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Distant Early Warning Line


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#1 SJS

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 12:41 AM

I'm guessing this is what the song's title is based on?  I had never heard of this until today.

 

Distant_Early_Warning_Line_and_Distant_E800px-Dew_line_1960.jpg

 

More here

 

The Distant Early Warning Line, also known as the DEW Line or Early Warning Line, was a system of radar stations in the far northern Arctic region of Canada, with additional stations along the North Coast and Aleutian Islands of Alaska, in addition to the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Iceland. It was set up to detect incoming Soviet bombers during the Cold War, and provide early warning of any sea-and-land invasion.

The DEW Line was the northernmost and most capable of three radar lines in Canada and Alaska. The first of these was the joint Canadian-US Pinetree Line, which ran from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island just north of the Canadian border, but even while it was being built there were concerns that it would not provide enough warning time to launch an effective counterattack. The Mid-Canada Line (MCL) was proposed as an inexpensive solution using a new type of radar. This provided a "trip wire" warning located roughly at the 55th parallel, giving commanders ample warning time, but little information on the targets or their exact location. The MCL proved largely useless in practice, as the radar return of flocks of birds overwhelmed signals from aircraft.

The DEW Line was proposed as a solution to both of these problems, using conventional radar systems that could both detect and characterize an attack, while being located far to the north where they would offer hours of advanced warning. This would not only provide ample time for the defenses to prepare, but also allow the Strategic Air Command to get its active aircraft airborne long before Soviet bombers could reach their bases. The need was considered critical and the construction was given the highest national priorities. Advanced site preparation began in December 1954, and the construction was carried out in a massive logistical operation that took place mostly during the summer months when the sites could be reached by ships. The 63-base Line reached operational status in 1957. The MCL was shut down in the early 1960s, and much of the Pinetree line was given over to civilian use.

In 1985, as part of the "Shamrock Summit", the US and Canada agreed to transition DEW to a new system known as the North Warning System (NWS). Beginning in 1988, most of the original DEW stations were deactivated, while a small number were upgraded with all-new equipment.[1] The official handover from DEW to NWS took place on 15 July 1993.


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#2 RushDoggie

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 04:48 AM

woah.


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#3 MrSkeptic

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 05:07 AM

Interesting. Maybe because I was in the military (pacifically, the Aero Force), I knew about the DEW Line a long time ago and pretty much figured that's what the song was about. shrug.gif


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#4 Slim

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 09:02 AM

I knew about it as well though I'd never thought of the song being about it exactly, more referring to it for metaphorical purposes.

 

Similar facilities exist elsewhere in the world. About thirty miles down the coast from my home town in the NE of England there's a place called RAF Fylingdales, high in the North York Moors and about 7 miles from the North Sea. Visible there from many miles around were three huge, spherical, white radomes intended to provide a "four minute warning" of incoming ICBMs from the Soviet Union.

 

 

I always found them peculiarly creepy whenever we'd drive past them, obtruding incongruously from the surrounding rural landscape up in the hills like a giant's golf balls. They were demolished years ago and replaced by a more discreet and (no doubt) even more sensitive system at the same location which fulfils exactly the same purpose today, over half a century after the first radomes were installed.

 

1280px-Radar_RAF_Fylingdales.jpg



#5 baldiepete

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 09:39 AM

I knew about it as well though I'd never thought of the song being about it exactly, more referring to it for metaphorical purposes.

 

Similar facilities exist elsewhere in the world. About thirty miles down the coast from my home town in the NE of England there's a place called RAF Fylingdales, high in the North York Moors and about 7 miles from the North Sea. Visible there from many miles around were three huge, spherical, white radomes intended to provide a "four minute warning" of incoming ICBMs from the Soviet Union.

 

 

I always found them peculiarly creepy whenever we'd drive past them, obtruding incongruously from the surrounding rural landscape up in the hills like a giant's golf balls. They were demolished years ago and replaced by a more discreet and (no doubt) even more sensitive system at the same location which fulfils exactly the same purpose today, over half a century after the first radomes were installed.

 

1280px-Radar_RAF_Fylingdales.jpg

 

 

As well as the visibility of the radar installations I think it might also have been better known in this country as a consequence of the active anti-nuclear movement here in the 70's and 80's with the protests about the stationing of cruise missiles at RAF Greenham Common and Trident submarines at Faslane. They were regularly covered by the print and broadcast media so people were quite well informed about nuclear issues.



#6 Slim

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 10:08 AM

As well as the visibility of the radar installations I think it might also have been better known in this country as a consequence of the active anti-nuclear movement here in the 70's and 80's with the protests about the stationing of cruise missiles at RAF Greenham Common and Trident submarines at Faslane. They were regularly covered by the print and broadcast media so people were quite well informed about nuclear issues.

 

That's true, but the authorities weren't guarded or coy about the existence of these places. There was a short Public Information Film that was shown quite often on TV in the North East in the early '70s, usually on a Sunday as I recall, about Fylingdales and the early warning system.

 

How typical of CND though that they didn't merely object to our having nuclear weapons. They didn't want us to know when the Russians had fired their own nuclear weapons at us, either.



#7 Three Eyes

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 03:57 PM

Beginning in 1988, most of the original DEW stations were deactivated

 

Oh no! In less than four years, Rush's DEW had become obsolete, obsolete, obsolete!


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#8 Three Eyes

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 03:59 PM

Interesting. Maybe because I was in the military (pacifically, the Aero Force), I knew about the DEW Line a long time ago and pretty much figured that's what the song was about. shrug.gif

 

I'm surprised. Thought it was common Rush fan knowledge. I believe they mentioned it in articles at the time.


Hey there goes Alex. He's loaded with money. Wow he's really set himself up great.


#9 Moving Target

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 05:13 PM

I'm surprised. Thought it was common Rush fan knowledge. I believe they mentioned it in articles at the time.

 

I just thought it was some sort of metaphor.  Still have little idea what that song is about.  I like it though.



#10 chemistry1973

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 05:52 PM

LA55L.jpg

 

This is an old picture of a Nike anti-aircraft/anti-ICBM installation - probably a mile or 2 from my home. I believe this is from the 1950s.

 

I find the cold war endlessly fascinating. My dad is a former naval aviator, so I got 100s of stories from him throughout my childhood (and I get them now). It was an exciting and extremely dangerous era. The cold war wasn't a standoff either. We were actively antagonizing the Eastern Bloc, and vice versa. We fought many proxy wars throughout those decades, not to mention Korea and Vietnam.

 

 

 

Here it is now:

 

6b3091e2-bad3-42d2-8131-0d8e6787b8b6.jpg

 

From Wiki:

 

Project Nike began during 1944 when the War Department demanded a new air defense system to combat the new jet aircraft, as existing gun-based systems proved largely incapable of dealing with the speeds and altitudes at which jet aircraft operated. Two proposals were accepted. Bell Laboratories offered Project Nike. A much longer-ranged collision-course system was developed by General Electric, named Project Thumper, eventually delivering the BOMARC missile.

Bell Labs' proposal would have to deal with bombers flying at 500 mph (800 km/h) or more, at altitudes of up to 60,000 ft (20,000 m). At these speeds, even a supersonic rocket is no longer fast enough to be simply aimed at the target. The missile must "lead" the target to ensure the target is hit before the missile depletes its fuel. This means that the missile and target cannot be tracked by a single radar, increasing the complexity of the system. One part was well developed. By this point, the US had considerable experience with lead-calculating analog computers, starting with the British Kerrison Predictor and a series of increasingly capable U.S. designs.

For Nike, three radars were used. The acquisition radar (such as the AN/GSS-1 Electronic Search Central with the AN/TPS-1D radar) searched for a target to be handed over to the Target Tracking Radar (TTR) for tracking. The Missile Tracking Radar (MTR) tracked the missile by way of a transponder, as the missile's radar signature alone was not sufficient. The MTR also commanded the missile by way of pulse-position modulation, the pulses were received, decoded and then amplified back for the MTR to track. Once the tracking radars were locked the system was able to work automatically following launch, barring any unexpected occurrences. The computer compared the two radars' directions, along with information on the speeds and distances, to calculate the intercept point and steer the missile. The entirety of this system was provided by the Bell System's electronics firm, Western Electric.

The Douglas-built missile was a two-stage missile using a solid fuel booster stage and a liquid fueled (IRFNA/UDMHsecond stage. The missile could reach a maximum speed of 1,000 mph (1,600 km/h), an altitude of 70,000 ft (21 km) and had a range of 25 miles (40 km). The missile contained an unusual three part payload, with explosive fragmentationcharges at three points down the length of the missile to help ensure a lethal hit. The missile's limited range was seen by critics as a serious flaw, because it often meant that the missile had to be situated very close to the area it was protecting.

After disputes between the Army and the Air Force (see the Key West Agreement), all longer-range systems were assigned to the Air Force during 1948. They merged their own long-range research with Project Thumper, while the Army continued to develop Nike. During 1950 the Army formed the Army Anti-Aircraft Command (ARAACOM) to operate batteries of anti-aircraft guns and missiles. ARAACOM was renamed the US Army Air Defense Command (USARADCOM) during 1957. It adopted a simpler acronym, ARADCOM, in 1961.



#11 jeffro

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 11:13 PM

I'm surprised. Thought it was common Rush fan knowledge. I believe they mentioned it in articles at the time.

 

Yup. I remember either reading it in print or hearing it in a radio interview


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#12 Rick N Backer

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Posted 28 August 2018 - 05:54 PM

Never knew this, cool.



#13 DaveG

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Posted 28 August 2018 - 06:45 PM

I knew about it as well though I'd never thought of the song being about it exactly, more referring to it for metaphorical purposes.

 

Same. A lot of metaphors in that song.

 

I remember hearing about the DEW line a very long time ago, I think maybe pre-internet, and having that a-ha moment when you suddenly realize it's not just a cool title but also a reference to something real.

 

The historical background stuff you guys posted is an interesting read, btw.



#14 TimC

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 01:12 AM

I'm surprised. Thought it was common Rush fan knowledge. I believe they mentioned it in articles at the time.

 

Yeah, I guess we're old, I remember this being explained (I don't quite remember, for some reason, if I knew what it was already before interviews and such).



#15 grep

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Posted 30 August 2018 - 12:15 AM

Yup. I remember either reading it in print or hearing it in a radio interview

 

Yes. It was mentioned back then.


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#16 Valium

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 01:33 PM

I knew about it as well though I'd never thought of the song being about it exactly, more referring to it for metaphorical purposes.

 

Similar facilities exist elsewhere in the world. About thirty miles down the coast from my home town in the NE of England there's a place called RAF Fylingdales, high in the North York Moors and about 7 miles from the North Sea. Visible there from many miles around were three huge, spherical, white radomes intended to provide a "four minute warning" of incoming ICBMs from the Soviet Union.

And they also have a song about them:

 

ian Anderson watches you masturbate in a white overall



#17 sbach66

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Posted 25 September 2018 - 03:44 PM

ian Anderson watches you masturbate in a white overall

 

Glad to see an old school CP reference in use. Well done.






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