RAF tracked UFO in orbit from Yorkshire early warning base

Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) ballistic missile early warning station at Fylingdales in North Yorkshire has detected an ‘unknown object’ that appeared in Earth’s orbit.

RAF Fylingdales single phased array radar tower circa 2006 (Copyright David Clarke)

Top brass at the BMEWS base – that is part of the NORAD missile defence system – ordered a secret investigation of the tracking, according to a military source who once acted as a former RAF UFO desk officer for the MoD.

I am releasing details of this exclusive story to coincide with the launch of my Radar UAP resource and publication of my article ‘Echoes and Angels: UFOs on Radar’ in Fortean Times 403 (March 2021). You can read the full story on my radar pages here.

The Fylingdales incident happened in 1981-82 when RAF Group Captain David Todd was Senior Duty Officer at the base. Todd returned as commander of the base in the 1990s after a spell at HQ Strike Command when his work ‘included review of UFO reports and advice to MoD Secretariat Air Staff’ [the so-called ‘UFO desk‘].

RAF Fylingdales was built on the A619 between Whitby and Pickering during the 1960s as part of the BMEWS radar network that linked the UK with sister stations in Iceland and Alaska.

The current pyramid-encased phased array radars at Fylingdales replaced the three original mechanically steerable ‘golfballs’ that made the base such an icon of the Cold War until 1992.

Then, as today, the radars are not configured to detect objects in Earth’s atmosphere because they look outwards to scan the horizon for missiles and satellites. Fylingdales radar sweeps 360 degrees of the horizon, tracking hundreds of objects of different sizes as they move in orbit.

Despite numerous official denials I can reveal that, on occasions, the base has tracked unknowns outside Earth’s atmosphere as the radars are capable of seeing objects as small as a felt-tip pen in orbit 3,000 miles away from the North York Moors. 

Radar & UAPs feature in Fortean Times 403 (March 2021)

“Unknowns came up on the radars at regular intervals for all sorts of reasons,’ Group Captain Todd told me.

“I remember this incident clearly. It came up as an unknown and [Fylingdales] radar tracked it.

“We could not match it up with anything on our computers. And radar tracked it for quite a long time…

“It appeared to be in Earth’s orbit…so that got us really interested, because people started saying ‘ooh, is it a UFO?’ and we were duty bound to investigate because this was an unknown object.”

MoD contractors SERCO, who built the early warning base, were tasked by Todd to investigate and ‘they came up with various theories’, one of which was:

“an unidentified flying object with little green men inside”…but the best solution that we, or they, could come up with at the time was that it was a meteorite that appeared to be in orbit at the time it was tracked by our radar.’

No official record of this remarkable incident exists in the official records released by the Ministry of Defence. The base Operation Record Books for 1981-2 have yet to be released at The National Archives as they are covered by ‘extended closure’ for national security reasons.

However a letter I discovered sent by MoD UFO desk officer Peter Watkins to a member of the public in 1982 says:

“…it is conceivable that Fylingdales might pick up an “alien spacecraft”, but only if it happened to be within the parameters of the radars. There is every chance, therefore, that an “alien invasion” would be as unannounced as that in [H.G.] Well’s War of the Worlds.”

In my article I explain the possible reasons for the secrecy surrounding this incident and why the role of BMEWS radars in relation to UAP trackings is often misunderstood.

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