RAF Fylingdales, near Whitby, welcomes new Station Commander

RAF Fylingdales has said a fond farewell to Wing Cdr Al Walton as he handed over to new Station Commander, Thom Colledge.

By Duncan Atkins
Thursday, 19th August 2021, 10:24 am
Updated Thursday, 19th August 2021, 10:24 am
Wing Commander Al Walton with new Station Commander, Thom Colledge, walking from the radar at RAF Fylingdales.
Wing Commander Al Walton with new Station Commander, Thom Colledge, walking from the radar at RAF Fylingdales.

Thom joins the Whitby community from Paris, returning to the UK from a liaison job in the British Embassy.

A fluent French speaker, keen skier and surfer, Thom’s tenure as Station Commander could not have started at a busier time, as RAF Fylingdales becomes part of the new UK Space Command.

With a vast experience of operational roles, Thom is the perfect fit for the strategically important radar station.

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He said: “Taking the role of Station Commander at RAF Fylingdales is an amazing opportunity.

"Over the next couple of years I will be here supporting staff in their missions and leading the station’s transition into the new UK Space Command.

“Not only does my new posting provide me with an exciting career opportunity, my family and I are very excited to be living in Whitby, with the sea and countryside on our doorstep – which we intend to take full advantage of.”

RAF Fylingdales sits on the North York Moors and has been an iconic landmark for the last 58 years.

The Ballistic Missile Early Warning Site detects objects with a ballistic trajectory that could be a threat to the UK and our allies.

With the capability to look 3,000 miles into space and detect an object the size of a Coca-Cola can, the radaer can track satellites, space debris and space launches.

The five-person crew, with their civilian counterparts, routinely track the International Space Station and more than 8,000 other objects every day.

RAF Fylingdales is the only UK Military Ballistic Missile Sensor seeing into space - tracking objects in space is daily business similar to an air traffic control network but much bigger and with quicker response times.

RAF Fylingdales tracks objects to keep space safe, ensuring objects are exactly where they should be to avoid collisions and plays a key safety role for manned space vehicles.