Film ID:
NEFA 16500

NEWSVIEW MAGAZINE: FYLINGDALES EARLY WARNING STATION

1964

Visitor Tabs

Description

Tyne Tees TV news magazine items on RAF Fylingdales (known affectionately as "the Golf Balls"), the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) located on Snod Hill on the North Yorkshire Moors. Includes aerial shots and interesting shots inside and outside the military base. An interview with Colonel Gilbert W. Hunt of the United States Air Force conveys the futility of the base in offering any protection to Britain in the event of nuclear attack from the Soviet Union. Fylingdales was designed by the USA to give the radar coverage necessary to counter an inter-continental nuclear missile attack for the entire northern hemisphere during the cold war with Russia and the Eastern Block. The footage may have been shot in 1963 when the base became fully operational. The item was broadcast on  11 November 1964.

The news item opens with an aerial fly over of RAF Fylingdales on the North Yorkshire Moors and general views of RAF Fylingdales. Looking up, one of the giant radar scanners turns inside a radome (the geodesic domes). Men climb up a support column inside one of the radomes. General view of Fylingdales at the perimeter fence, sheep grazing beside the road.

Back inside the base, there are shots inside the control room with a large-scale supercomputer for automated strategic air defense applications featuring data reels. A man is at a giant console of switches and dials in a control room. A close-up follows of the control desk. General view inside the radome as the radar scanner turns.

Interview with Colonel Gilbert Hunt of the of the United States Air Force who says that the system is very reliable and effective. In the last 4 months it has been used 24 hours a day. Colonel Gilbert Hunt is the Commander in charge of the American attachment at Fylingdales. He says the chances of the Eastern bloc powers beating the system are practically impossible. He is confident that the western countries can keep one step ahead of the East. He says that Britain will have considerably less warning of an attack than the 25 minutes warning they get in North America. There would be a minimum 4 minute warning here. He doesn’t believe there is capability for an attack from space, but possible by sea. He says that if the Soviet Union launched an attack, they would return fire which would mean no-one would win.