Martin AN/FSG-1 Antiaircraft Defense System

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Martin AN/FSG-1 Antiaircraft Defense System
Part of Army Air Defense Command Posts
at Missile Master complexes
9 states: CA IL MA MD MI NJ(2) NY PA WA
in United States
Type military command, control and coordination system
Site information
Owner United States Army
Operator Army Air Defense Command
Controlled by

tactical display subsystem with
3 tactical monitor consoles:

  • friendly protector console
  • operations officer's console
  • commander's console

tracking subsystem with

  • 6 tracking consoles
  • 2 surveillance and entry cons.
  • 2 range-height indicator cons.
  • channel status unit
computing and storage equipment
ADL transmitters and receivers

The Martin AN/FSG-1 Antiaircraft Defense System, better known as Missile Master,[5][6] was an electronic fire distribution center[7] to computerize Cold War air defense (AD) command posts[4] from manual plotting board operations[8] to automated command and control of remote surface-to-air missile (SAM) launch batteries. The 10 United States Army C3 systems used radar netting ("electronic umbrella")[9] at Missile Master military installations for coordinating ground-controlled interception by Nike and MIM-23 Hawk missiles. The vacuum tube fire control logic reduced the time to designate the appropriate missile battery to launch if an enemy target had intruded into a defense area where an AN/FSG-1 system was deployed.


AN/FSG-1 systems in 9 U.S. nuclear bunkers (large building) networked local radars and "up to 24 Nike Hercules AD missile batteries".[7]

The AN/FSG-1 was an outgrowth of the July 1945 Signal Corps' Project 414A for an electronic Air Defense Fire Distribution System (ADFDS),[10] a 1950 prototype computer and console system,[11] and the 1954 experimental forerunner/"test system"[3][12]:55 (AN/GSG-2) installed at Fort George G. Meade.[11] The 1st AN/FSG-1 was contracted in August 1955,[13] the program had been publicly announced by August 1956,[3] Missile Master sites had been selected by June 1957,[14] and the "operational"[4] AN/FSG-1 at the Fort Meade radar station was "put into action" on December 5, 1957.[15] A 13-minute AN/FSG-1 military film (MF 11-8923) was produced in 1958,[5] and Congressional funding for additional sites was initiated in 1959 after the "Missile Master Plan" resolved the Army Project Nike and USAF CIM-10 Bomarc plans for SAM air defense.[16]

During the October 1959-July 1960 study regarding the system's algorithm for Automatic Target and Battery Evaluation (ATABE),[17] the "first production model AN/FSG-1" was dedicated in January 1960 at Fort Lawton Air Force Station (AFS), Washington.[18]:313 Following installation, a checkout period, and AN/FSG-1 acceptance; a dedication ceremony was often held and open to media (e.g., May 1960 acceptance at Highlands AADS, New Jersey,[13] with June 5 dedication).[19] The "SAGE/Missile Master test program" conducted large-scale field testing of the AN/FSG-1 "mathematical model" using actual radar tracks of SAC and ADC aircraft sorties[clarification needed] into the defense areas[17] (SAC-simulated bomb runs were planned after September 22, 1960).[18]:314 The last (10th) AN/FSG-1 was dedicated in December 1960 at Fort MacArthur, California.[1]

AN/FSG-1 installations
(defense area)
AN/FSG-1 operations razed[20] CP: Brig (batteries)
MD Fort Meade December 5, 1957—August 1966[21] (no bunker) W-13DC: 35th[12]
WA Fort Lawton AFS January 21, 1960[22]—c. January 1965* 2008 [2] S-90DC
MA Fort Heath c. April 1960 [3] [19]—early 1965 1969[23] B-21DC[24]
NJ Highlands AADS May 1960[13]—November 30, 1966[18] 1995[25] NY-55DC: 52nd[8]
MI Selfridge AFB June 1960[18]—c. October 1967* 2005[26] D-15DC 
NY Lockport AFS  Jul or Aug 1960[27]—c. July 1965* bunker intact NF-17DC
NJ Pedricktown AADB *[specify]        —September 1966[8] bunker intact PH-64DC: 24th[4]
IL Arlington Heights AFS  October 28, 1960[28]—c. October 1967* bunker intact C-80DC: 45th[28]
PA Oakdale AFS November 18, 1960[29]—February 8, 1967 P-70DC: 31st[30]  
CA Fort MacArthur DC December 14, 1960 [5]<--[18]-->—January 31, 1967[32] c. 1985[33] LA-45DC: 47th [6]


With the availability of solid-state direction center (DC) equipment such as the Martin AN/GSG-6 BIRDIE deployed in 1961, the United States Department of Defense approved in December 1963 the replacement of the AN/FSG-1.[18]:317 Six were replaced with Hughes AN/TSQ-51 Air Defense Command and Coordination Systems[34] with the last replacement on February 8, 1967, at Oakdale AFS, Pennsylvania.[18]:317,320 Ft Lawton,[35] Fort Heath MA,[34] and Lockport AFS NY[36] were replaced with BIRDIEs[9] while instead of replacement, the AN/FSG-1 at Pedricktown Army Air Defense Base was removed after its defense area was incorporated[when?] into the combined New York-Philadelphia Defense Area controlled by Highlands AADS[37]—which later switched to a BIRDIE by July 1, 1972[34]:C-23 (conversely, Ft Heath & Lockport subsequently switched from BIRDIE to AN/TSQ-51).[34]


The "semiautomatic"[4]:17 AN/FSG-1 automatically plotted target tracks, evaluated missile sites for use against a target, and automated the communication with batteries.[38] The automation reduced delay "by four or five times" over the previous command post method with manual plotting,[8] review of hardcopy performance charts to estimate an intercept point, and telephone voice commands.[19] Operators at the AADCP reviewed the 19 in (48 cm)[39] orange interactive plan position indicator CRTs which displayed the AN/FSG-1 radar network's data, e.g., "14 pieces of information…height, level, priority, direction…",[40] etc. in the tiered Antiaircraft Operations Center (AAOC). The "Blue Room"[19] was recessed in a pit with a stage,[41] blue walls, blue overhead fluorescent illumination, and more than 12 blue consoles. In the rear of the AAOC was the highest "third row [with] a "friendly protector" console, three tactical monitor consoles, and a tactical director's console. The defense commander's room…at the top rear" had a window for viewing into the AAOC.[12] The AAOC crew was typically 22 soldiers and 5 company grade officers.[42]

Via an automated data link (ADL) of digital information,[4] the AN/FSG-1 communicated the identification friend or foe status from the AADCP to remote fire units where a "foe" symbol was placed "around[specify] each radar return on the scope".[43] The AN/FSG-1 assigned a Nike fire unit to a target using the same ATABE "programmed selection logic" as the USAF SAGE system, and the algorithm could be tested using a simulator (a "20-target raid…with maneuvering targets, takes approximately 1 1/4 minutes.")[17] When the AN/FSG-1 had automatically assigned a battery to a foe, a technician used the "entry stick" to alert the battery to "prepare to engage" (e.g., lock the Target Tracking Radar on the target).[31] The director's console was subsequently used to manually input the attack command, and the AN/FSG-1 transmitted[44] a change[specify] to the foe symbol at the designated fire unit[43] where the Battery Control Officer reacted to the symbol and issued the firing order to a ready[specify] missile.[7] The AN/FSG-1 also provided[clarification needed] a communication function previously performed[clarification needed] by the Interim Battery Data Link (IBDL) system which had transmitted the "missile away" notification from the firing battery to other sites, allowing "battery commanders to see which targets were being engaged by other batteries".[45]

External images
console images
AN/FSG-1 promotion booklet
Niagara console
Ft Meade consoles


  1. ^ Berhow, Mark (2005). US Strategic and Defensive Missile Systems 1950-2004. Taylor, Chris (illustrations). Osprey Publishing. p. 21. ISBN 1-84176-838-3. Retrieved 2011-09-06. 
  2. ^ "Missile Master Warns 10 Key Defense Areas" (PDF). Army Research and Development Newsmagazine. Washington 25, D.C. December 1960. Retrieved 2011-09-25. 
  3. ^ a b c "Magic in the Skies: The Missile Master" (PDF). The National Guardsman. August 1956. Retrieved 2011-09-14. A forerunner has been in experimental operation at Ft Geo G Meade, Md, for nearly two years" 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Army Air Defense Control Systems". U. S. Army Air Defense Digest. Hillman Hall, Fort Bliss, Texas: U. S. Army Air Defense School. January 1965. Retrieved 2011-09-28. The term "radar netting" (fig 43) describes the process by which track data derived from several additional or remote radars are gathered at a single center to produce an integrated set of meaningful target information  External link in |journal= (help); |chapter= ignored (help)Ch. 2, p. 17 NOTE: The p. 36 image with scrub brush ("Figure 34") titled "Missile Master" is identified differently in the text as "SAGE (fig 34)" (Texas had 3 BIRDIE command posts: Austin, Duncanville, & Sweetwater.)
  5. ^ a b AN/FSG-1 Antiaircraft Defense System. USA Signal Air Defense Engineering. 1958. Retrieved 2011-09-20. Film explains the role and operation of the Army's Missile Master System     Designed to function as the communications and intelligence center of our AA defense system NIKE practice alert with and without Missile Master     Emphasizes that it is capable of operating independently and with other weapons as well as NIKE 
  6. ^ Miller, J. M. (January 1961). The Evaluation Program for the AN/FSG-1 Antiaircraft Defense System (Report). Volume IV, Missile Master Model; Report No. 2354-29-T. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Institute of Science and Technology, The University of Michigan. 
  7. ^ a b c FM 44-1: U. S. Army Air Defense Employment (field manual). Headquarters, Department of the Army. 11 October 1965. Retrieved 2011-09-06. The Missile Master includes…defense acquisition and height-finding radars… The Missile Master may receive automatic data link input from SAGE … FM 44-10…AN/FSG-1…FM 44-13 U.S. Army Air Defense Fire Direction System, AN/MSG-4 (Missile Monitor) 
  8. ^ a b c d "AN/FSG-1 Missile Master and AN/TSQ-51 Missile Mentor". The Historic Atlantic Highlands Military Reservation (MR). Fort Tilden. November 11, 2005. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  9. ^ a b "Army Installing First of 19 Midget Missile Master Systems" (PDF). Army Research and Development Newsmagazine. Washington 25, D.C. October 1961. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  10. ^ History of Strategic Air and Ballistic Missile Defense: Volume I: 1945-1955 ( PDF). Retrieved 2011-09-13. Signal Corps formally establishes Air Defense Fire Distribution System (ADFDS) Project 414A which will lead to development of AN/FSG1 (Missile Master 
  11. ^ a b Bender, Donald E (December 1999). "The Pedricktown Missile Master Site, 1960-1966" ( website). Quarterly Newsletter. Salem County Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-09-06. A prototype system produced by the U.S. Army Signal Corps during 1950 eventually led to the deployment of the experimental Antiaircraft Defense System (AN/GSG-2) at Fort George G. Meade 
  12. ^ a b c "Missile Master Air Defense System". Radio & TV News: 54–5. March 1958. Retrieved 2011-09-26.  (page 55)
  13. ^ a b c Brown v. Jersey Central Power and Light Co. (New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division). "The power building at Highlands was "in a 25' x 17' cinderblock building, designated on the plans as "Switch Gear Room Bldg. 118." The equipment in this small building permits the missile site to switch back and forth from external commercial power to its own internal power from diesel generators. …van housing the computer"
  14. ^ "'Missile Master' Survey Completed" (PDF). Red Bank Register. Red Bank, New Jersey. May 2, 1957. p. 13. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  15. ^ "Missile Master News Release-1". ( transcript) United States Army. December 5, 1957. Retrieved 2011-09-03. 
  16. ^ "To Congress Today: Missile Master Plan is Readied" (Google News Archive). Sarasota Herald Tribune. June 12, 1959. Retrieved 2011-09-20.  (Windsor Daily Star article: Peek Slated At Missile Master Plan Retrieved 2011-09-28)
  17. ^ a b c A Survey and Summary of Mathematical and Simulation Models as Applied to Weapon System Evaluation (Report). Aeronautical Systems Division, USAF. December 1961. Retrieved 2011-09-13. Future experiments and/or tests: Data from the Phase II and Phase III NORAD SAGE/ Missile Master test program is to be used to validate the mathematical model. These are large-scale system tests employing SAC and ADC aircraft. The field test program is the responsibility of the NORAD Joint Test Force stationed at Stewart Air Force Base. …the primary object under present study is the performance of the Missile Master system with SAGE-ATABE inputs and not the SAGE system per se  (cites Miller 1961)
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Leonard, Barry (2011). History of Strategic and Ballistic Missile Defense: Volume II: 1956-1972 (Google Books). Retrieved 2011-09-29. 1963…26 September…Two ARADCOM Missile Masters phased out, leaving eight in the system. :317
  19. ^ a b c d "Base is Dedicated: 'Blue Room' at Missile Master Gives Eerie But Secure Feeling" (PDF). Red Bank Register. Red Bank, New Jersey. June 7, 1960. pp. 1–2. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 23, 2012. Retrieved 2011-09-30. RADAR SCANNER at Missile Master atop Highlands hills tells the height of aircraft or other flying objects. It is one of the smaller pieces of radar equipment. …replaces a manuel [sic] operations center at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, where Gen.Hewitt's headquarters, the 52d Artillery Brigade Air Defense, also known as "the New York Defense… In addition to the New York area, Missile Master sites are now operational in the Baltimore-Washington area, Seattle and Boston. … A Detroit installation will open this week."  (photograph caption).
  20. ^ "overhead bunker images at Arlington Heights, Lockport, & Pedricktown" (Google Maps).  Check date values in: |access-date= (help); External link in |title= (help); NOTE: The Lockport bunker is a similarly shaped building but with a different roof shape than the other bunkers (see Morris 2009).
  21. ^ Cole, Merle T. "Army Air Defense Installations in Anne Arundel County: 1950-1975". Nike Missiles. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  22. ^ "Nine Missile Sites To Be Activated" (Google News Archive). Daytona Beach Morning Journal. January 23, 1960. Retrieved 2011-09-25. One site using the electronic air defense coordinating system was placed in operation Thursday at Ft. Lawton, Wash. Another is in operation at Ft. Meade, Md., protecting the Washington-Baltimore area. The announcement said others will be set up in New York, Boston, Buffalo-Niagara, Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Philadelphia.  (the Ft Lawton operational date also identified by Leonard 2011, p. 313)
  23. ^ "Harbor Defenses of Boston (MA)". Retrieved 2011-09-13. Became a MISSILE MASTER control site in the 1950's (demolished 1969). The FAA obtained a radar site here from 1965 - 1986 
  24. ^ McGrath, John J (historian, Center of Military History) (1998–2002). "Continental Air Defense Collection" (Finding Aid). USAHEC. Retrieved 2011-09-28. Army Press Release 4 Feb 74, announcing end of CONUS Nike program with a site by site listing of sites to be closed … "When the Cold War Claimed 10 Lives in Monmouth;" "Cold War Remnant is Being Destroyed; "On Alert;" "Missile Master;" … Command Report, USARADCOM 1960, 1966; …   NOTE: The descriptions for the Fort Heath images (SC5999xx) identify the Missile Master as site ID "B-18" on August 18, 1962. The list also identifies Nike firings at Point Mugu, Fort Wainwright, Fort Richardson, Summit AK, & Fort Bliss; and has an article on the "Accidental Nike Launch at Fort Meade".
  25. ^ Gabrielan, Randall. Middletown, NJ In The 20th Century (paperback). The American Century Series. Arcadia Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 978-0-7524-1322-8. [verification needed]
  26. ^ Bateman, Tom. "Site D-15DC - Selfridge AFB/ANGB". Detroit - Cleveland Defense Area. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  27. ^ Liebing, Ralph. "History of the 2d Artillery Group (Air Defense)". Unit Histories. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  28. ^ a b Freeman, Paul (6/4/11) [2002]. "Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Illinois, Northwestern Chicago area". Archived from the original on June 22, 2011. On April 6, 1959, BG Peter Schmick, Brigade CG, announced the purchase of the land, along with plans for the construction of the Command Post, 5 radar towers and supporting buildings, to house the Missile Master. The official dedication of the nation's first [sic] operational automatic electronic weapon system to coordinate all elements of antiaircraft defense was made on October 28, 1960.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  29. ^ "Army Dedicates Missile Master, Keeps Eye On Future And ICBMS" (Google News Archive). The Pittsburgh Press. November 19, 1960. Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  30. ^ Hofstetter, Bethany. "Nike missile sites helped keep region safe during Cold War". Murrysville Star. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  31. ^ a b McNamara, Jack (December 17, 1961). "24 Hours At A Nike Site" (Google News Archive). The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 2012-03-02. 40-million-dollar Missile Master at Oakdale…18th Artillery Group, which protects Pittsburgh…rotates the "entry stick" on his console, designating a target to be tracked by radar…"prepare to engage 
  32. ^ "'Missile Mentor' to Coordinate L.A. Weapons Unveiled". Los Angeles Times (archives). February 1, 1967. Retrieved 2011-09-30.  (a different reference identifies the Ft MacArthur AN/FSG-1 was replaced in 1966: Berhow, Mark A; Gustafson, David (2011) [2002]. Fort MacArthur (PDF) (Report) (electronic ed.). Fort MacArthur Military Press. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-15. Retrieved 2011-09-13. )
  33. ^ Page, Tom; Morgan, Mark. "Nike 'Missile Master' / 'Missile Mentor' at Fort MacArthur (Site LA-45DC)". Retrieved 2011-09-13. on…Lower Reservation, east of Pacific Avenue between between [sic] 33rd and 34th Streets. 
  34. ^ a b c d McMaster, B. N., et al (December 1984). Historical Overview of the Nike Missile System (PDF) (Report). Environmental Science and Engineering, Inc. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-02. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
    *NOTE: Estimates for AN/FSG-1 dates with asterisks are from the annual July 1 maps in McMaster's report, which don't show a symbol near the Pedricktown NJ site but instead mark a Missile Master north of Philadelphia near Allentown/Bethlehem PA). Also, although Berhow 2005 claims 7 of the 10 AN/FSG-1 systems were replaced with AN/TSQ-51 systems, the maps only show 6 AN/TSQ-51 Missile Mentors in 1966 at former Missile Master sites, with Ft Heath instead shown with an AN/FSG-1 Missile Master in 1964 (near a separate Massachusetts BIRDIE), then a Ft Heath BIRDIE in 1966 & 1967, a Ft Heath Missile Mentor in 1968 & 1969, and no Ft Heath AADCP in 1970 (a Rhode Island Missile Mentor was depicted in 1970; but not in 1971.) Likewise, the report's maps show the replacement Lockport BIRDIE subsequently switched to a Missile Mentor between July 1, 1967 & July 1, 1968 (as did Homestead-Miami.)
  35. ^ Denfeld, Duane Colt (March 19, 2011). "Nike Missile Bases: Washington State Cold War Defenses" ( Essay 9711). Retrieved 2011-10-04. A BOMARC…missile installation at Paine Field, Everett, was planned but not completed. 
  36. ^ "Nike Missile Niagara Falls-Buffalo Defense Area". Nike Air Defense Missile. Retrieved 2011-10-04. 
  37. ^ "Nike Site PH-64DC Army Air Defense Command Post Pedricktown, NJ". Practice safe lunch…. November 29, 2005. Archived from the original on April 2, 2012. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  38. ^ "AN/FSG-1 Missile Master". Weapons of Mass Destruction. Federation of American Scientists. June 29, 1999. Retrieved 2011-09-27. By eliminating voice communications, this Martin-built system allowed an area commander to use all his batteries to engage up to 24 different targets. 
  39. ^ Debons, Anthony; Fried, Charles (March 31 – April 1, 1958). "Effects of Rate and Prolonged Viewing of Radar Signal Flicker" (Google books). Illumination and Visibility of Radar and Sonar Displays: Proceedings of a Symposium. Rome Air Development Center: National Academy of Science-National Research Council. LCCN 58-60044. Retrieved 2011-10-23. The present problem arose in connection with the proposed integration of the Army Missile Master System with jointly used air defense radars. … I visited the Army center having the radar scopes in question… The experiment duplicated exactly the size of scope and flicker rate.  (p. 124)
  40. ^ "Tape 11: Theodore C. Viars" (text description of NTSC Video). Camp Evans Oral Histories. c. 1998. Retrieved 2011-09-14. Gene Sheftelman, who described target information that would be displayed on a CRT with 14 pieces of information to include height, level, priority, direction from velocity vector, etc. This capability was demonstrated to military and private people concerned with Air Defense. Ted presented a paper in 1955 at the October 3-5 (Vol. XI) National Electronics Conference in Chicago on this subject. 
  41. ^ Selfridge Field, Building No. 1050… (Report). Library of Congress: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record. Retrieved 2011-09-27.  NOTE: The labels on one of the HAER floor plans are after the bunker was used for air traffic control (rooms for RAPCON, ATCALS, etc.)
  42. ^ Liebing, Ralph. "Missile Master Detachment: 2d Artillery Group; Niagara-Buffalo Air Defense". Unit Histories. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  43. ^ a b Stephens, Gary (October 1999). "Three Hours from Armageddon: Life at a Cold War Nike Missile Site". ADA Magazine Online. Retrieved 2011-10-04. The EWPB operator starts calling out and plotting hostile inbound tracks. … An AADCP-generated "foe" symbol is around each radar return on the scope. One of these symbols indicates that our battery is to engage that target. 
  44. ^ Missile Master (promotion booklet). Martin Company. Retrieved 2011-09-13. Tactical Monitor operators assign a specific target to an individual battery 
  45. ^ "Edgewood Test Veterans". October 16, 2005. Retrieved 2011-10-05.