View Full Version : GERMANY - Hahn AFB

Paul Francis
26-05-2008, 20:58
A few recent pics of Hahn






30-05-2008, 07:23
Reference pictures 3 & 4, were this the standard but strange shelter doors... ?

Paul Francis
30-05-2008, 11:21
There were originally 72 shelters each at Hahn and Bitburg these were of the first generation TAB VEE variant (actually some of the first HAS built in West Germany). In 1976 some where modified with sliding doors as the original entrance with clamshell doors was too small for
the F-15 then scheduled for the 36th TFW at Bitburg. Those that you see in these pics have the clamshell doors but thy are different to the ones at Bitburg in that the Bitburg varient are fitted at the end of the shelter and at Hahn they sit side. I have no idea how these open.

30-05-2008, 11:44
Paul - for those of us not familiar with these structures, could you expand upon TAB VEE please?



Paul Francis
30-05-2008, 12:36
In 1960 the British Government had agreed to sitting the third link in the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at Fylingdales Moor. This station provided early warning of ballistic missile attacks on the UK and America and was commissioned on 17 September 1964.
Around this time American intelligence revealed that the Soviets were building hardened aircraft shelters on their bases. This eventually prompted the US Secretary of Defence to form an Air Force working group, to study and analyse the subject of ‘Theatre Air Base Vulnerability’ (TABV). The report issued in 1965 recommended, amongst other issues, the dispersal of aircraft into protected shelters. These became known as Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS) by the British, and TAB VEEs (TABV) by the USAF. From the mid-1970s the Victor Alert (VA) areas were upgraded using hardened control centres and TAB VEES for up to eight aircraft. At Upper Heyford there is also the original VA which has open Weather Shelters c.1970s. I believe that the USAF bases in Germany had the original TAB VEES, ours are third generation types but even here there are differences. GAF bases have second generation HAS / TAB VEES.

30-05-2008, 15:00
Would it be fair to say the E hangar (and similar smaller types) was the fore runner to shelters?
ie beng curved and heavily built to withstand attack, and sometimes grassed to camoflage them

Paul Francis
30-05-2008, 15:26
Would it be fair to say the E hangar (and similar smaller types) was the fore runner to shelters?
ie beng curved and heavily built to withstand attack, and sometimes grassed to camoflage them

They are really worlds apart. The ASU storage sheds were designed that way for concealment only, not to withstand nearby bomb blast or a direct hit. Aircraft were stored in them tails up without wings in long rows. The TAB VEE / HAS was designed to house a single aircraft ready for immediate deployment with engines running if necessary and with land line communication with the CT and Squadron Commander etc. They owe more to the ORP

The ORP at Scampton for example at the extreme NE end of the runway on the eastern side consists of four 'fingers' aligned at 42-degrees to the runway centreline connecting with an access track from the eastern parallel taxi-track.

Between the fingers are grassed areas each of which has a row of three Reyrolle 415-volt electric power distribution cubicles (one row per aircraft). These were the ground supply units for powering the external aircraft systems. The engines were started by compressed air from a ground start trolley at 3000psi which was fed into a combustion chamber mixed with fuel and the resulting gases spun the engine. All four engines were started simultaneously by the mass rapid start button on the rear of the Captains side panel. The Vulcans were parked with the throttles set at 80% and the brakes off, as the ground crew would already have pulled the chocks as the aircrew arrived at dispersal. This is how it was possible to get four aircraft airborne in 59 seconds from cold.

On first coming on duty for Quick Reaction Alert the ground crew would have done all the necessary checks and set the aircraft up in the scramble condition. Steel rings in the concrete hardstanding anchored down all the ground services which were plugged into the aircraft. As the aircraft taxied away the servicing cables were pulled out of their various sockets on the aircraft and the steel rings prevented the external equipment from being blown away by the jet efflux. The pitot covers for example, had to be torn away from the aircraft otherwise they would have snapped off the pitot heads. The Blue Steel missile was very sensitive as far as temperature was concerned and it needed an electric blanket to maintain its systems. Also its fuel had to be at the correct temperature, this was also designed to be pulled off and then restrained by the steel rings from the jet blast as the aircraft taxied off the ORP.

Sorry Mawganmad I got a bit carried away there LOL, but Blue Steel, Scampton and Faldingworth are pet subjects of mine.

Back to earth, I can see why you thought of the simularities with the ASU hangars and TAB VEEs but really they are nothing like each other.

30-05-2008, 16:02
Thanks for that, I always thought complete aircraft were kept in 'E' hangars and they are massively engineered, although I realise they wern't for 'scramble' reasons.
Your responses and knowledge are fascinating.

St Mawgans ORP has two large craters, apperently these were filled with water, and rumour goes, that if anything went wrong with Blue Steel, they would dump it in the water - sounds silly as I write this - any fact?

Paul Francis
30-05-2008, 16:31
I forgot to mention the HTP Emergency Disposal Storage Pits.
The Emergency Disposal Storage Pit is constructed of 6ft diameter pre-cast concrete rings with a 12in thick concrete base and a taper ring top. The vessel is 10ft deep, three of these were fitted at the ORP on the airfield.

I have never heard of a pit to dump a Blue Steel in it, only a pit for dumping HTP as mentioned above.

01-06-2008, 12:13
You are right again Paul, as that is the simplist way to safe HTP.
However the pits at SMs ORP seem not as delberatly well built as you describe, more just Lagoons built either side of the area.
Also probably the last thing you would want to do with a Blue Sreel with problams is dismount it fro A/C or trolley and try and dump it into a pit of water!

Paul Francis
01-06-2008, 12:19
There should be a lagoon or something for the HTP refueler vehicles so that they can drive into and get decontaminated. But these are purpose-built concrete parking areas with a gully system that you drive down into. There is one of these at Scampton with a HTP dump as well, exactly as I described above.