I wonder how many of the kids today could run our old radar system…

Tubes, manually tuned ‘maggie’, old school stuff. No fancy joysticks or anything else…

And a recce question… Where is this?

Answer below the fold.

Chagos Archipelago, better known as Diego Garcia. Flew from there back in the mid-70s when it was just starting to be built up by the Seabees. Hooches on the beach!


TBT… — 23 Comments

  1. Diego Garcia is pretty important as we have little physical base capacity in the Indian Ocean

  2. I spent one, long night there back in ’83. The Carl Vinson was steaming past Diego on our way to the Gulf of Aden (Yankee Station). The tape degauser in the ASW mod was broken. There was going to be a very limited number of helo flights into DG, so the chief asked for a volunteer to go ashore and refurbish our tapes at the operations center. The good part. One night ashore with access to a steak dinner and a beer. The bad part. Having to carry a 200+ pound duffel bag filled with 15 inch magnetic tapes then spend the day erasing and cleaning tapes. Then spending the night in the “transient” barracks which consisted of a raised platform with a roof and wrapped in mosquito netting. I spent the night facing off against some giant beetle with 3″ long pincers about who was going to get which bunk.

    • “Chucky V” veteran here, too. ’89 to ’94 was my tour. I finished my five as a CTO3. We had a hand-held degausser for our magnetic tapes in our SCIF (SSES). The SCIF was directly across from the Captains in-port cabin in the blue tile area (officers’ country), hence my screen name.

      Blue Tile Spook

  3. Dang. My thought above the fold was Kwajalein, but not enough radomes and structures, let alone housing. Good picture.

    How many of today’s kids could be patient and allow the beast to finish warming up first, after flicking the power switches (in correct order)?

    • Kwajalein is the largest atoll in the Pacific. You can only see Carlos island to the west and Little Buster, Big Buster and Ebeye to the north.

      The troops on Kwajalein Island heard the torpedo magazine on Roi-Namur blow up when some clever Marine proved that, yes, marines can break anything, especially when using a satchel charge or bangalore torpedo.

  4. My detailer offered me DG in the mid 70’s,I ended up at Roosy Roads instead. Dodged that bullet.

  5. APS-80? I played with the APS-96. Same ash trays, though. Bet you donโ€™t see those installed any more. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. The electronics? Piece a cake; put your quarter in the side, pull the lever on the other side, and hope you get three lemons!


    I would have loved to play with such toys myself…

  7. jrg- It was ‘classified’ for a number of years…

    SPQR- Excellent point, and the reason it exists.

    Ray- LOL, who won, you or the palmetto bug?

    PK- Snerk, good point. Instant on it was NOT!

    Steve- It was a hardship tour, if I remember right. 18 months vs. 3 years.

    Phil- APS-20.

    Glen- LOL

    WSF- It was fairly ‘easy’ once you learned the sequences… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Be still my heart… Sights from the good ol’ days. I spent a lot of time on that panel. Ever changed the magnetron in an APS-20? I have. And the display, I can’t remember the nomenclature, but that looks like it’s from a P-2. I was in the last active duty Patrol Squadron to fly them, we transitioned to the P-3B in ’69. Ahhh, air conditioning on the ramp at Cam Ranh Bay. Heaven…

  9. “I wonder how many of the kids today could run our old radar systemโ€ฆ”

    Send them to the same schools you went to and I’m sure most of them would do just fine.

    • I’m a little curious if there are many ‘kids’ who could design the thing. It isn’t like we’ve stopped training radar engineers, the students should include a few who are interested in older technology.

      My guess is that the contracts for the thing weren’t awarded to all the same company, and that the companies did not assign the work to single person engineering teams. Hence, the organizational, institutional, and the bureaucratic aspects of the design are probably not something that a modern would have the background to recreate.

      Would be interesting to see what could be done.

  10. In regards to the radar unit, how many could operate it when it was ‘new’ and working?

    As to the Diego, thought it might be Tarawa, bloody Tarawa but…

    At least when we artificialize an existing island, ours don’t fall apart, unlike the ChiComs.

  11. Flugel- Figured you’d recognize it… ๐Ÿ˜€

    Roy- I’m not sure they would have the ‘patience’ to sit in front of an instructor and learn it without a computer…

    Bob- No idea.

    Beans- It took a while, at least to do it well! And true, DG is still solid as are the buildings and runways.

  12. First saw it on a det in early 1974 on our way to Bandar Abbas Iran. Chasing the Russians newly created Indian Ocean Squadron. Interesting days back then in VP-22

  13. I’m thinking the kids would do just fine with a bit of training.
    Navy daughter was flying in & out of DG quite a few times, but couldn’t say so at the time. We had a mom daughter code for those times. Jeez haven’t thought about in years.

    • It’s amazing all the family codes that people created to get info back and forth during supposedly seeeeecret missions.

  14. AX3- Oh yeah, always ‘fun’ back then!

    Brig- If they’d sit still long enough… LOL Yep, know what you mean.

  15. I’ve still got some “maggie-magnets” from my days in the Coast Guard. That pic predates me though… Maybe not… The Coast Guard was always forced to buy from the Navy and Air Force yard sales to operate…

  16. I was there courtesy of the Destroyer Fleet , all 1 of us! The USS H.J. Ellison DD864. Playing with the DASH helos for a week. Wound up to be the usual fiasco.

  17. Tom- We had to buy USAF cast offs from DMRO to get stuff too…

    Ev- Yep, that is a hilarious story!