
  • Air baffles and chemical filter banks
  • Pressurized interior air system (air conditioning)
  • Ventilation shaft (tower)
  • Clean- and contaminated-clothes areas, with disinfector
  • Decontamination showers
  • Gas-proof clothes chutes
  • Communications, code equipment, and message rooms
  • Two-story, open central operations room with balcony glassed-in observation cubicles
  • War room
  • Associated administrative building (type 3 station), power plant, and radomes

The Manual System Direction Centers did not survive the transition into the SAGE System because they were far too small for the massive SAGE computers and consoles and did not have big enough power or HVAC plants. The radar site Type 2 operations centers did survive into the SAGE System but each one required the construction of an attached SAGE Annex for the large FST-2 computer system and later additions were necessary for those chosen as BUIC Sites.

Hamilton Manual Combat Center (MCC-6) (1962-1966)

With the activation of the SAGE System, the Hamilton Manual Direction Center P-48 closed down and the facility was converted into a Manual Combat Center using just SAGE System displays (no FSQ-7/8 Computer) remoted from the Stead SAGE Direction Center DC-16. The Hamilton Remote Combat Center became operational in June 1962.

The Stead SAGE Direction Center DC-16 was deactivated on 1 Apr 1966. From 1 Apr 1966 to 1 Jul 1966, the combat center at Hamilton operated in a manual configuration while new equipment was installed.

Hamilton SAGE Combat Center (SCC-5) (1966-1969)

The Manual Combat Center (MCC-6) was replaced by a SAGE Combat Center (SCC-5) on 1 Apr 1966 in the same blockhouse. Data was fed to the NORAD SAGE Combat Center (SCC-5) blockhouse at Hamilton AFB via the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system. Instead of an FSQ-8 computer, the Hamilton SAGE Combat Center used a three-string GSA-51 BUIC II computer system (minus BUIC consols). SCC-5 started initial operation on 1 April 1966.


Headquarters Western NORAD Region was inactivated at Hamilton Air Force Base on 31 Dec 1969 and the Hamilton SAGE Combat Center (SCC-5) was deactivated.

Hamilton Manual Direction Center P-48 Radar Sites (edit list)
Location Type State Unit ADC NORAD JSS From To GPS Notes
Red Bluff AFS CA 859th SM-157 Z-157 1956-00-00 1959-03-01 40.14636,
Keno AFS OR 827th TM-180 Z-180 1958-09-00 1959-03-01 42.06889,
Klamath AFS CA 777th P-33 Z-33 1952-02-06 1959-03-01 41.55917,
Tonopah AFS NV 866th SM-164 Z-164 1954-11-08 1960-07-01 38.05167,
Fallon AFS NV 858th SM-156 Z-156 1956-05-00 1960-07-01 39.40735,
Winnemucca AFS NV 658th M-127 Z-127 1953-06-20 1960-07-01 41.01111,

Current Status

The original Manual Direction Center building was leveled and the area it occupied is now overbuilt with houses.

Location: Hamilton Air Force Base, Novato, Marin County, California.

Map Links for Lat/Lon 38.05444,-122.51569 Bing ACME WikiMapia Other
  • Elevation: 72'

See Also:


  • 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, page 34.
  • 1965 NORAD CONAD History Jul-Dec 1965, page 8, 25-26.
  • 1966 NORAD CONAD History Jan-Dec 1966, page 9.
  • Weitze, Karen J., Ph.D., Cold War Infrastructure for Air Defense: The Fighter and Command Missions, Prepared for Headquarters, Air Combat Command Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, Nov 1999, Contract DACA63-98-P-1363 United States Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District, 167 pages, Pdf
  • USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 2087561


Visited: 2 May 2019, 10 Sep 2017

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