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Anti-Spy System Revealed To Sky
12-30-2008, 02:03 AM,
#1
Anti-Spy System Revealed To Sky
Quote:A secret anti-spying system that is helping to protect the 12,000 British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq has been exclusively demonstrated to Sky News.

The RAF has revealed how it is using technology involved in America's Star Wars system to track surveillance satellites and warn commanders when their troops are being watched.

Sky's cameras were given unprecedented access to the system at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire and the Space Operations Coordination Centre - Spocc - in the air command bunker at RAF High Wycombe, which has never been filmed before.

The satellite warning service, which relies on the radar field created by Fylingdales for the American missile warning and defence systems, knows where every surveillance satellite is, what it can see, and where it's going.

Fylingdales creates a dome of radar 6,000 miles wide and 3,000 miles high to spot any missiles launched into space and then track them as they move overhead.

"We can decide which satellites may be a threat to UK forces deployed overseas," says the base's Flight Lieutenant Andy Smith.

"Then we can say 'If you don't wish to be seen at this time then don't (do anything) and then at this time you can continue.'"

The anti-spy system uses the same radar to identify surveillance satellites and 'ping' them as they move overhead to check if they're being quietly moved to a different orbit.

If they are being moved, the system instantly plots the satellite's new course so that commanders on the ground can be warned that their troops are about to become less safe.

The warnings go through Spocc at RAF High Wycombe.

Group Captain Chris Knapman, the RAF's deputy chief of staff for command and control support, said Spocc was set up to help protect military activities and domestic services that rely on space including GPS and communications.

"If we don't understand that environment, there's the potential for that activity to be disrupted," he said. "We wouldn't want to be taken by surprise."

Commercial satellites can only take pictures of things roughly half a metre-square or bigger but they can pose a security risk if images are sold.

Surveillance satellite expert Pat Norris, author of Spies in the Sky, told Sky News Online that although military spy satellites are top secret, his research suggests that the best ones can identify individual objects smaller than mobile phones.

"Images of about one or two centimetres seem feasible," he said. "But they are limited by distortion caused by the earth's atmosphere."

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-News/S...led_To_Sky_News
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