In 1941, the Air Ministry surveyed a piece of land not far from the Broads at Horning in Norfolk with a view to establishing a site to host a brand new Air Defence station, a Ground Control Intercept station to be exact, from where Fighter Controllers, backed up by a wide range of support staff, could direct RAF fighters, day or night, to attack enemy aircraft from Germany as they launched raids against Military and Industrial targets in Norfolk as well as against the City of Norwich itself.
At the end of World War II in 1945 the world entered seamlessly into a new conflict that was to last 45 years – the ‘Cold War’. As the defences for the United Kingdom were reorganised with fewer but more advanced radars to meet the new Soviet air threat, RAF Neatishead continued to play an increasingly important role in the nation’s air defence.
Sector Operations Centre (SOC)
In 1974 Neatishead once again became fully operational as a Sector Operations Centre (SOC) and as a Control & Reporting Centre (CRC). Operating from the old ‘Happidrome’ building, but with a new standalone computerised command and control system (Standby Local Early Warning & Control System) the unit became a key element of the UK Air Defence Ground Environment.
1993, the R3 underground bunker once again became operational after a complete refit with a fully Integrated Command & Control System. This system incorporated ultra-fast and secure communications with E3 surveillance aircraft and maritime units and new remote mobile radars.
Today, the aim of the base at Neatishead is to “to provide radar, ground-to-air radio and data links coverage as part of the UK Air Surveillance And Control System (ASACS), in support of national and NATO air defence.