In September 2022 RAF Fylingdales celebrated 30 years of continuous operations. The giant 33 metre tall RADAR became operational on 1st October 1992, continuing the mission from the Golf Balls, its primary purpose serves as an early warning ballistic missile sensor.
Managing increasing work pressures on the back of two years of Covid restrictions, personnel from RAF Fylingdales were delighted to invite their family members onto Station for an afternoon of celebrations to mark the 30 year anniversary. The first major event for almost three years was a night to remember. With entertainment for young children, music and street food, the Station was a hive of activity culminating in a fantastic video projection onto the RADAR face……….However, as the wind and rain eased the fog rolled in and the projection had to be curtailed. Thank goodness we managed to rehearse the night before.
Stn Cdr Wing Commander Thom Colledge said: ‘It was great to see so many of our families on site and a fitting way to thank them for their support to their military partners.’
The Fylingdales family extends to former employees from the 60s to the present day, we were lucky enough to have over a hundred ex-colleagues with us on the night, sharing experiences and stories of the Cold War.
Alongside tracking ballistic missiles, the crews at RAF Fylingdales are also responsible for tracking objects in orbit. Looking 3000 miles into space monitoring and tracking debris, satellites and even the International Space Station. This important mission has seen a significant increase of activity recently due to companies like Space X and One Web launching hundreds of small satellites as a matter of routine.
Although the RADAR celebrates its 30 year anniversary this month, RAF Fylingdales has been operational since 1963. The industrial looking pyramid on the Moors replaced the iconic Golf Balls in 1992 as technology developed and traditional mechanical means of monitoring space gave way to computerised systems. The Station will celebrate 60 years of operations in October 2023.
RAF Fylingdales is a jewel in the crown of the nation. The Station has contributed to the defence of the UK, and its allies, non-stop since 1963 and is one of two founding units of UK Space Command. With a heritage of almost 60 years defending the nation and providing Space Domain Awareness, it cements Fylingdales’ place, not only in the nation’s history but its future in understanding events occurring in space.