The Fylingdale radomes were in use until 1992, when they were replaced by an advanced radar system, the three sided solid-state phased-array radar (SSPAR) grey pyramid. The golf balls were subsequently dismantled.
RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire provides a continuous ballistic missile early warning service to the UK and US Governments, ensuring a surprise missile attack cannot succeed. The Station also supports the United States’ developing Missile Defense System.
Personnel at RAF Fylingdales track and detect objects to try and prevent any collisions. From North Yorkshire, the team can identify objects that are on a collision path with important infrastructure, including the International Space Station [ISS].
In August last year, Harrogate Council approved an application for three additional ‘radomes’ at the base. These large structures, pictured here, are often nicknamed ‘ golf balls ‘ because of their white, dimpled appearance. They are designed to shield and protect radar equipment, particularly from the elements.
The site acts as a ground station for a number of satellites operated by the US National Reconnaissance Office, on behalf of the NSA, with antennae contained in numerous distinctive white radomes, locally referred to as “the golf balls “, and is alleged to be an element of the ECHELON system.
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The Prince of Wales has spent the day visiting RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire. The base is used by personnel from the US National Security Agency (NSA), as well as staff from the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).
RAF Menwith Hill will ‘remain an integral part of joint UK and US security’ and ‘has an assured future,’ according to its commanding officer, as a programme of demolition work is set to continue.
What Does Menwith Hill Do ? Menwith Hill is the largest intelligence-gathering, interception and surveillance base outside the US. It has many roles which are generally for US interests only (diplomatic, military and economic) – being the hub of the ECHELON global surveillance system (Wikipedia).