Royal Aeronautical Society:
For the past 70 plus years, nations around the world have attempted to intercept a mysterious hypersonic, high-flying intruder from the North Pole and learn its aeronautical secrets. Our Lapland aerospace Correspondent CHRIS TINGLE reports on the secret effort to counter these annual airspace intrusions.
The intrusion by this unknown vehicle (hereby referred to by its codename Supersonic Atmospheric Northern Transport Aircraft (SANTA) – travelling at incredible speeds in a single 24hrs has been not just a cause of concern for military planners around the world, baffled by this incredible capability – but also by civil aviation experts – concerned about a hypersonic aircraft weaving between scheduled commercial flights. Many suspect the only reason a mid-air collision has not occurred is that the SANTA flights take place at a time of year when scheduled airline operations are quieter.
For over 60 years NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) has taken on the role of attempting to track through the world’s airspace, provide updates and potentially unlock the secret of SANTA’s amazing aerospace technology and the secret Polar base from which this vehicle (or vehicles) operate. Despite SANTAs predictable schedule and a whole year to prepare defences, its astonishing speed and height have enabled it to outrun and outfly multiple attempts to intercept it.