Manitoba Radar Base Transformed Into Jail   Leave a comment


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Milner Ridge Correctional Centre (MRCC) is located in the Agassiz Provincial Forest. It is a medium-security facility for approximately 115 adult males. It has four separate units. Up until 1986 it was a radar base that was part of the Pine Tree Early Warning network.

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As a result of the Cold War and with the expansion of a North American continental air defence system, The site at Beausejour, Manitoba was selected as a site for a United States Air Force (USAF) radar station, one of the many that would make up the Pinetree Line of Ground-Control Intercept (GCI) radar sites. Construction on the base began in 1952 and was completed late that year.

The base was manned by members of the USAF’s Air Defense Command (ADC) 916th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron, being known as Beausejour Air Station. In December 1952, operations began at the unit’s permanent home. The station was equipped with AN/FPS-3C, AN/FPS-502, AN/FPS-20A; AN/TPS-502, AN/FPS-6B and AN/FPS-507 radars.

As a GCI base, the 915th’s role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit’s radar scopes. These interceptors were based at Duluth, Minnesota under the 31st Air Division.

In the early 1960s, the USAF relinquished control of the base to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). This was part of an arrangement with the United States that came as a result of the cancellation of the Avro Arrow. Canada would lease 66 F-101 Voodoo fighters and take over operation of 12 Pinetree radar bases.

Upon hand-over on 1 October 1961, the operating unit was re-designated 48 Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron and the base became RCAF Station Beausejour.

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The Pinetree Line was a series of radar stations located across the northern United States and southern Canada at about the 50th parallel north, along with a number of other stations located on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Run by NORAD (after its creation), over half were manned by United States Air Force personnel with the balance operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force. The line was the first coordinated system for early detection of a Soviet bomber attack on North America.

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A rough map of the three warning lines. From north to south: Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, Mid-Canada Line, and Pinetree Line.

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Posted February 4, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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