Project Emily

Operating the Thor Bases

Allthough Thor was located in the UK and operated by the RAF, the nuclear warheads would remain at all times under the control of the United States (as was required by the McMahon Bill). Launch would be a joint decision by both countries - therefore, by implication, each country had the power of veto.

The legal interpretation of the McMahon Bill is that nuclear striking forces cannot be controlled by non-US commanders

The revised organisational structure saw each launch site given a separate squadron denomination............thus Project Emily was comprised of four Wings of five squadrons (for the Squadron numbers see 'Establishing the Bases').

  • Each Wing had a command centre based inside the RIM building (with associated staff) - launch orders would emanate from here.
  • Every Squadron had its own Commanding Officer (Squadron Leader), a Missile Systems Analyst (SNCO), an NCO fireman and two cooks.
  • Every Squadron had a USAF Commanding Officer with five Authentication Officers (usually 1st/2nd Lieutenants)
  • For Squadron security there was an RAF Police Flight of one Sergeant and twelve Corporals.

A squadron consisted for five Flights - one Flight was always on duty and at immediate readiness during its eight hour shift

  • Each Flight was commanded by a Flight Lieutenant, the Launch Control Officer (LCO) who was assisted by an SNCO in the Launch Control Trailer (LCT).
  • Each Flight had three Missile Maintenance Technicians (MMT) - one for each of the three launch pads

A Thor Flight on parade - the RAF Launch Control Officer and USAF Authentication Officer are at the front.
Behind are the Assistant LCO & MMTs together with RAF Police and other staff