Jul 08, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

UK Billionaire Buys Cold War Radar Station to Hunt for UFOs

If you were a billionaire often referred to by the media as the “Elon Musk of the UK,” would you flaunt the title or do things to distract the public from the reference? If you are William Sachiti, it’s hard to tell. The young entrepreneur and inventor is best known as the founder of a driverless-car manufacturing company and has at least one tabloid scandal associated with him. He’s also interested in space, but not the way Elon Musk is. Sachiti recently and somewhat secretly purchased an old Cold War-era radar station, but rather than using his own knowledge or that of his talented engineers to return It to working order, he sent out an anonymous appeal for help. Why? It could be because the Elon Musk of the UK wants to use this radar station to hunt for extraterrestrials.

Ins't using Cold War technology to find UFOs like using biplanes to fight them?

“Help! I want to bring this back to life.”

That post on Reddit’s r/rfelectronics subreddit by u/CanNeverPassCaptch was accompanied by a photograph of an AMES Type 84, also known as the Microwave Early Warning (MEW), 23 cm wavelength early warning radar used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) after World War II. The original AMES Type 80 went into operation in 1953 as a replacement for the antiquated Chain Home radars used during the war for early warning. Manufactured by the Marconi Company, the AMES Type 84 was an upgrade that went into operation in 1962. Measuring about 60 feet across and 25 feet high, the AMES Type 84 could send out microwaves to the range of 250 miles (402 km). (Photo here.) 

Tracking down the poster and owner of the radar proved easier than most Internet mysteries -- Britain only built five AMES Type 84 radars. To make it even easier for armchair sleuths, one of these radars was located on RAF Neatishead, an abandoned RAF air base on the east coast of England in Norfolk that was once part of a chain of radar stations protecting the country from the Soviet Union and members of the Warsaw Pact until it was shut down in 2006. In May of 2022, British media reported that RAF Neatishead had been purchased by none other than William Sachiti, who said at the time he planned to make it an incubator for new technology in robotics and AI, converting the buildings into offices, laboratories and production facilities. At that time, Sachiti said nothing about the radar equipment nor about hunting for UFOs.

“It’s more about breathing new life into something that otherwise would have slowly fallen into disrepair. Let’s give it some sort of life again because it’s magnificent.”

That doesn’t sound like the ‘real’ Elon Musk, whose technology, automotive and space ventures are based on new technology rather than restoring and utilizing old equipment. That is just one way William Sachiti differs from Musk, but they also have similarities. Born in Zimbabwe (a neighbor of Musk’s South Africa) in 1985 as Pasihapaori Chidziva, he moved to the UK at 17 and by 19 had started Clever Bins making solar-powered digital advertising bins -- digital displays on garbage cans. In 2015, he studied artificial intelligence and robotics at Aberystwyth University in Wales, where he was credited with inventing the world's first artificially intelligent robot librarian, and began developing Kar-go, a driverless car designed to deliver multiple packages by using a combination of advanced robotics and driverless vehicle technology.

That put Sachiti on the media ‘radar’ as a leader in driverless vehicle technology. In 2020, his company, the Academy of Robotics, became the first to have a made-to-be-autonomous vehicle approved for use in the United Kingdom by the UK's Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. Unlike Musk, Sachiti is involved in using micro-computing and A.I. to bring education to the 32 million children in Africa who currently have no schooling. However, like Musk, Sachiti has been involved in a relationship scandal. In 2013, it was reported that his wife suspected an affair and hired a private investigator who planted a tracking device underneath Sachiti's sports car. After he was pulled over by the police, the flashing device under the was mistaken for a bomb and led to a bomb scare, shutting down a town while the military was called in to ‘defuse’ it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah … what about tracking UFOs and hunting for ETs with the radar?

Another way Sachiti is like Musk is in his relationship with the military. In 2021, the British Royal Air Force chose autonomous vehicle technology invented by Sachiti to make self-driving deliveries in UK airbases. That connection led to him developing an interest in RAF Neatishead as an incubator for future technology for both the military and the public.

“As you can see in the thread, you find people that are so specific and they’ll tell you exactly how it works. And my inbox has been inundated with absolute experts…that’s the beauty of asking the right question to the right audience.”

Sachiti explains in a Vice interview why he reached out on Reddit for help in bringing the AMES Type 84 radar back to life. What took a room full of electronics in the 1960s can now be done on devices the size of a briefcase or even a phone, and correctly figured that there ware people around with the right experience and interest to provide him with a quick solution to his problem. All that was left was to explain why he wants that AMES Type 84 radar to spin around again, emitting microwaves.

What to do while waiting for the UFO radar to be operational

“Because I convinced myself it may be good fun to use to attempt to find UFOs?”

What began as a whim quickly became a mission as Sachiti says he was contacted by people who convinced him this might be an excellent tool for the search for unidentified flying objects and extraterrestrial life.

“There’s obviously the UFO hunters. It’s not for me to decide what the best use in the modern world is for it. So long as it doesn’t harm and it’s not intrusive…I’ve got the tech…let’s give it a life.”

Like Musk, Sachiti suspects ETs are already here, and are probably more advanced than humans. That doesn’t worry him.

“The reason it doesn’t concern me too much is there’s been all this time and there’s not been actionable information. If an ant decided to contact humans, would we even know…these UFOs, if there is  some sort of intelligence behind them, well they’ve ignored us for the most part.”

One of these days, a Cold War relic just might find a spacecraft piloted by aliens. Will this start a new kind of Cold War?

Given the choice, who would you rather be friends with or do business with – Elon Musk or William Sachiti, the Elon Musk of the UK?

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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