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RAF Saxa Vord

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RAF Saxa Vord was a site in the Shetland Islands which had a radar since 1957, installed to give an early warning of any aircraft approaching from the North. Data was fed into the Integrated Command and Control System within the UK.

2018 Remote radar head installed

In January 2018, the MoD announced that a new Remote Radar Head RAF radar facility intended to track Russian military aircraft approaching the north of the UK would soon become operational at Saxa Vord on the island of Unst in Shetland, having cost some 10 million.

The facility will provide key information on aircraft movements across the North Sea and feed the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) operation, and see Unst return to the role it performed during the 1960s and 70s, when the site was used as an early warning radar on NATO's northern flank.

The MoD said the new radar base would improve RAF and NATO understanding of the airspace north of Britain and further out across the Norwegian Sea at a time of increased Russian military activity. 59 QRA launches were said to have been made over the past five years.

As with the earlier installation, the remote radar head will be operated remotely by RAF personnel, with contractors only attending the site for maintenance.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson hd earlier warned (in the Daily Telegraph) that Russia could cause "thousands and thousands and thousands of deaths" by crippling UK infrastructure, stating that Moscow was spying on energy supplies which, if cut, could cause "total chaos" in the UK, and added that this was the "real threat" faced by the country.[1]


1 Shetland radar base 'nearing completion' - BBC News Retrieved 27 January 2018.

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