Historic California Posts, Camps,
Stations and Airfields
San Pedro Hill Air Force Station
(Los Angeles Defense Area LA-45DC)
US Army Corps
of Engineers History (San Pedro Hill AFS)(1993)
On 31 March 1959, the Department of the
Army obtained 31.33 acres by Declaration of Taking for the development
of the San Pedro Air Force station (AFS) facility. The 31.33
acre site consisted of two parcels of land: tract number 100,
encompassing 11.18 acres of fee-owned land, and tract number
100-E, an acquired easement encompassing 20.15 acres, located
in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The San Pedro AFS was developed
on Tract 100. Tract 100-E was a perpetual and assignable joint
use easement and right of way which provided roadway access from
Rancho Palos Verdes Drive to the gates of the North American
Air Defense (NORAD) facility. The roadway, known as Crest Road,
was maintained by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. Real estate
property responsibility for the entire 31.33 acre site was maintained
by the US Army.
Despite US Army real estate responsibility, the US Air Force
was in charge of site operations under the terms of a permit
from the Department of the Army. The San Pedro AFS was used as
the NORAD Joint Manual Direction Center. The NORAD radar facility
was used to control Nike missiles and track airplanes using Height
Finder and Air Route Surveillance radar as part of the Joint
surveillance System (JSS) within the Los Angeles Defense area.
Improvements to the site included operations, power and communication
buildings; radar and communications towers, and utility lines.
out grants for building and or land space have been issued at
various times to the County of Los Angeles, Advance Electronics,
Federal Bureau of Investigation, California Highway Patrol, Los
Angeles Flood Control District, U.S. Customs Service, U.S. Secret
Service, and the Aerospace Corporation. Three privately-owned
structures were also built on the site.
The 31.33 acre site, including its improvements, was determined
to be excess to the requirements of the Department of the Army
and were transferred to the Department of Transportation - U.S.
Coast Guard on 26 March 1982. The Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) acquired the site by means of an interdepartmental transfer
from the Coast Guard on 7 July 1982. Crest Road has been continuously
maintained by the City of Rancho Palos Verdes. The FAA is currently
using the facility, as a continuation of the JSS program, for
tracking airplanes entering airspace in the greater Los Angeles
Basin. In addition, the FAA currently operates air defense radar
for March Air Force Base.
San Pedro Hills AFS
circa 1963 (radomes.org)
US Army Corps
of Engineers History (San Pedro Hill AFS)(1994)
former San Pedro Hill AFS is located at the top of San Pedro
Hill, north of Rancho Palos Verdes Drive East, at the terminus
of Crest Road in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
Site History: The San Pedro AFS
site is also known as the Los Angeles Defense Area, North American
Air Defense (NORAD) Center, and as the U.S. Army Nike Site, San
Pedro Hill. The site was established by the Department of the
Army. However, the site was occupied by the U.S. Air Force, under
the terms of a permit from the Department of the Army, to provide
manual direction of rocket-fire control and height finder radar
within the Los Angeles Defense Area.
The installation was operated under the Joint Surveillance System
(JSS), a program under the control of the U.S. Army, the U.S.
Air Force, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The
JSS was established to integrate air defense and air traffic
control capabilities, avoid the duplication of facilities and
functions, and assure the compatibility of national air traffic
control and the nation's air traffic control and air defense
facilities. The JSS planned to make the site one of 46 long-range
radar installations located throughout the United States.
Fort MacArthur was the original host facility for the San Pedro
Hill AFS and retained real property accountability for the site.
When Fort MacArthur was deactivated, accountability for the site
was transferred to Fort Ord. Even though real property accountability
was maintained by the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force operated
the facility under the command of the 26th Air Division at Luke
Air Force Base, Arizona.
The former facility was used as a Nike control site for directing
Nike missiles from their surface launchers to air targets. The
ground equipment for the system included low and high power target
acquisition radars, target and missile tracking radars, and target
ranging radar. Improvements to the site included seven operations,
power, and communications buildings; radar and communications
towers; all necessary infrastructure and utilities. Outgrants
were issued to several public agencies and private concerns to
allow the use of portions of the site for radio equipment, antennae,
The U.S. Army declared the site excess and transferred the San
Pedro Hill facility to the United States Coast Guard on 26 March
1982, with the intention for joint use with the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA), another Department of Transportation agency.
However, the Coast Guard conveyed the site to the FAA by means
of interdepartmental transfer on 7 July 1982. This transfer was
made contingent on issuance of a use agreement to the Coast Guard
to allow use of portions of the site.
The site is still under the jurisdiction of and operated by the
US Army Corps
of Engineers History (Palos Verde VHF Control Center)(1994)
Pursuant to Real Estate Directive 7189 and Declaration of Taking
dated 14 April 1961, the Department of the Army acquired 31.33
acres of land for use as a site for a North American Air Defense
(NORAD) Direction Center, Los Angeles Defense Area. 11.18 acres
were acquired in fee from Rancho Palos Verdes Corporation, et
al., and Capital Company, and 20.15 acres in road right-of-way
easements from various owners.
The site was used jointly by the Army, Air Force, and the Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) as a radar facility for manual
direction of air defense missile control within the Los Angeles
Defense Area. Improvements by the Army included eight buildings,
four radar towers, five electric power substations, two electric
power plants, a standby generator plant, utility systems with
cable trenches, roads, sidewalks, parking areas, and fencing
completed in 1975.
The NORAD Center on San Pedro Hill was reported as excess to
General Service Administration on 7 August 1975. All of the 31.33
acres were transferred to the FAA on 18 September 1975. Currently
sixteen different agencies and companies operate or maintain
communications equipment on site by lease from the Department