National / Politics

U.S. starts dismantling giant direction-finding antenna at Misawa Air Base


Another piece of Cold War history is coming down, piece by piece.

On Wednesday the U.S. military began dismantling an aging antenna array, nicknamed the elephant cage, at its Misawa Air Base.

The circular AN/FLR-9 direction-finding array, 40 meters high and 440 meters in diameter, was used to identify radio transmissions by fixing their source. It will take about a year to strip down.

The U.S. military mothballed the antenna in 2012 because of its age and changes in radio technology.

The facility dates from 1965, when it used to intercept transmissions from countries such as the former Soviet Union and China.

The area will likely provide space for new sports facilities for U.S. military personnel and their families.

The array was one of two such facilities set up by U.S. forces in Japan following the end of World War II. The other, in Yomitan, Okinawa Prefecture, was dismantled in 2007.

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