A millionaire bought an old Cold War radar. He now he wants to use it to “find UFOs”

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When the tech entrepreneur William Sachitti bought the old Neatishead military base in the United Kingdom, a former complex once managed by the Royal Air Force (RAF) and that in the 20th century was part of the radar network in charge of monitoring the east coast of Great Britain soviet missile hunthad in mind to convert it into an incubator for new technologies.

The facility was spacious.

I was isolated.

And its 76,000 square meters they formed a stage spread over a dozen buildings—including an impressive nuclear bunker—and in which Sachiti saw an ideal setting for her company’s tests. Space needed, after all. In addition to being an entrepreneur and an expert in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), Sachiti is the “father” of Kar-go, the autonomous vehicle of Academy of Robotics designed to deliver packages… and with possible military applications.

Everything fitted.

Already transferred to Neatishead, Sachiti however ran into a problem. Rather a concern. In the old abandoned RAF base there were not only ships, yards and armored rooms. Between his buildings stood a AMES Type 84 radara device painted in military green, full of half-oxidized rods and crowned by a screen of 18.3 meters long and 7.6 wide.

From hunting missiles… to UFOs

In its own way, the AMES Type 84 is a small technological jewel, a relic of the Cold War protected with a Grade II level for its historical interest. And it’s normal. Between 1962 and 1994 RAF radars such as the one installed in Neatishead were commissioned to scan the skies to anticipate any military threat and ensure that the Warsaw pact.

With the turn of the century the scene changed and the Neatishead military complex ended up being dismantled in 2004. Not the AMES Type 84, which stood pointed skyward from its concrete plinth, dumb and blind, like a snitch from times of heightened military tension.

This is how Sachiti saw it during her comings and goings through the corridors of Neatishead until a little over a week ago when she decided to sit down at the table, open her computer, connect to Reddit and type:

Aid! I want to bring this to life”.

Below the message added a photo of the radar.

Responses on /r/electronics soon cascaded in, and though the businessman had posted his post anonymously, without giving his name, Reddit users found out who he was and where the radar was. It wasn’t too difficult: the acquisition of Neatishead had been announced in the press and Britain only built a handful of such a device.

Among the hodgepodge of questions, answers and reflections generated by the businessman’s request for help, someone threw the most basic question.


— Why buy it?

— Because I’ve convinced myself that it can be fun to use it to try to find UFOs? —Sachiti replied.

His comment did not go unnoticed.

Shortly after the magazine contacted him Vice, which asked him exactly the same question: Did he want the radar to go hunting for unidentified flying objects? Reddit’s response —explained— there was written half in jest, but in his own way there were those who took the gauntlet, including “UFO hunters”, and Sachiti himself seems not to close the door to the old radar turning again to hunt for mysteries always. The only requirement of it: that it not be misused.

Since posting his message on Reddit he has been contacted by people who are serious about using the Type 84 for hunting unidentified objects. “It is not for me to decide what is the best use in the modern world. As long as it doesn’t hurt and it’s not intrusive… I have the technology… let’s give it a life.” explains the businessman to reporters from Vice.

In 1967 there was a great solar storm.  World War III was about to break out because of him.

Among those who reacted to his SOS on Reddit there are also those who propose using radar to scan the moon and those who simply point out the complications of starting the old Type 84. “It is probably operating at a restricted power and frequency, right?” In that case, a license would be needed; Is it easy to get it? raises a user.

The businessman assures however, “licenses are not an obstacle” and stresses that it is not “limited to amateur use.” “I’m interested in finding a way to partially make it work. Without the radiation, of course. I find it wasteful to see old, but previously very expensive, technology slowly go to waste. I’d like to somehow bring it back to life.”

“Is a good of great interest for UK heritage. There are a lot of people who would love to see it go on once a year and have students and universities do experiments here and there.” Sachiti concludesfor whom radars represent new terrain.

Cover image Adrian S Pye (Geographer)

When the tech entrepreneur William Sachitti bought the old Neatishead military base in the United Kingdom, a former complex once…

When the tech entrepreneur William Sachitti bought the old Neatishead military base in the United Kingdom, a former complex once…

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