Havre Air Force Station
|Havre Air Force Station|
|Part of Air Defense Command (ADC)|
|Type||Air Force Station|
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
|Garrison||778th Air Defense Group, 778th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron (later 778th Radar Squadron)|
Havre Air Force Station (ADC ID: P-25, NORAD ID: Z-25) is a closed United States Air Force General Surveillance Radar station. It is located 26 miles (42 km) north-northwest of Havre, Montana. It was closed in 1979.
In late 1951 Air Defense Command selected Simpson, Montana as a site for one of twenty-eight radar stations built as part of the second segment of the permanent radar surveillance network. Prompted by the start of the Korean War, on July 11, 1950, the Secretary of the Air Force asked the Secretary of Defense for approval to expedite construction of the second segment of the permanent network. Receiving the Defense Secretary’s approval on July 21, the Air Force directed the United States Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with construction.
On 1 March 1951 the 778th Aircraft control and Warning Squadron was activated at Simpson and began operating AN/FPS-3 and AN/FPS-4 radars. Initially the station functioned as a ground control intercept (GCI) and warning station. As a GCI station, the squadron's role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit's radar scopes. The site was renamed Havre Air Force Station on 1 December 1953. The Air Force added an AN/GPS-3 c. late 1958 that stayed until 1965.
During 1961 Havre AFS joined the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, initially feeding data to DC-20 at Malmstrom AFB, Montana. After joining, the squadron was redesignated as the 778th Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 1 March 1961. The radar squadron provided information 24/7 the SAGE Direction Center where it was analyzed to determine range, direction altitude speed and whether or not aircraft were friendly or hostile. On 31 July 1963, the site was redesignated as NORAD ID Z-25.
In the early 1960s AN/FPS-6 and AN/FPS-6B radars took over height-finder duties. The AN/FPS-6B was upgraded to an AN/FPS-90 in 1964; it was deactivated in 1969. In 1965 an AN/FPS-27 replaced the AN/GPS-3 as the search radar.
In addition to the main facility, Havre operated two AN/FPS-18 Gap Filler sites:
- Galata, MT (P-25A)
- Hogeland, MT (P-25B)
Over the years, the equipment at the station was upgraded or modified to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the information gathered by the radars. The 778th Radar Sq was inactivated and replaced by the 778th Air Defense Group in March 1970. The upgrade to group status was done because of Havre AFS' status as a Backup Interceptor Control (BUIC) site. BUIC sites were alternate control sites in the event that SAGE Direction Centers became disabled and unable to control interceptor aircraft. The group was inactivated and replaced by the 778th Radar Squadron. as defenses against manned bombers were reduced. The group was disbanded in 1984. Havre AFS ceased operations on 1 July 1979 with the inactivation of Aerospace Defense Command. The 778th Radar Squadron was inactivated on 28 September 1979.
The station was re-opened in 1986 as a SAC electronic bomb scoring site. Closed again in the mid/late 1990s. In 199 the station was home to the Anchor Academy, a school for troubled teenage boys, but now that is closed. Today, the former Havre Air Force Station is largely abandoned. A few homes remain in the former military housing area are used as private residences.
Air Force units and assignments
- Constituted as 778th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron
- Activated 1 March 1951 at Simpson, Montana
- Site renamed Havre Air Force Station on 1 December 1953
- Redesignated 778th Radar Squadron (SAGE) on 1 March 1961
- Inactivated on 1 March 1970
- Redesignated 778th Radar Squadron on 1 January 1974
- Activated on 17 January 1974
- Inactivated on 29 September 1979
- Constituted as 778th Air Defense Group on 13 February 1970
- Activated on 1 March 1970
- Inactivated on 17 January 1974
- Disbanded on 21 September 1984
- 545th Aircraft Control and Warning Group, 1 March 1951
- 29th Air Division, 6 February 1952
- Great Falls Air Defense Sector, 1 July 1960
- 28th Air Division, 1 April 1966
- 24th Air Division, 19 November 1969 - 29 September 1979
- 778th Radar Squadron
- Maj. Lowell D. Covington, unknown - 1 Mar 1970
- 778th Air Defense Group
- Maj. Lowell D. Covington, 1 Mar 1970 - unknown
- List of USAF Aerospace Defense Command General Surveillance Radar Stations
- List of United States Air Force aircraft control and warning squadrons
- Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980. Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. p. 167.
- Cornett & Johnson, p.86
- Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 575q, 27 Sep 1984, Subject: Disbandment of Units
- Abstract, History of 778th Air Defense Group, Jan 1970-Mar 1970 (accessed 13 Jan 2012)
- Grant, C.L., The Development of Continental Air Defense to 1 September 1954, (1961), USAF Historical Study No. 126
- Leonard, Barry (2009). History of Strategic Air and Ballistic Missile Defense. Vol I. 1945-1955. Fort McNair, DC: Center for Military History. ISBN 9781437921311.
- Leonard, Barry (2009). History of Strategic Air and Ballistic Missile Defense. , Vol II, 1955-1972. Fort McNair, DC: Center for Military History. ISBN 9781437921311.
- Winkler, David F.; Webster, Julie L (1997). Searching the skies: The legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program. Champaign, IL: US Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories. LCCN 9720912 Check
- Information for Havre AFS, MT