Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for GUARDIAN has been declared with the roll-out of a Control Reporting Centre (CRC) at RAF Boulmer, Northumberland, providing a dynamic, real-time map of both friendly and hostile aircraft.

Managed by Defence Equipment and Support – the MoD’s procurement arm – and delivered by IBM, the system links the radars and radios of the UK and NATO to communicate between the ground and aircraft.

While radar and radio communication has existed at RAF bases for decades, GUARDIAN brings in new features which improve functionality, increasing national security.

Dr Simon Dakin, DE&S director of Integrated Battlespace Operating Centre (IBOC), was quoted as saying:

“Delivering this step change in capability is a massive achievement, reflecting superb joint working between the RAF, DE&S and IBM. The capability delivers a significant enhancement to UK security.”

GUARDIAN will also be installed at RAF 78 Sqn in Swanwick, Hampshire. The CRCs operate 24/7 and will have 50 dual workstations at Boulmer and 29 dual workstations at Swanwick which, when fully operated, could be staffed by more than 100 RAF battlespace management personnel at the two sites, say the MoD.

According to a statement:

“The command-and-control upgrades of GUARDIAN will continue improving the rapid exchange of real-time information and speed and accuracy of decision making. It also receives early warnings from NATO reporting centres to prepare the UK for incoming potential threats. GUARDIAN enables the RAF to despatch fighter jets to identify, intercept and escort aircraft being flown aggressively, or which are suspected of being a threat. It can also be used to escort aircraft of special interest, such as a passenger airliner that might have lost communications with Air Traffic Control.”

Officer Commanding 19 Squadron, Wing Commander Chris Misiak, was quoted as saying:

“The new GUARDIAN system provides a capability which has more capacity to cope with the demands of Homeland Air Defence whilst also preparing operators to support missions across the globe. It is an exciting time.”

The contract with IBM covers equipment delivery and the first five years of logistic support up to 2027.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
5 days ago

This is just an update to the existing ASCS which has operated for years. But what of the “Standby” incase the R3 bunker at Boulmer is negated? We had 4 such sites once. At Buchan. At Boulmer. At Neatishead. And at the Reseve at Ash. Today, apart from Boulmer, there is only the Southern CRC at Scampton. Has that been updated too? Or the NADOC? Swanwick is a civil ATCC with an RAF contingent that replaced that at West Drayton. Considering the Boulmer site is well known ( and I could pin point the exact position on GE with ease,… Read more »

John Hartley
John Hartley
4 days ago

Or they give it a decent SAM system to protect it. Either (or preferably both) would do.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Agree. I used to think we could do without this capability. But I have changed my position.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
4 days ago

A silly question Daniele, we have VLS onboard our ships, could they not be land-based also at our RAF bases etc?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Technical question over my head mate, though I don’t see why not. Land Based SAM assets tend to be mobile though don’t they, to reposition.

We have a good system coming into service in Land Sceptre. Just buy more and give to a couple of RAFR Squadrons. It would be a start.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
4 days ago

Thing is that you have got to be clear what you are defending against and why?

An ineffective ‘something’ is just a waste of money.

As I’ve suggested before there does need to be a long range as well as point defence system linked to the overview.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago

Which systems would be better for point defence and area as you mention?
I assume we are talking both vs Cruise, and sub or air launched missiles as against aircraft as the Typhoons should be able to deal with them as long as their runways are operable?

Is Land Sceptre not effective and would a need for two types preclude either on costs in HMT eyes? Probably!

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 days ago

Land Ceptor or a land based 20mm Phalanx system either/or can do the point defence task and defeat incoming cruise missiles as for ballistic or hypervelocity missiles that is much more expensive and technically difficult- I would say Aster 30NT but how would you fit that onto a mobile platform- maybe a PODS system so shipping container VLS cell? a 20ft container could feasibly fit 10-15 missiles whereas a 30ft container maybe 20-25?

Jon
Jon
2 days ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Next time you are walking past a canal, ask yourself what lurks within the bowels of the gaily painted barges.

Marked
Marked
4 days ago

If things with Russia ever kicked off the small number of vital installations in the UK would be vulnerable to cruise missile attacks, potentially sub launched offering no advance warning that an approaching aircraft would provide.

Whether it happens or not is irrelevant, it is the single biggest threat that these sites have though and its naive to not have defences available.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
4 days ago

agree Daniele Land Ceptor is the answer to a lot of our base defence needs for protection against cruise missiles like the Russian airforce and navy have proliferated recently. Although it seems their use of 400+ such weapons in Ukraine has run down their stockpile without achieving air superiority or blunted Ukraine’s C3 capability.
Not sure the Russkies have many such weapons left. But preparation prevents disaster so lets get land ceptor up and running and purchased in bulk and handed over to RAF regiment for base defence.

AV
AV
4 days ago

Too few Sceptre…long thought Boulmer had ceased as a radar station…obviously not.
Decent radar stations and land based SAMS?..surely we’re going as far back as Bloodhound?..

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  AV

Far too few.

Boulmer is primarily an ASCS site with the R3 bunker for the CRC. I’m unsure if it has its own radar.

It’s associated RP, Reporting Post, a radar site, is much further inland up the hill at Brizlee wood.

There was a 2nd out station site further north at least until recently who’s name escapes me.

The CRCs were all intact up to 2004, before then, yes Bloodhound and RAF Reg Rapier Squadrons.

Sligguts
Sligguts
3 days ago

No radar at Boulmer, not permanently anyway. There is another site nearby which is linked to the sensor at Brizlee. Saxa Vord is indeed back up and running, albeit unmanned now, and Staxton Wold has a new sensor in place.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 hours ago
Reply to  Sligguts

Ah, thank you, good to hear about Staxton.

The other site related to Boulmer that I could not recall was Brunton, on an old airfield further north. Is that still in use regards ASCS?

Sligguts
Sligguts
46 minutes ago

Brunton, yes and no. Still a bit raf owned but not really a Boulmer asset anymore, used for exercises every now and again. It’s a tiny compound though

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 minute ago
Reply to  Sligguts

It is. Thanks.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 days ago

Re Land Sceptre, a very good point!

Joe16
Joe16
4 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

The French Army operate Aster 30 as their MAMBA GBAD system, which is the same missile that we have on our T45s. It’s mobile, rather than stuck into the ground, but it’s supposed to be a good system.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Cheers!

Paul T
Paul T
4 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

SAMP-T and Sky Sabre are in effect Land based versions of what equips our Ships.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
3 days ago
Reply to  Paul T

Very true, I was simply wondering if a fixed MK 41 or Mk 25 Quad-Pack canister would be a suitable fit to protect our bases.

Brooklyn
Brooklyn
3 days ago

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Last edited 3 days ago by Brooklyn
Rob N
Rob N
4 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Yes we need to start taking air defence seriously. France, Italy and many other European countries have national SAM capabilities. In fact it is the norm in Europe to have SAMs. However in the UK we have been foolish enough to neglect our homeland defence. We know that Russia in particular uses cruse missiles but we have done nothing to counter the threat. We cannot include Sky Sabre as this is a system to protect the army, Sea Viper is to protect the fleet.

We NEED a national air defence SAM system.

Jonno
Jonno
4 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

We are run by numpties. Probably none of the forces wants to accept the job. RAF or Army. In WW2 the army had the point defence. 3.7″ and 40mm guns. I’d love to see the minutes of the meetings going way back.
Answer is it should be the Navy. They often know how to get things done !

Frank62
Frank62
4 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

Absolutely. Putin could start flinging missiles at our inrastructre & military bases at any time he feels offended by us not rolling over to his desires & we’re very ill prepared. An ABM system is needed.
We can only hope an AB or SM3 allied warship is in the area at the time needed.

Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
4 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

Not sure how you sleep at night if you believe this. Any nuclear power firing cruise missiles or long range missiles at another nuclear power had better be damn certain the other nuclear power knows they are conventional weapons. If the U.K., France or USA detected multiple cruise missiles and long range missiles heading for their homeland , they would have to assume it’s a nuclear first strike and set retaliation in motion. They can’t wait to see if just a bit of their Territory gets blown up by a conventional warhead. They must assume they are on the brink… Read more »

Marked
Marked
4 days ago

No need for the UK or France to retaliate in that manner. The deterrent is sea based. A launch on warning is only needed if the potential target is your silo based deterrence.

Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
3 days ago
Reply to  Marked

There would though. Even if we don’t need to, then the fact we are tracking multiple inbound from Russia, means we will be retaliating soon. If we launch cruise missiles back at Russia, conventional ones, then they have to assume it’s our first strike and it all goes pear shaped quickly.

You can’t go firing cruise missiles at a nuclear power if you are a nuclear power.

The U.K. and Russia exchanging long range missiles or cruise missiles at each other’s homeland will not end well for anyone.

Marked
Marked
3 days ago

No matter how bad it could go we don’t need to launch slbm’s at the first detection of what could be a range of weapons.

The UK deterrent was deliberately sea based for this very reason, its safely out of the way under the sea. It allows time for a rational decision without the worry of static land based silos being wiped out in a first strike.

Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
3 days ago
Reply to  Marked

Yes. I know. I conceded that. But.. sending cruise missiles against a non-nuclear non-NATO country is a different ballgame. Send cruise missiles against a non-nuclear NATO member like Estonia is a different ballgame too and tests the resolve of NATO and puts you at risk of being in WW3 Sending cruise missiles against France, U.K. or the USA is a whole level above that. You are kicking off WW3 as that nuclear power is now going to be at war with you and two nuclear armed countries chucking missiles at each other is going to end badly – no ifs… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
3 hours ago

The fact is we have no UK land based national SAM air defence system. No ABM or anti-air capability. This is at odds with most of our NATO and Western counterparts. This is a capability gap that is only due to cost cutting and not defence demand.

Alabama Boy
Alabama Boy
4 days ago

I would add to the history that in the 70/80’s there was Saxa Vord (recently reactivated?), Buchan, Boulmer, Neatishead CRC/SOC’s ‘s together with Eastern Radar civil/mil co ordination (now at Swanwick). The CRC’s fed the common RAP. All fairly dated in ECCM terms but the Type 85 at Neatishead was especially powerful. The RAF school of fighter control was based at West Drayton west London and could tap into the RAP for training controllers. I believe in the 80’s some of these radars were replaced with more modern and dispersible radars and the Ash CRC established which I guess was… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Alabama Boy

Concur. 7 Tornado F3 Squadrons. 3 at Leeming. 2 Leuchars. 2 Coningsby. 2 Phantom at Wattisham. Dregs of the Lightnings at Binbrook. That is greater than the current fast jet force of the RAF now and just in 11 Group. But that was a different era, different costs, higher % of GDP on defence, and with the Cold War ongoing. Yes, I believe Saxa has been reactivated by taking Staxton’s 101 radar? Unsure of accuracy of that. Other RPs at Benbecula, Buchan, Brizlee Wood, Trimmingham, Portreath still in place. The upper echelons overseeing the CRCs was and is still is… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B
3 days ago

I would say there should be several and they should be mobile able to set up virtually anywhere then pack up and move on.

Badger.
Badger.
4 days ago

Good news I guess. When I’m sailing past the RN Base in Portsmouth on the ferry looking at all those juicy targets, I sometimes wonder what anti-missile defenses there are? A few cruise missiles launched from well offshore….

John Hartley
John Hartley
4 days ago
Reply to  Badger.

Is there still the T45 Sampson & S1850 on the hill? If so, just give it Astor.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Yes to both.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Badger.

Sadly, none save what is on the ships themselves.

At least Thorney Island is nearby, but those assets are destined for the Field Army.

Badger.
Badger.
4 days ago

Ah, thanks. Rather what I thought.

Farouk
Farouk
4 days ago
Reply to  Badger.

Well to be fair , that scenario can apply to any country in the world, and with the vast movement of large civy ships around the area, there would be more chance of the isle of Wright ferry getting hit than a naval ship.

Jay R
Jay R
4 days ago

Can this system be used offensively, in other words as an electronic warfare weapon disrupting Russian bombers attack radars?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Would be great, another Cyber tool.

The ASCS, as I primitively understand it, is primarily a group of linked communications nodes connecting radar sites ( RP ) with control centres ( CRC ) and control centres with aircraft and ships via SSSB and LINK systems over VHF,UHF.

This helps in giving us, and NATO, the RAP “Recognised Air Picture” of aircraft movements which can be disseminated.

I believe GUARDIAN is an updated version.
.

dan
dan
3 days ago

Crazy that the UK has no ballistic missile defense defending the UK. Let’s hope that changes sooner rather than later.