Picture: MOD Crown Copyright.

New command and control system to guard UK against aerial threats

The system is intended to offer a real-time map of friendly and hostile aircraft, linking UK and NATO radars and communications.

Picture: MOD Crown Copyright.

The UK is to be protected from aerial threats – thanks to a new command and control system.

GUARDIAN is intended to offer a real-time map of friendly and hostile aircraft, connecting UK and NATO radars and radios to co-ordinate communications between aircraft and the ground.

The RAF can dispatch fighter jets to identify and intercept hostile aircraft, or those suspected of being a threat, and GUARDIAN also receives early warnings from NATO reporting centres to prepare the UK for incoming potential threats. 

The system can also be used to escort planes of special interest, such as airliners that have lost contact with Air Traffic Control, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) added.

The system is managed by the MOD's procurement arm, Defence Equipment and Support, and initial operating capability has been declared at RAF Boulmer, Northumberland.

It will also be installed at RAF 78 Squadron in Swanwick, Hampshire. The 50 dual workstations at Boulmer, and 29 at Swanwick, will operate 24/7 and could require more than 100 RAF battlespace management personnel in total.  

Wing Commander Chris Misiak, Officer Commanding 19 Squadron, said: "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."