The MoD have issued a Request For Information regarding radar technology and capability for a new ground-based ballistic missile defence radar system.

The information comes from a question asked in Parliament by Mr Kevan Jones, MP for North Durham:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to paragraph 4.16 of the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015, what progress has been made on his Department’s plan to invest in a ground-based BMD radar.”

The question was answered by Harriett Baldwin, Under Secretary of State for Defence Procurement:

“Since the Strategic Defence and Security Review announcement, the UK missile defence community has been undertaking detailed scoping of the options for the future ground-based ballistic missile defence (BMD) radar.

A Request For Information was issued to Industry in June this year to gather information about radar technology and capability. We expect the radar to be in service by the mid-2020s.”

The UK’s current and only ballistic missile defence (BMD) radar is at RAF Fylingdales, speculation suggests that either a site in the UK or Cyprus will house the system.

While the radar station at RAF Fylingdales remains a British asset operated and commanded by the Royal Air Force, it also forms one of three stations in the United States BMEWS network. The other two stations in the network are Thule Air Base, Greenland and Clear Air Force Station, Alaska. The data obtained by Fylingdales is shared fully and freely with the United States, where it feeds into the US-Canadian North American Aerospace Defence Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. To this end a United States Air Force liaison officer is stationed at the base.

In addition, the UK will also support “research and development initiatives and multinational engagement through the UK’s Missile Defence Centre “.

The relevant section of the Strategic Defence and Security Review states:

“The UK has been under constant threat from ballistic missiles since the Second World War. But states outside the Euro-Atlantic area and non-state actors are now acquiring ballistic missile technology. The threat faced by the UK, our Overseas Territories and our military bases has evolved. We will continue to commit significant funds to the NATO Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) network, as well as supporting research and development initiatives and multinational engagement through the UK’s Missile Defence Centre.

We will invest in a ground-based BMD radar, which will enhance the coverage and effectiveness of the NATO BMD system. We will also investigate further the potential of the Type 45 Destroyers to operate in a BMD role.”

The Missile Defence Centre is a UK Government and industry partnership for working with allies and partners on ballistic missile defence issues.

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with no ground based wide area defensive missiles and none planned, this appears to be waste of money.

Mr Bell

Agree, if we get a warning of inbound BM what do we do? No defence missiles, no way of intercepting them.
unless we are going to get BMD capability it is a waste of money.


Well its lets us know who fired it which will be useful for targeting MIRVs later on….


Or get the USA to site some of their BMD missiles in the UK. Our existing BMD radar already feeds data into the US systems. If we invest in a second facility also feeding into the US tracking system it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable deal to get some missile sites in return. I’m sure a deal could be worked out regarding firing control, either the UK leaves all control to the US tracking systems with guarantees that the missiles would be launched against ICBMs targeted at the UK or if for some reason that wasn’t felt to be sufficient… Read more »

Mr Bell

Ah TH is at it again. TH would you like and enjoy seeing the UK targetted by balistic missiles fired by a rouge state? If so great, lets all carry on as per your plan. If however you do not like the idea of your house, faimly, children being destroyed by nuclear, chemical or biological warheads then i would suggest a BMD is a good idea. In terms of the “we” used in Julian’s post, that is correct terminology, we would like that armed forces functionality, we would be happy to spend tax payers money on this issue. TH it… Read more »

Evan P

Hello Mr Bell, I am left wing. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want democracy so I would appreciate it if you didn’t making such sweeping generalisations like that. I want more money pumped into the military. Hell, the Tories haven’t done any favours for the armed forces have they? Let’s remove the political spectrum from the debate, after all, it doesn’t really make a difference. I disagree with what TH said, but what he said was nothing to do with the political spectrum.


For goodness sake. They are funded by the tax payer. They are a national asset just like government buildings, public roads (except Mr Toll I suppose), etc, etc (asset in the accountancy sense, I can’t be bothered to have the debate that could no doubt be started by taking the other meaning of “asset”).

How about looking at the opening line of the US Constitution for an explanation: “We, the people …”


Eire – relies on the UK for its defence, has no fast jets of its own. Sweden – not a great example for your theory, they have national conscription. Ever heard of SAAB? They are also rebuilding their military as a result of reduced spending in the 90s and 00s. Germany – not a fan of reading history then? There is a reason they haven’t spent big on defence since 1945! That aside, they will be increasing it soon as they can no longer rely on the US and UK to defend them. Merkel has stated this openly. Will be… Read more »

Nick Harriss

Why not roll out the Aster Block 2 BMD on both the Type 45s and on land, albeit I believe the UK is still on the sidelines on this? I have always wondered why (beyond the interests of missile manufacturers) why different systems were used on land and sea. CAMM and the deployment of land-based Aegis systems shows some common sense is being used on this.