Report (Permission Visit) - Spadeadam Rocket Establishment, Cumbria (2015/16) | Military Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report (Permission Visit) Spadeadam Rocket Establishment, Cumbria (2015/16)


Regular User
If watermarks upset you please move on to another post.

The site now known as RAF Spadeadam was originally developed in the 1950's as Spadeadam Rocket Establishment, a static testing site for the Blue Streak
Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile. Though the site was owned by the Ministry of Aviation it was designed and managed by de Havilland (who were the main contractor for the missile body).
Areas of the site were also set aside for Rolls Royce (RZ.2 engine manufacturer) and the British Oxygen Company (who supplied liquid oxygen and nitrogen) as well as administration and workshops.
Blue Streak was designed to be able to deliver a nuclear warhead from the UK to Moscow and would have replaced the V-bomber delivered Blue Steel weapon.
In April 1960 the project was cancelled. The test facility remained open as the Blue Streak effectively became the first stage of the European Launcher Development Organisation's Europa 1 Satellite Launch Vehicle.
When Britain also withdrew from ELDO in December 1971 rocket testing ceased and most of the salvageable rquipment was removed before closure in April 1972.
Despite what might seem as a short and unproductive life the site was at the cutting edge of rocket testing throughout it's life and the perhaps better known facility at
Woomera in Australia was largely modelled upon it. Several launches of the Europa 1 were made from the stands at Woomera.

Now RAF Spadeadam is an electronic warfare simulation site used by UK, NATO and other armed forces. For this there are a number of active and passive, real and emulated threat sources as well as military items dotted around to add realism for the aircrews. These provide a fully hostile electronic environment for training purposes.
Since 1977 the MoD Spadeadam Estate has also housed Spadeadam Testing and Research. This secure area is operated by DNV GL to carry out large scale explosion and blast testing for the process industry.
It's a huge site and numerous buildings remain, some are listed, some are still used. A single post can't convey what is here.
As 'Colinski Airfield' has been extensively covered by other people I won't include photos from that area.

RAF Spadeadam Gate Guard - Russian 9K33 Osa (which means wasp but to NATO it's an SA-8 Ghecko)

Only 18 missiles were constructed (out of a total of 60 required had the project not been cancelled).
Of those four are in museums. This is the first stage part of a Blue Streak missile, though the engines have been removed. It was used for electronic systems testing of components before they were to be fitted to the 'live' missiles and sits in it's original transport cradle (these were constructed to match each specific missile).



Test stand C3 (it and C2 are listed along with their control room) at Greymare Hill. These were used for upright firing tests with the rocket at launch weight and configuration.
There are also static engine test stands to the West at Priorlancy Rigg


A lot of the water management features remain

EWTR RCC at Berry Hill


SA3 emitter/receiver (reverse engineered from the original)

T1 emitter/receiver (can emulate many kinds of system)

Not very good with these things as there are numerous variants...think it's a most of a Thunderbird


Ghecko hiding in rocket era building

Self-propelled Merkin howitzer


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A Predisposed Tourist
Regular User
Well im upset there appears to be no watermarks to get upset about


28DL Regular User
Regular User
I enjoyed playing find the watermark, viewing on my phone I could barely see any of them. @AndyK will most likely weigh in with a comprehensive list of the exact locations of every single one, like last time.

That’s a great set of pics, great write up too. If you had left the watermark comment out I genuinely would not have noticed. Great report mate, enjoyed that!

The Lone Ranger

Safety is paramount!
Staff member
Cracking report :thumb

Have spent a fair bit of time here either inspecting masts or seeing what happens to high pressure hydrocarbon pipework when it finds an ignition source, amazing place so thanks for sharing.


A fellow of infinite jest
Regular User
So many of the reports from here concentrate on the planes, I barely knew about any of this lot. Far more interesting, good effort!


Rum Swigger
Regular User
I think you lot need to go to spec savers.......not in your face but still easy to see.

Nice report :thumb


A Predisposed Tourist
Regular User
I think you lot need to go to spec savers.......not in your face but still easy to see.

Nice report :thumb
Maybe for you youngens with good eyesight,im old my eyes are shit and i have the attention span of a goldfish ;)

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