Hanna City Air Force Station
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Note: Reported dates may overlap and may be incorrect or reflect periods of intermittent temporary command.
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.