Backup Interceptor Control (BUIC, /ˈbjuːɪk/[citation needed]) was the Electronic Systems Division 416M System to backup the SAGE 416L System in the United States and Canada. BUIC deployed Cold War command, control, and coordination systems to SAGE radar stations to create dispersed NORAD Control Centers.

Back-Up Interceptor Control sites[1]
Station Location BUIC I BUIC II BUIC III
Baudette AFS[2] Minnesota 1968
Belleville AFS Illinois
Blaine AFS Washington
Boron AFS California
Calumet Air Force Station[3] Michigan yes
Cape Charles Air Force Station Virginia ??
Charleston Air Force Station[4] Maine 3/1963 3/1966 12/1969
Fallon Air Force Station Nevada yes
Finland AFS Minnesota yes
Finley AFS North Dakota
Fort Fisher AFS North Carolina yes
Fort Meade radar station Maryland yes
Fortuna Air Force Station North Dakota yes yes
Havre AFS Montana yes
Hutchinson AFS Kansas
Keno AFS Oregon yes
Kirksville AFS Missouri
Makah AFS Washington until 3/1966
Manassas AFS Virginia
Montauk AFS New York yes
Mount Laguna AFS[5] California yes
North Bend AFS[6] Oregon 12/1962 yes
North Truro AFS[7] Massachusetts 1963 9/1965 yes
Olathe AFS Kansas
Osceola AFS Wisconsin
Othello AFS[8] Washington Yes Yes
Palermo AFS[9] New Jersey 10/1965
Port Austin AFS[10] Michigan 1965 1968
Rockville AFS Indiana
Saint Albans AFS Vermont
Saratoga Springs AFS[11] New York until 1965
Tyndall Air Force Base Florida yes yes
Watertown AFS New York
Waverly AFS Iowa
RCAF Station St. Margarets New Brunswick yes yes yes
CFS Senneterre[citation needed] Quebec yes
This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (March 2013)


Prior to the SAGE Direction Centers becoming operational, the USAF deployed data link systems at NORAD Control Centers with ground computers for controlling crewed interceptors. After SAGE IBM AN/FSQ-7 Combat Direction Centrals became operational and the Super Combat Centers with improved (digital) computers were cancelled, a backup to SAGE was planned[12] in the event the above-ground SAGE Air Defense Direction Center failed.

General Electric AN/GPA-37 Course Directing Group

BUIC began with deployment of General Electric AN/GPA-37 Course Directing Groups to several Long Range Radar stations. Units designated included the "U.S. Air Force 858th Air Defense Group (BUIC) [which became] a permanent operating facility" at Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada.[13]


BUIC II was used to command and control sites using the Burroughs AN/GSA-51 Radar Course Directing Group. North Truro AFS became the first ADC installation configured for BUIC II.[14]


The AN/GYK-19[15] (initially AN/GSA-51A) was an upgraded version of the BUIC II system designated AN/GSA-51A[16] and required a larger building than the AN/GSA-51. The first BUIC III site was Fort Fisher AFS,[15] and Air Defense Command's was first installed at Fort Fisher Air Force Station, North Carolina.[17]

Although more advanced systems were contemplated, the final design of the BUIC III system was an upgraded version of the BUIC II with around twice the performance.[18]

BUIC III at North Turro AFS shortly before shutdown December 1973. Background l->r Cabinets Memory 5&6, Memory 7&8, Computer 1, Computer 2. Foreground: Status Display Console, Teletype. Cabinets are about 3' wide, 3' deep, & 7' high

Closure and upgrade

In 1972 the USAF decided to shut down most of the BUIC sites; most of the sites mothballed by 1974, except for the BUIC III site at Tyndall Air Force Base.[18][19] In Canada the BUIC site at Senneterre was shut down, but St Margarets remained open. The remaining sites were closed between 1983-1984 when SAGE was replaced by the Joint Surveillance System.

The AN/FYQ-47 Common Digitizer for the Joint Surveillance System, and the Radar Video Data Processor (RVDP) was a combined system for the Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), it replaced the SAGE Burroughs AN/FST-2 Coordinate Data Transmitting Sets.[16]


  1. ^ "Air Defense Radar Stations - sitetype=BUIC". Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  2. ^ "Baudette Air Force Station - A Brief History".
  3. ^ "665th RS in Copper Country". The Patriot. Duluth: 23rd Norad Air Division. 28 September 1979.
  4. ^ "Welcome Brochure 765th Radar Squadron Charleston AFS, ME". Furbush-Roberts Printing Company. Retrieved 2013-03-02. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Betty Lubrano (April 12, 1970). "Radar Station Grows In Size". San Diego Union. Retrieved 2013-03-02.
  6. ^ US Air Force. "Squadron History". Retrieved 2013-03-02. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ "North Truro Air Force Station". Communications & Electronics Digest. Air Defense Command: 24–25. Sep 1967.
  8. ^ "637th Radar Sqdn., Othello AFS, WA". Othello Outlook. Retrieved 2013-03-02.
  9. ^ "Second BUIC Facility Joins NORAD Net". Reading Eagle. 10 November 1965.
  10. ^ US Air Force. "Port Austin AFS, MI History" (Press release). Retrieved 2013-03-02.
  11. ^ "Communications & Electronics Digest". Air Defense Command. September 1967. Retrieved 2013-03-02. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Biweekly Report for 29 July 1955 (PDF) (minutes). Vol. Memorandum 6M-3797. Lincoln Laboratory Division 6. Retrieved 2013-07-25. The Systems Office has obtained more detailed information about the Radar Course Directing Group, AN/GPA-37, at a symposium held at RADC on 26 and 27 July. The GPA-37 is intended for backup air defense for SAGE and will be operated at the Heavy Radar P-sites in the Zone of Interior.
  13. ^ Archives Search Report Findings: Dixie Valley Bombing Target No. 21 (Report). February 2002.
  14. ^ Winkler, David F.; Webster, Julie L (1997). Searching the skies: The legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program. Champaign, IL: US Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories. p. 44. LCCN 97020912.[dead link]
  15. ^ a b "NORAD Back-Up Intercept Control (BUIC) Sites". 1981-09-02. Retrieved 2013-03-02.
  16. ^ a b "BUIC III at Tyndall". Communications & Electronics Digest. Air Defense Command: 19–21. August 1968.
  17. ^ "First BUIC Site Opens: Ft. Fisher first in ADC To Get New Defense System". The Command Post. Stewart AFB, NY. January 1969.
  18. ^ a b Winkler, David F.; Webster, Julie L. Searching the Skies: the Legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program. CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING RESEARCH LAB (ARMY). Archived from the original on December 1, 2012.
  19. ^ "Air Defense Radar Stations". Retrieved 2013-03-02.