The PH-15 Bristol (Newportville / Croydon) base was built on Lower Bucks County, PA farmland in 1955 by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Missile Master was located at PH-64DC Pedricktown, NJ. The base was manned by the Army until 1960 when the Pennsylvania Army National Guard took over [base reassignment documents.] Having defended the area for just shy of a decade, the Army decided to deactivate the base in 1964 as opposed to upgrading it the Nike Hercules system (the pits were not deep enough to accomodate the Nike Hercules Missiles.) After its closure, many of the PARNG servicemen relocated to the PH-99 Eureka / Warrington base.

What does PH-15 stand for? Obviously "PH" stands for the Philadelphia Defense Area, but the 15 actually stands for the bases location -- 15 degrees from Philadelphia (City Hall) based on a 100 degree circle (0/100 N, 25 E, 50 S, 75 W.) The Philadelphia Defense Area included the cities of Philadelphia, PA, Chester, PA, and Camden, NJ.

The Launch area was converted to an Army Reserve Center -- no traces of the base are left. Plans to redevelop the IFC area to a minimum security prison and recreational site in the 60s and 70s fell through and the site sat abandoned for decades. In the late 2000s, the PA Turnpike Commission started carrying out plans to build a PA Turnpike - I-95 interchange on the site.

Map of the Philadelphia Defense Area showing the "Ring of Steel" encircling the city.

The technical information below was used with permission from the book, Rings of Supersonic Steel - Air Defenses of the United States Army 1950-1979 by Mark L. Morgan and Mark A. Berhow. The book is available at

Magazines: 1B (Ajax converted to Hercules; modifications were made for the elevator to handle the increased weight) / 2C (Original Ajax - 3 satellite launchers, 1 launcher on elevator.)
Missiles: 30 Ajax
Launchers: 12 Ajax Launchers
(Battery/Missile Battalion/Artillery Regiment)
D/506th (1955-9/1958) US Army
D/3/60th (9/1958-4/1960) US Army
B/2/166th (4/1960-3/1964]) PA Army National Guard

1958 Aerial view of the entire PH-15 Bristol Base. The Launch area is on the left side of the image while IFC is on the right. Note the "groomed" landscape to give the Missile Tracking Radar a clear view of the missiles launchers.

1958 Aerial view of the PH-15 Bristol Base IFC.

1958 Aerial view of the PH-15 Bristol Base Launch Area.

Current Map of the Area

View larger PH-15 Bristol Nike Base map.
Website created by Chris Milewski to preserve the history of PH-15.