A new Royal Air Force radar facility reinforcing the UK’s ability to track unidentified military or civilian aircraft will be powered up ready to operate soon, the head of the RAF heard today (26 January).
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, visited the site of the new £10m Remote Radar Head facility, at Saxa Vord, Unst, Shetland, to inspect its progress. “Right at the tip of Shetland, Saxa Vord is a very remote site, so I am extremely grateful to the team who have been working hard through the cold of winter, with snow and 120 mph gales, to ensure that the construction has remained on schedule.” (See illustration).
This radar will improve RAF and NATO understanding of the airspace north of Britain and further out across the Norwegian Sea, improving the UK’s sovereign capability at a time of heightened Russian military activity (See illustration). It will see the island 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.