Kirtland Manual Direction Center P-41

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Kirtland Manual Direction Center P-41 (1951-1960) - A Cold War Manual System Direction Center first established in 1951 on Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, New Mexico. Assigned a Permanent System ID of P-41. Deactivated as a Manual Direction Center circa 1960.

Kirtland Manual Direction Center Generator Building.
Kirtland Manual Direction Center Right Side Detail. The large structure in the background is a different building.
Kirtland Manual Direction Center P-41


Established and became operational on 5 Jan 1951 as Kirtland Manual Direction Center P-41 assigned to Western Air Defense Force. Transferred to Central Air Defense Force on 16 Feb 1953.

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.

The Kirtland Manual Direction Center P-41 remained operational as a part of the 34th Air Division until the 34th was inactivated on 1 Jan 1960. The 34th mission, personnel, and equipment were transferred to the Albuquerque Air Defense Sector (AADS) under the 33rd Air Division on 1 Jan 1960.

On 1 Nov 1960, the AADS was inactivated without gaining operational status as a SAGE System sector because a SAGE System direction center had been planned for Kirtland AFB but was never built. All of the remaining AC&W (AC&W) Squadrons under the 33rd were transferred to the Oklahoma City Air Defense Sector.

Kirtland Manual Direction Center P-41 Radar Sites (edit list)
Location Type State Unit ADC NORAD JSS From To GPS Notes
Ajo AFS AZ 612th TM-181 1958 1960 32.43111,
Mount Lemon AFS AZ 684th M-092 1956 1960 32.44167,
Winslow AFS AZ 904th M-093 1955 1960 35.08028,
Las Cruces AFS NM 685th M-095 1955 1960 32.25944,
Walker AFB NM 686th M-090 1953 1960 33.30922,
West Mesa AFS NM 687th M-094 1954 1960 35.07170,
Moriarty AFS NM 768th P-51 1951 1960 35.03056,
Tierra Amarilla AFS NM 767th P-08 1951 1959 36.62361,
Continental Divide AFS NM 769th P-07 1951 1960 35.38917,
Pyote AFS TX 697th TM-186 1956 1960 31.47778,
Sweetwater AFS TX 683rd M-089 1960 1960 32.46333,
Amarillo AFB TX 688th M-088 1960 1960 35.24611,
Ozona AFS TX 732nd TM-187 1960 1960 30.70417,

Current Status

The Manual Direction Center building is now repurposed as building 909 on Kirtland Air Force Base.

Location: Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, New Mexico.

Maps & Images

Lat: 35.05325 Long: -106.58774

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 5,348'

GPS Locations:

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 66.
  • 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


Visited: 24 Aug 2019

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