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Golf Balls

  • Cristopher Read MBE
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


RAF Flyingdales is a what's called a BMEW site,

a Ballistic Missile Early Warning Systems Site.

And they had three tracking radars.

So each golf ball contained one tracker

and it mainly

scanned the skies

over the north and east of us

where the main threat was coming from,

which was then Russia.

And it was there to detect missiles,

but they don't happen every day.

So as a secondary mission,

they also tracked satellites,

which do happen every day

and the trackers way they work,

they could scan the skies,

but they can only track one object at a time.

Whereas the pyramid,

what is now called the SSPAR building,

the Solid State Phased Array Radar,

that can track in excess of 800 at a time.

So technology moved on.

So hence the golf balls were not needed anymore.

The golf balls themselves

were a honeycomb of cardboard,

covered in fiberglass,

but a fire at one of the sister sites

made all the sites change

to a new, more robust fabric called tedlar,

which I believe was teflon coated kevlar.

Most people at the time

when they were being built,

complained about them.

But the same people, I believe,

didn't want them removed

because they were theirs.

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