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A Cold War Era, American Radar Station at Red Cliff


Logy Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove

Date Last Modified: November 14, 2015

Shortly after WWII, the Cold War was in full force and out of fear of invasion or attack, the United States Air Force (with help from the Royal Canadian Air Force) began building a number of radar stations roughly along the 50th parallel. These radar stations were known as the Pine Tree Line. In 1951 an area 10 km north of St. John's was chosen as a site for one of these sites. 

The radar base became known as the Red Cliff Air/Radar Station. Construction began here in 1951 on an AN/CPS-6B radar system, an operations building, several barracks buildings, a steam/power plant, motor pool, and several other essential buildings. It was completed and opened in 1953. Lower on the hill near the site of an American WWII gun battery, an AN/CPS-5 radar and operations building were constructed during this time as well. 


The Cold War era radar station once protected North America. Today it lies abandoned on a hill near Logy Bay. 

In charge of the Red Cliff Radar Station was the 108th AC&W Squadron who later became re-designated as the 642nd Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron in 1953. These american servicemen operated the radar which they used to record unidentified aircraft's speed, height, and direction. If an unidentified aircraft was found, the information was passed on to intercept fighter jets nearby. The base also served as a navigational aid for friendly aircraft in the area and ended up answering many search and rescue calls during its operation. Red cliff was commanded by Fort Pepperrell (located on the north shore of Quidi Vidi Lake).


Like all Pine Tree Line radar stations, Red Cliff was built to be completely self contained and self supporting. This meant the base was able to produce its own power, provide its own water and contained living quarters for personal working on the base.


In the picture above the entrance to a large underground water tank can be seen in the foreground. It still remains intact and can be climbed into by an old, metal ladder. Behind it is the remains of the power plant and fallen down steam plant. Some walls and water tank supports are still standing but for the most part it is completely fallen down.

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