During the Cold War there were many aspects to the air defense of Canada and the United States. Most of the public did not know of these sites or duties, but they were a 24/7 operation and a vital part of the air defense network. Nike Missile Systems were the last line of defense and were placed around strategic targets or large cities, which had strategic value. The Nike Historical Society would like to recognize our "brothers-in-arms" , both American and Canadian, who were part of the air defense network.
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BALLISTIC MISSILE EARLY WARNING SYSTEM OR BMEWS
A picket line of Air Force radar installations stretching from Alaska to Great Brittan, which watched the skies for any ballistic missile launch from the then Soviet Union.
THE DEW LINE
The Distant Early Warning Line was a chain of Air Force radar installation stretching across the Artic Circle. Most of these sites were very remote, yet they played a vital role in detecting any flights of Soviet aircraft. The DEW Line was the first line of defense for air breathing aircraft destined to attack the United States or Canada.
MID CANADA LINE
The Mid-Canada Line was a second line of radar installations which ran across the middle of Canada. They too supplied the United States and Canada with information on attacking Soviet Aircraft.
PINE TREE LINE
The Pine Tree Line was a line of radar installations that ran in Canada from the Pacific Coast to its Atlantic Coast then headed Northward through Nova Scotia ending at Frobisher Bay.
These were a series of three radar platforms, located of the Eastern coast of the United States. They looked similar to modern day oil drilling platforms, but contained long range surveillance radars. The Air Force personnel, who manned these towers, scanned the skies for Soviet aircraft attempting to attack the United States over water.
NAVY PICKET SHIPS
Navy Picket Ships patrolled the waters off of our East and West coasts. They were radar platforms, which scanned the skies for any approaching Soviet aircraft.
Willy Victors were Navy patrol aircraft which flew off of the West and East coast of the United States. These aircraft were also radar platforms which searched the skies for any attacking aircraft.
AIR FORCE CONNIES
The Air Force had patrol aircraft that flew specific mission as radar pickets as well as intelligence gathering platforms. Just like the Willy Victors, these aircraft were in the sky 24/7 around the world.
AIR FORCE SAGE SITES
Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) was a complex of Air Force radar sites, located within the United States. Not only were these radar surveillance sits, but their powerful computers could calculate and predict and enemy's course of action during an actual attack.
AIR FORCE BOMARCS
Air Force Bomarc Missiles were long-range air defense missiles. They were used primarily as a second line of defense, with fighters being the first line. They were guided to the proximity of the target by radar ground installation, then their own "built-in" detection systems would guide them to the target.
ARMY - AIR FORCE JOINT SITES
Joint U.S. Army and Air Force air defense installations which housed an Army AADCAP and Air Force SAGE site.
NORTH AMERICAN AIR DEFENSE COMMAND (NORAD)