Hanna City Air Force Station

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Hanna City Air Force Station (1952-1968) - A Cold War U.S. Air Force Radar Station established during the Korean War. Located near the town of Hanna City, Peoria County, Illinois. Initially assigned a Permanent ID of P-85 and later, a Sage ID of Z-85. The Air Force station closed in 1968 and part of it became the Hanna City FAA Radar Site.

Former Hanna City Air Force Station now Hanna City FAA Radar Site.

History

Activated on 10 May 1951 and became operational in 1952 as Hanna City Air Force Station manned by the 791st Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron.

Initial equipment included the FPS-3 search radar and one FPS-4 height-finder radar. In 1958, the FPS-3 was replaced by a FPS-20 search radar and a FPS-6A height-finder radar was added. During 1959 the AN/FPS-4 was replaced by a FPS-6B height-finder radar. This configuration (a SAGE qualified long range search radar and two SAGE qualified height-finders) met the requirements for transition to SAGE System operation.

SAGE System Transition

The transition of the manual GCI system to the automated SAGE system began with the installation of the FST-2 coordinate data transmitter and search radar upgrades. The FST-2 equipment digitized the radar returns and transmitted the digital returns to the SAGE direction center. Under the SAGE System, interceptor aircraft were directed to their targets by the direction center computers and controllers, greatly reducing the need for local controllers and equipment at every radar station.

The FST-2 was a very large digital system using vacuum tube technology. Over 6900 vacuum tubes were used in each FST-2 requiring 21 air-conditioned cabinets, 40 tons of air conditioning, 43.5 kva of prime power and usually a large new addition to the operations building. The FST-2B modification added two more cabinets but with newer solid state (transistor) technology to process coded responses from aircraft transponders.

SAGE System Operation

Hanna City SAGE Direction Centers & Sectors
Assigned Direction Center Sector
1 Jun 1959 - 1 Apr 1966 Truax SAGE Direction Center DC-07 Chicago Air Defense Sector
1 Apr 1966 - 1 Dec 1967 Truax SAGE Direction Center DC-07 20th Air Division
1 Dec 1967 - 18 Jun 1968 Sioux City SAGE Direction Center DC-22 30th Air Division

The site began operation as a SAGE site in 1959 initially feeding the Truax SAGE Direction Center DC-07. On 1 Nov 1959 the squadron designation was changed from the 791st AC&W Squadron to 791st Radar Squadron (SAGE) indicating the new SAGE System role. With the closure of the Truax SAGE Direction Center DC-07 in 1967 control was assumed by the Sioux City SAGE Direction Center DC-22 until Hanna City AFS closed in 1968.

Circa 1963 the FPS-20A was upgraded to become a FPS-67, and a FPS-90 height-finder replaced the FPS-6B height-finder radar. The FPS-67 was upgraded to an FPS-67B in 1968. The FPS-6A was removed some time in this time frame. The final equipment configuration when the site closed included one FPS-67B search radar and one FPS-90 height-finder radar.

Closure

Hanna City AFS and the 791st were deactivated on 18 Jun 1968 and the site was closed on 30 Jun 1968. The entire radar site was declared excess to the General Services Administration (GSA) on 28 Jan 1969 and conveyed to Department of Health, Education and Welfare (DEHW) on 8 Aug 1969 except for 1.03 acres ceded to the FAA and .514 acres ceded to the Village of Hanna City along with 2.85 acres of easements (water system related).

Opened in 1969 as the Illinois Youth Center and in 1983, converted to an Adult Work Camp as a satellite of the Logan Correctional Center, Lincoln, Illinois housing adult male felons. The Work Camp closed in October 2002 and the state of Illinois turned over the site to Peoria County in 2009. The site was occasionally being used for training of Peoria County Sheriff's Office Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team training.

The FAA radar site remains in operation.

Hanna City FAA Radar Site

The FAA requested on 31 Oct 1968 that 1.03 acres of the reservation, including the search radar tower and four buildings, be transferred to them for use as a FAA radar site (FAA Location Code QUZ). The FAA continued to use the FPS-67B until it was upgraded to a Common Air Route Surveillance Radar (CARSR) minimally attended radar. See the Hanna City FAA Radar Site page.

Gap Fillers

Hanna City AFS was not responsible for the maintenance of any remote unattended gap-filler radar sites. Three gap-filler sites were planned but none were built. The planned Hanna City AFS gap-filler radars were to be located at Walnut IL, Pleasantview IL and Sibley IL.

Physical Plant

The physical plant of the site was divided into the main site, a cantonment area, two housing areas and two radio sites. The main site housed the operations buildings, the radar towers, and the backup generators. The cantonment area housed the enlisted barracks, the bachelor officer's quarters, the orderly room, the dining hall, the motor pool and other support buildings.

At the entrance to the main site was a small 9 unit housing area for married personnel. An additional 20 housing units were available in a housing annex in nearby Hanna City on what is now N. Carole Street. These units and some additional units were U.S. Navy property. The whole complex appears to be rebuilt now as low income senior housing.

A separate radio site housed the radio equipment for directing aircraft intercepts. Like most early radar stations, Hanna City originally had a radio transmitter site and a separate radio receiver site used by local controllers for voice direction of fighter interceptors to their targets. With the SAGE System, the SAGE Direction centers had the primary task of directing intercepts and the local radio sites were reconfigured, usually into a single site that was known as the Ground to Air Transmitter Receiver (GATR) site. The GATR site communicated with the interceptors from either the local site or the SAGE direction center via voice commands and/or a digital data link.


Hanna City AFS Major Equipment List
Search Radar HF Radar Data Systems Radio
Unit Designations
  • 791st Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron (1952-1959)
  • 791st Radar Squadron (SAGE) (1959-1968)
791st Assignments
  • 10 May 1951 - Activated at Hanna City AFS, IL, assigned to 543rd AC&W Gp.
  • Jul 1951 - Transferred to 159th.
  • 6 Feb 1952 - Transferred to 31st AD.
  • 1 Mar 1956 - Transferred to 20th AD.
  • 15 Oct 58 - Transferred to 37th AD.
  • 1 Apr 1959 - Transferred to 30th AD.
  • 1 Jun 1959 - Transferred to Chicago ADS. Truax SAGE Direction Center DC-07
  • 1 Nov 1959 - Redesignated from AC&W Squadron to 791st Radar Squadron (SAGE).
  • 1 Apr 1966 - Transferred to 20th AD. Truax SAGE Direction Center DC-07
  • 1 Dec 1967 - Reassigned to 30th AD. Sioux City SAGE Direction Center DC-22
  • 18 Jun 1968 - Discontinued.


Hanna City Air Force Station Partial Commanders List (edit list)
Assumed Relieved Rank Name Cullum Notes
1951-05-10 1952~ Major Egan, John C. N/A
1952~ Major Gentry, John H. N/A
1958 1959 Major Tomchak, Howard M. N/A
1959~ Major Davidson, F. R. N/A

Note: Reported dates may overlap and may be incorrect or reflect periods of intermittent temporary command.

Current Status

The majority of the property is owned by the county and is currenty not in use. Many of the original Air Force buildings remain, modified by various interim users. A small 1 acre area is currently still in use as Hanna City FAA Radar Site with one CARSR 3D radar set enclosed in a radome.

The 9 housing units at the entrance to the AFS appear to be occupied by private owners. The 20 unit housing annex in Hanna City appears to have been leveled.


Location: 14617 W. Farmington Rd., Hanna City in Peoria County, Illinois. Zoom out to see housing annex map point in Hana City.

Maps & Images

Lat: 40.69889 Long: -89.82583

See Also:

Sources:

  • 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 170.
  • Winkler, David F., Searching the Skies: the Legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program, USAF Hq Air Combat Command, 1997, 192 pages, Pdf, page 113.
  • USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) Database Entry: 2087682

Links:

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