A Little Background
During the Cold War the U.S. military constructed 16 Nike Missile sites around the Los Angeles area. The first one was operational in 1950 and the last one was decommissioned in 1974. Today little remains of this interesting part of L.A. defense history. Below are the 16 missile sites and a summary of what they had.
Abbreviations: AN- Army/Navy major piece of
equipment, ADA- Air Defense Artillery, BDE- Brigade, Gp-Group, HQ- headquarters,
HHB-Headquarters battery, Bn-Battalion, CAARNG- California Army National Guard.
Battery Integrated Fire Control (IFC):
Individual Nike-Ajax battery control radar equipment consisted of TTR- target tracking
radar, MTR- missile tracking radar and ACQR- acquisition radar, were located at all
batteries. Conversion of Ajax batteries to Hercules batteries added TRR-Target Ranging
Radar and a newer version of the old ACQR designated LOPAR (low power acquisition radar).
Improved Hercules systems added one of the following new radar systems: HIPAR- high power
acquisition radar or ABAR-Alternate battery acquisition radar, which may have been of
several types including; AN/FPS-75 (with modifications) issued in place of HIPAR,
AN/FPS-71 and AN/FPA-16 (which integrates FPS-71 with LOPAR), or AN/FPS-69. The different
ACQRs are noted in the table.
Army Air Defense Command Posts (AADCP): AADCP
had additional equipment for battery control to prevent multiple batteries from firing on
the same target. Los Angeles received a Missile Master unit (AN/FSG-1) in 1960 which was
later replaced by a Missile Mentor Fire Command and Control Integration Unit (AN/TSQ-51)
in 1966-67. Los Angeles also had an AN/FPS-27 (FAA) radar which was a high powered search
radar operated by the FAA and the USAF and connected to the AADCP. The AN/FPS-27 was
supplemented with a AN/FPS-6, a long ranged high power height finding radar. These radar
sets were used to help discern possible targets before they were in range of the nike
batteries. The Backup Control Center at Chatsworth consisted of a Secondary Master Fire
Unit (SMFU) which was an alternate command post and a Remote Radar Integration Station
(RRIS) which provided gap filler radar information to the Missile Mentor.
Site Designations: "IFC" denotes a
battery integrated fire control facility, "L" denotes a battery launch facility,
"R" denotes a radar facility, "H" denotes a headquarters facility,
" A" denotes an Administration site. All launch sites listed had Ajax missiles.
Only those noted as being "converted" had Hercules missiles and the appropriate
acquisition radar (either HIPAR or ABAR). The heading for each battery site contains the
following information: Defense area site number, location, year site activated, (year site
converted to Hercules), year site deactivated, number and types (A, B or C) of launch
pits, type of acquisition radar (ACQR designations for all Ajax only sites, additional
HIPAR or ABAR designations for the converted Hercules sites).
LA-04 Mt. Gleason
IFC-Located in the Angeles National Forest, 9.8
miles west of the Mill Creek Forest Station.
L&A-Located in the Angeles National Forest, 6.8
miles west of the Mill Creek Forest Station.
Both sites are currently used as correctional
Facilities by Los Angeles County. The launch site magazines have been destroyed, but
nearly all the other buildings remain.
LA-09 Barley Flats-Mt.
IFC-Mt. Disappointment, at end of fire road
L&A-Located in the Angeles National Forest, 2 miles North of Angeles Crest Highway at
Barley Flats. Launch site magazines have been destroyed, the site is currently utilized by
the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Dept. The Admin buildings remain in good shape. They were used as
a probation camp until 1992. IFC site is currently used as a radio relay station, a couple
of buildings and radar pads remain.
LA-14 El Monte (Whittier
IFC-3600 Workman Mill Road. Located on the hill
above the present Rio Hondo Police Academy.
L&A-Located at 1200/1201 Potereo Road. The
Admin site is currently a U.S. Army Reserve Center. The Launch area is located across
Potereo Rd in Whittier Narrows Park (west of the tennis center) and is used as a County
work yard. The IFC site has been destroyed and is now a radar relay station.
LA-29 Brea (Puente
IFC-Located in the Puente Hills 5 miles up Site
Drive off Central Avenue. L&A-Located in the Puente Hills approximately 5 miles up
Site Drive off Central Avenue. This battery had an AN/FPS-71 and an AN/FPA-16 ABAR unit.
These sites are currently Shell oil fields and are largely destroyed or buried.
LA-32 Stanton (Garden
IFC-Located at the corner of Katella (Peterson?)
and Knott in the city of Stanton. L&A-Located at the corner of Knott and Chapman in
Garden Grove. 11751 Western Ave. This site was evidently constructed for the protection of
the Los Alamitos Naval Air Station located just west of the Site LA32 complex. IFC site
destroyed, L&A site used by CAARNG.
Fountain Valley/1956-1957/Temp site
IFC-Located at Santa Ana Army Air Base (now John
Wayne Airport). L&A-Located at Santa Ana Army Air Base
RP-39 San Pedro Hill AFS
R-Located on San Pedro Hill off Crest Road. This
was a radar site only. This was a gap filler radar for Site LA-78Cand a NORAD radar site
with an AN/FPS-27 unit. It was manned by both Army personnel and USAF 670th RS unit. This
site still has a number of functioning radars used by the FAA and the Weather Service.
LA-40 Long Beach Airport
IFC-Located at the Southwest corner of Spring and
Clark Street at the Long Beach Airport.
L&A-Located at the Southwest corner of the Long
Beach Airport, near the intersection of Spring and Kilroy Airport Way. The IFC site has
been destroyed for a hotel development. The Launch site was used for a number of years as
an emergency communications facility for Long Beach city departments. It was recently
destroyed during the construction of the Kilroy office complex. The Admin area remains in
use by the CAARNG, but is scheduled for development.
LA-41 Long Beach (Signal Hill)/1959-1974/HQ
H-Located at 2200 Redondo Road. The site was the
HHB for the 4th Brigade of the 251st ADA (CNG). Now it is used by the California Army
National Guard 240th Signal Battalion, and for the Support Facilities of the 40th
LA-43 Ft. MacArthur-White
IFC-Constructed on top of Battery Leary-Merriam on
the Fort MacArthur Upper Reservation.
L&A-The facility is located directly below
Battery No. 127. The Admin area was built in 1963.
The HIPAR power room with its commanding view of
the Los Angeles Harbor at the IFC site, has been converted for use by the Marine Exchange.
The generator and the operations control buildings are being utilized by the Angels Gate
Cultural Center as artist studios. The various tower pads are in a state of general
disrepair, but all are present except the HIPAR tower. The launch area at White Point is
currently abandoned and sealed shut, the buildings remain but have been heavily
vandalized. The administrative area was destroyed some years ago and the area developed
for USAF housing.
LA-45 Fort MacArthur/1952-1974/AADCP
H-located on Pacific Ave. between 22nd St and 36th
St. in San Pedro. The site contained the HQs for the Los Angeles Defense Area- the 47th
ADA BDE (1952-1969), the 108th AD Group (1956-58) and later the19th ADA Group (1969-1974).
It was also the site of the HHB of the 3rd battalion of the 57th ADA and after 1968, the
HHB of the 1st battalion of the 56th ADA. It was the location of the area's Missile Master
(AN/FSG-1), and Missile Mentor (AN/TSQ-51) command centers and was connected to the NORAD
communication net which had an AN/FPS-27 (FAA) radar unit and two AN/FPS-6 radar units.
The site is now owned by the USAF. The Nike Headquarters Building 550 has been demolished.
LA-55 Palos Verdes-Pt. Vincente/1956-(1958)-1974/2B/ABAR
IFC-Located at the southeast corner of Crenshaw and
Seacrest Drive, Rancho Palos Verdes.
L&A-Located between Hawthorne and Palos Verdes
Drive, southeast of the Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall. This battery had an AN/FPS-71 and
an AN/FPA-16 ABAR radar unit. The IFC site has been destroyed and is now Del Cerro Park.
The launch site is now the maintenance yard for the city of Rancho Palos Verdes and the
administrative site is used as RPV City Hall.
LA-57 Torrance-Redondo Beach/1956-1963/1B,
IFC-Located at 1102 Camino Real, Redondo Beach.
L&A-Located behind 25225 Crenshaw Blvd. at the east end of Torrance Airport. Launch
area magazines are being used by the City of Torrance Fire Department; the all the L&A
buildings have been recently destroyed. The IFC site is now Hopkins Wilderness park, few
concrete structures remain.
LA-70 El Segundo-Hyperion/1956-1963/1B,
IFC-Located at West Pershing, near LAX
L&A-Located at 9014 Pershing Dr., Los Angeles. There were a total of 24 launchers at
this combined launch site for both LA 70 and LA 73. The Admin area is currently the home
of Jet Pets at 911 So. Falmouth Ave. The Launch area and all six magazines have been
destroyed. The IFC site has also been obliterated.
LA-73 Playa Del Rey-Hyperion/1956-1963/1B,
IFC-Located at Manchester and Redlands.
L&A-Located at 9014 Pershing Dr., Los Angeles.
The L&A area was co-located with LA70. The IFC
site is now apartments and commercial establishments.
LA-78 Malibu (Santa Monica
IFC-Located at 24666 W. Saddle Peak Road off Piume
Rd. L&A-Located at 1900 Rambla Pacifica.
Both sites are now owned by the Dept. of the
Interior. The IFC site has been extensively modified for use by various communications
equipment and radars. The L&A site is currently leased by the Los Angeles County Fire
Department. Most of the structures remain at the site, though they have been modified to
some degree. The elevators still work on all three launch platforms.
Mountain/1956-(1959)-1974/1B, 2C/HIPAR, SMFU, RRIS
IFC-Located on Oat Mountain. L&A-Located on
Brown's Canyon Road. The IFC is now the site of numerous Los Angeles Country radio relay
antennas and a PACTEL relay tower. The L&A site is under the control of the State of
California and recently (1993) was the location of a California Conservation Corps (CCC)
camp. Most of the Nike structures remain in good condition at both the IFC and L&A
IFC-Located in the Angeles National Forest off Sand
Canyon Road. L&A-about 3 miles and 1 mile, respectively, from the IFC site. This
battery had an AN/FPS-75 ABAR. The IFC and L sites are used by ITT Gilfillon as radar
sites. The Admin site is used by LA County Fire Department.
IFC-Located on San Vincente Mountain next to
Mulholland Dr. L&A-Located at 15990 Victory Blvd.
This battery had an AN/FPS-75 ABAR. The IFC site is
partially intact in San Vincente Mountain Park, the L&A site is largely intact and is
used by the California Air National Guard. A section of the launch area is used by the
Army National Guard.
LA-98 Magic Mountain-Lang
IFC-Located in the Angeles National Forest on top
of Magic Mountain. L&A-Located south of State Highway 14 in
Soledad Canyon (Lang Station). Though the battery was closed by 1963, the Admin area was
used till the early 1970s. IFC site is now used as microwave relay. The L&A site is being
used by a cement company and may be extensively modified.
Pasadena Army Support Center/1950-1963/HQ
H-located at 125 S. Grand Ave. in Pasadena. This
site was the HQ for the 12th Artillery Group and the HHB of the 1st Battalion of the 56th
ADA from 1956 to 1963. It is now a federal court building. The structures used for some of
the Nike functions were located on the hillside behind the courthouse proper.
- Designation: MIM-3A
- Weight Gross: 2,259 pounds
- Length: 392 inches
- Warheads: 3 High Explosives
- Range: 30.7 miles
- Altitude: 60,000 feet
- Speed: Mach 2.3
- Designation: MIM-14B
- Weight Gross: 10,711 pounds
- Length: 478 inches
- Warheads: 1 High Explosive or 1 Nuclear
- Range: 96.3 miles
- Altitude: 100,000 feet
- Speed: Mach 3.65
With much appreciation..."borrowed" from http://ftmac.org/