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RAF eyes the skies in Shetland

30th January 2018 - 10:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The Royal Air Force (RAF) is getting a new remote radar facility at Saxa Vord, Unst, Shetland, to support the tracking of unidentified military and civilian aircraft approaching UK airspace.

The radar will improve RAF and NATO understanding of the airspace north of Britain and further out across the Norwegian Sea at a time of heightened Russian military activity.

The radar will provide key information on aircraft movements to the north of the UK and feed into the nationwide Quick Reaction Alert operation which is responsible for policing international and UK airspace from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray and RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, as well as supporting civil air traffic control.

The Ministry of Defence’s procurement organisation, DE&S, is managing the redevelopment of the site and delivering the new infrastructure and capability for the RAF. The Saxa Vord remote radar head will be operated remotely by RAF personnel and contractors will only attend the site for maintenance.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: ‘We will always protect our skies from Russian aggression. This radar is a vital part of the UK’s defences as we react to intensifying global threats and reinforce our ability to tackle them. Russia’s actions are not limited to Europe’s eastern borders – the threat to British livelihoods is severe and real.’

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