Originating as a RAF Radar station during the Cold War and progressing to a Control and Reporting Station, specifically designed to protect the nation and take control of an air battle should the need arise. It eventually became a privately owned Data Centre.
Ash Bunker is synonymous with security. The site is steeped in history, culminating in the acquisition of the site by ALD Ltd and the eventual take over by The Bunker Secure Hosting Limited to provide Ultra Secure data centre solutions.
1949-1954 construction of The Bunker
Due to the worsening international situation the Air Ministry decided to improve the United Kingdom’s radar defences. In 1949 the Air Ministry began construction of a new chain of radar stations in the UK (code name ROTOR).
Ash was chosen to be a Radar site as part of the ROTOR programme and work began in 1951 to construct a massive two storey underground nuclear blast proof bunker (known as an R3 bunker). The bunker’s 3.5m thick concrete walls were surmounted with a sheet piling roof covered in a concrete blast slab 15 feet thick, and then covered with earth.
Works were scheduled to be completed by July 1952 but the date slipped back and operationsfinally moved into the site in August 1954. This was common at this time as much of the work force were called into national service.
- The RAF Returns to Ash
- The Electro Magnetic Pulse
- Equipment in the Bunker
- Control and Reporting Centre RAF Ash
- ALD Ltd buy The Bunker
- The Bunker Ultra Secure hosting
- Dedicated cage on the data floor today
In 1949 the Air Ministry began construction of a new chain of radar stations in the UK (code name ROTOR).
The ROTOR programme was quickly superseded with the development of faster jet aircraft which meant that the manual control and reporting used to pass information up to the Sector Operation Centre’s were too slow. Almost overnight the new radar made parts of the ROTOR air defence system redundant and Ash was placed on ’care and maintenance’.
The site served quietly during the 1950s. In October 1956 the site assumed parenting responsibilities for 933 Signal Units and in December 1956 took over responsibilities from RAF Manston. The site survived the 1957 budget cuts when it became a satellite control station.
In 1965 the entire site (approx 18 acres in all) was sold to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). During the seventies the CAA used the site for civil radar. The station had control of the Eastern approach to Heathrow and Gatwick.
Although owned by the CAA, the site was also a reporting radar for the Linesman/Mediator system and as such supplied radar information for both military and civilian purposes. In later years Ash was bought back from the CAA by the RAF. The original bunker was stripped out and two new bunkers were built on and adjacent to the ROTOR bunker to provide a protected power supply, fuel and water stores, and plant space.
The Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) shield was installed at this time to enable electronic equipment to withstand the EMP generated by a nuclear explosion.
Re-engineered to withstand a hit from a 22 kiloton thermonuclear bomb the inside of the bunker was also completely refitted. State of the art filters were installed to ensure optimum conditions and the ability to remain operational for 90 days following a nuclear, chemical or biological attack.
Following the completion of these works Ash became a Control and Reporting Centre. As a Control and Reporting Centre RAF Ash was fully equipped and able to take control of an air battle in the area in the event of any of its sister stations being rendered inoperable. In 1993 RAF Ash became the Ground Environment Operational Evaluation Unit testing all new equipment. Ash was the RAF’s smallest station until it was downgraded to a satellite of RAF Manston. This signalled the winding down of activities on the site. The last full year of operation was 1995.
The RAF sold the site to computer security experts, brothers Adam and Ben Laurie whose company ALD Ltd provided highly secure, robust, web based applications, based on open source technologies. The Bunker was formed in 2004, when entrepreneurs and businessmen Jean – Loup Brousse de Gersigny, Steven Joseph and Peregrine Newton acquired the business and assets of ALD Ltd.
Modern data needs to be protected from the combined physical, human and digital factors that can compromise the availability of your business critical applications. By placing your equipment in The Bunker you minimise these risks.
Today, The Bunker owns the freehold of two of its data centres and, since 2004, has grown 10 fold and its customer base has grown 5 fold. In 2006 institutional investors Foresight Venture Partners supported The Bunker and joined the board, laying the foundations for even faster growth. The Bunker has continued to heavily invest in the site and major upgrades have been made to the power, cooling and connectivity to cope with state of the art high security, high density data centre services.
Following months of hard work across the organisation, The Bunker attained ISO 27001 accreditation in early 2008. The Bunker can demonstrate independent assurance of their internal controls, meeting corporate governance and business continuity requirements, whilst also demonstrating the observation of all applicable laws and regulations. ISO 27001 certification highlights to our customers, competitors, suppliers, staff and investors that we use industry respected best practices. Our customers can now feel more condent than ever that their information is being protected. Statement of applicability: The management of information security relating to the provision of Ultra Secure, ultra available hosting and data centre solutions.
The UKʼs most secure data centre
The Bunker’s unequalled level of security, stringent access control procedures is coupled with redundancy, the ability to support high levels of power and cooling. Here are just some of the technical specifications.
- 3.5m high perimeter fence
- 3m thick walls
- Blast proof solid steel doors
- Military EMP protection
- Tempest RFI intrusion protection
- No unescorted access
- Space from a quarter rack all the way up
to a dedicated suite or vault
N+1 Power & A/C
- Redundant air conditioning units to guarantee temperature & humidity
- Redundant UPS conditioned power
- Diverse power supplies with diesel generator back-up
- Fire suppression system
- CCTV system
- Visual verication of all persons entering the data floor
- Onsite security staff & guard dogs
- Vehicular gate with control barrier
- Carrier Neutral Facility and Multiple Fibre Providers
- Diverse independent telco risers from public highway to data floor
- Choice of ISP’s/Telecoms providers Four POP’s UK Wide