The Cold War AEW Atlantic Barrier

“Argentia Approach, Navy 1313, 25 miles southeast, requesting your present weather.”  “Navy 1313, this is Argentia Approach, present weather 200 feet obscured; visibility one-half mile in blowing snow; wind south southwest 28, gusts to 45 knots; duty runway 25 GCA standing by on channel 17.”

“Argentia Approach, this is Navy 1313. Roger your weather; request clearance to GCA frequency.”  After another GCA approach to field minimums the pilot of Navy 1313, a radar-converted Super Constellation, completes another circuit of the North Atlantic Barrier, the seaward extension of the DEW Line.

THE BARRIER FORCE maintains a 24-hour-a-day, year-round airborne surveillance of the broad reaches of the North Atlantic Ocean. Since 1 July 1956, 10,000 such flights have taken off and landed at the U.S. Naval Station, Argentia, Newfoundland. Flight Number Ten Thousand was flown in early March.

Each completed harrier flight represents a distance greater than the Great Circle mileage from New York to Los Angeles. All the flights together represent a total of more than 23,000,000 miles, or the equivalent of 50 round trips to the moon.

The Atlantic Barrier has been one of the important components of our blueprint for defense of the North American continent against enemy attack, in which each of the armed services has played a role.

The barrier has one specific objective__to detect any surprise move against North America.

By its mere existence, the Atlantic Barrier has served as a deterrent against hostile attack by eliminating the element of surprise from any potential aggressor’s plans of attack.
NAVAL AVIATORS WHO FLY the Barrier have a tough job. To them, flying the Barrier has meant more than 120,000 hours, and 23 million miles, in the air since 1956. To the United States, it has meant safety.

The WV-2s, from which they scan 45,000 square miles of the Atlantic, look very much like their Super Constellation sister ships with the exception of a 7-foot-high, fin-like dome atop the fuselage and a massive mushroom-shaped bulge underneath, both of which contain radar antenna.

The interior of the WV-2 is a precision radar laboratory which is kept in top-notch condition with complete sets of maintenance gear stored on board to permit in-flight repairs.

In spite of the frequent sub-zero temperatures on the Atlantic Barrier, the WV-2’s cabin must be air-conditioned to offset the heat given off from the five tons of electronic equipment she carries.

Flying the Atlantic barrier

soups on

NOTE:  Can not remember anytime, a taxi was aborted.


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