Nike Site W-83L Herndon - Virgina
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member lyonden_ut
N 38° 59.526 W 077° 19.644
18S E 298432 N 4318476
Quick Description: Herndon Site W-83 was one of a network of 13 Nike missile batteries that surrounded Washington.The others were located in Davidsonville, Bay Bridge, Croom, Brandywine, Waldorf,Accokeek, Pamonkey, Lorton, Pohick, Rockville, Gaithersburg & Laytonsville.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 1/28/2011 11:07:22 PM
Waymark Code: WMAM9Z
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Blue J Wenatchee
Views: 38

Long Description:
The Washington-area Nike batteries have great historical significance, as when they first became operational in 1953, they were the very first surface-to-air guided missile system to enter operational service in the world.

Each Nike battery consisted of 2 separate facilities:a Launch Area & an Integrated Fire Control Area.The layout of all Nike sites was characteristic in that the launch site was situated 1-3 miles “downrange” from its Integrated Fire Control Area,along the axis toward the anticipated targets, such that the radars at the IFCA would have a line-of-sight toward both the missiles & the target. To build Herndon Site W-83, in 1955 the US Government obtained property on Utterback Store Road (to be used for the launch site), as well as an additional 12 acres from the dairy farm of Mark Turner (to be used for its companion Integrated Fire Control Area). Herndon Site W-83 was activated in 1955.

The Herndon Nike site operated the first-generation Nike Ajax missile. The Nike Ajax missile was huge: each one stood 34' tall & weighed 2,400 pounds. It had a range of 25 miles & a maximum speed of Mach 2.3.

Five of the Washington area batteries were later converted to fire the 2nd-generation Nike Hercules missile. Herndon Site W-83 was not among the Nike sites upgraded with the Nike Hercules missile, and it was closed in 1962.

The radar dome on the site is not from the Nike, but from USAF CONUS Gap-Filler Radar Sites (AN/FPS-14 and AN/FPS-18), 1957 - 1970

"During the late 1950s another area of progress was the development and deployment of AN/FPS-14 and AN/FPS-18 gap-filler radars. Having a range of around sixty-five miles, these radars were placed in areas where it was thought enemy aircraft could fly low to avoid detection by the longer-range radars of the permanent and mobile radar networks. Gap-filler radar deployment peaked in December 1960 at 131 sites throughout the continental United States. Because the introduction of gap-filler radars alleviated the need for civilians to scan the skies for enemy bombers, the ADC disestablished the Ground Observer Corps on January 31, 1959." (Searching The Skies
USAF Air Combat Command, June, 1997)

Additional Information:
http://www.radomes.org/museum/gapfillers.html
http://members.tripod.com/airfields_freeman/VA/Airfields_VA_Fairfax_W.htm#herdon
Parking location: N 38° 59.450 W 077° 19.644

Link to Ed Thelen's Nike location page that includes the site you are submitting: [Web Link]

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