MP’s praise for ‘vital’ Boulmer

Minister of State for the Armed Forces,  the Rt Hon Mark Francois MP in RAF Boulmer's Control & Reporting Centre.
Minister of State for the Armed Forces, the Rt Hon Mark Francois MP in RAF Boulmer's Control & Reporting Centre.

A minister has described RAF Boulmer as making a ‘vital contribution to the defence of the UK’.

Following his appointment as Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Mark Francois visited the base to gain a deeper understanding of the role it plays in support of the defence of the UK and deployed operations worldwide.

Mr Francois was given an overview of the Air Surveillance and Control System (ASACS) Force, of which RAF Boulmer is the hub.

The ASACS Force comprises a Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) at Boulmer, No 1 Air Control Centre in Lincolnshire, Remote Radar Heads (in the Hebrides, Cornwall, Norfolk, Yorkshire, Northumberland and Scotland) and operational facilities in the Outer Hebrides and Shetland.

Following his visit, he said: “The security of the UK is paramount to our Government, and during my enjoyable and informative visit to RAF Boulmer I experienced first hand the impressive capabilities of the Air Surveillance and Control Systems Force.

“It was a privilege to meet some of the men and women, who, for 365 days a year, work around the clock to monitor the skies in defence of the UK.

“Under the direction of these personnel, RAF fighters can be scrambled at a moment’s notice to intercept unidentified aircraft approaching UK airspace. This capability has made a vital contribution to the defence of the UK and will continue to do so in the decades ahead.”

CRC Boulmer, using ground-based military and civilian radars throughout the UK, is tasked with compiling a Recognised Air Picture (RAP) within NATO Air Policing Area 1 – an area of one million data miles from the northern tip of Norway to the waters surrounding the UK and stretching out to Iceland and beyond.

Aerospace Battle Managers and Aerospace Systems Operators are on duty every hour of every day to identify all aircraft approaching UK airspace and to provide tactical control of assigned air assets.

This vital air defence role has been taking place at RAF Boulmer since 1953 and the station celebrated its 60th anniversary earlier this year.

The Minister was also briefed on the important role the RAF’s School of Aerospace Battle Management plays in providing Tactical Airspace Battle Management training for UK Armed Forces, NATO and other foreign national military personnel.

Mr Francois was also given an overview of the role of No 1 Air Control Centre, the RAF’s deployable Command and Control unit which deployed its Type 101 radar to provide round-the-clock radar coverage and tactical control of aircraft in Cyprus as part of the UK response to the recent crisis in the Middle East.

Aerospace Battle Managers and Aerospace Systems Operators of the ASACS Force also operate in support of UK interests overseas, currently contributing to Quick Reaction Alert operations in the Falklands.