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AN/MRN-12A Mobile Control Tower

DAYTON, Ohio -- AN/MRN-12A Mobile Control Tower at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- AN/MRN-12A Mobile Control Tower at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Note: This item is currently in storage.

The AN/MRN-12A was used by the USAF from the 1950s into the 1970s for controlling aircraft on and near airfields, primarily during takeoffs and landings, when such airfields had no permanent control tower facilities. Under normal conditions, the mobile control tower could be placed in operation within four hours after being delivered to a landing field. In addition to being equipped with numerous kinds of radios of different frequencies, it had a light gun (for signaling pilots who, for any reason, did not have their radios in operation), wind speed and wind direction equipment, and altimeters.

Examples of the Historic Significance of the AN/MRN-12A

1. First system in the USAF inventory specifically designed to be used as a mobile control tower. 

2. Used extensively in both Vietnam and Thailand during the Southeast Asian conflict at newly-established bases and forward operating locations, and in support of bases that had suffered battle damage to permanent control towers.

3. Used on emergency missions like the project for assisting Anchorage, Alaska, following the devastating earthquake of March 1964 -- in that instance, it was airlifted from Oklahoma City and put into operation at Anchorage within 24 hours of its departure from Oklahoma. 

4. The specific unit on display (Serial No. 13) was used at Phan Rang Air Base, Vietnam, while that base's fixed control tower was being constructed.

This surviving example of the AN/MRN-12A was restored to exhibit condition by the Sacramento Air Logistics Center, McClellan Air Force Base, Calif.

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